Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (Paperback) - Common

Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (Paperback) - Common

Language: English

Pages: 372


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

As any reader of the "Symposium" knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before--and in concert with--poli...

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children are taught to use one finger to take preserved fish, but two for fresh. Such table-manners seem to have been the principal method of keeping the two elements of food separate at mealtimes. Margaret Visser inferred from their habit of reclining on the left elbow that the Greeks and Romans, like the ancient Chinese, kept their left hands away from food altogether. In fact, it seems, their table-manners were closer to those of the Abbasids, their successors on the southern side of the

‘affectionate’ and paradoxical, Greek Bastardy, pp. 105–6. 30. For Gnesippus, see Chionides 4 K-A; Eupolis 148 K-A; Telecleides 36 K-A; Cratinus 17, 104 and 276 K-A; and my forthcoming article in F. D. Harvey and J. Wilkins, eds, The Rivals of Aristophanes. For Philaenis see K. Tsantsanoglou, ‘Memoirs of a Lady from Samos’, 183–95. 31. Aristophon 4 K-A. Epicrates 3.11–13 and 16 K-A; Ath. 13.588c; Machon, 337–8 (Gow); Xen. Hell. 5.4,4; Philemon 3.10 K-A; Antiphanes ap. Ath. 13.587b; Alexis

slave-girl under Nicarete, Neaera ‘hired herself out to whoever wanted to have sex with her’, and according to Isaeus, Pyrrhus’ ‘wife’ and Phile’s mother was not just a hetaera but ‘a woman available to anyone who wanted’, just as Pythionice according to Theopompus ‘was readily available to all who wished at the same price for all’. The same rules applied, of course, to men. Elsewhere in Xenophon’s Memoirs Socrates claims that someone is called pomos if they sell their youthful bloom to whoever

such occasions that the imagination can be excited by what is hidden underneath the garments. Machon tells a story about Gnathaena and her daughter Gnathaenium, attending a festival of Cronus, and being approached by an ancient general, whose desires are aroused by ‘studying the girl’s shape underneath her clothing and her rhythms’ as she moves. No questions are asked when the men disguised as hetaeras in the Theban coup arrive at the symposium covered up and ask the servants to leave before they

expenditure and value in classical Athens are usually seen as indicative of the desires of purchasers, of how much someone wants something, of how much they are prepared to pay. Just as ancient morality is concentrated on the figure of the desiring subject, the discourse of the Athenian elite discusses the economy as something moved and directed by a mass of subjectivities, by consumers, by themselves. Plato in Protagoras blames the men who hire them for the high price of flute-girls. The comic

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