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Athenaeus: Deipnosophists


Athenaeus was a native of Naucratis, a Greek city in Egypt, and he wrote the Deipnosophists in the early part of the 3rd century A.D. It is a long and extremely diffuse work, which is presented as a series of erudite discussions over dinner. Athenaeus includes frequent quotations from earlier authors, especially from the writers of comedies, which give us a fascinating glimpse of a wide range of ancient Greek life and literature that would otherwise be unknown. Naturally, food and drink are the most common topic of conversation throughout, but often that is merely the starting point for long digressions.

The Deipnosophists is traditionally split into fifteen books, some of which have survived only in an abbreviated form. The excerpts here represent about one third of what has survived of the Deipnosophists. The excerpts have been chosen to illustrate the history of the Hellenistic world, and they contain quotations from some of the historians of that period. The translation is by C.D.Yonge (1854), and the Greek text for each chapter is available by clicking on G .

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Book 1 (excerpts)   Baths
Book 2 (excerpts)   Wine and water;   Cherries
Book 3 (excerpts)   Made-up words
Book 4 (excerpts)   Feasts and music
Book 5 Pages 193-203   Royal processions
Book 5 Pages 203-210   Enormous ships
Book 5 Pages 210-222   Worthless philosophers
Book 6 Pages 232-234   Precious metals
Book 6 Pages 234-248   Parasites
Book 6 Pages 248-262   Flatterers
Book 6 Pages 262-275   Slaves
Book 7 (excerpts)   Boastfulness
Book 8 (excerpts)   Fish
Book 9 (excerpts)   Vegetables and birds
Book 10   (excerpts)   Gluttony and drunkenness
Book 11   (excerpts)   Cups
Book 12   Pages 518-544   Luxury of states and kings
Book 12   Pages 544-554   Hedonism and obesity
Book 13   Pages 555-571   Women and love
Book 13   Pages 571-589   Prostitutes and courtesans
Book 13   Pages 589-599   Mistresses of famous men
Book 13   Pages 599-612   Love of boys
Book 14 (excerpts)   Entertainers and musicians
Book 15 (excerpts)   Perfumes and unguents


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