Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.
See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.
* * * * *
[4.] G  But Theagenes of Thasos, the athlete, ate a bull single-handed, as Poseidippus tells us in his Epigrams:
And as I'd undertaken, I did eat
A Maeonian bull. My own poor native land
Of Thasos could not have purveyed a meal
Sufficient for the hunger of Theagenes.
I ate all I could get, then asked for more.
And, therefore, here you see, I stand in brass,
Holding my right hand forth; put something in it.
And Milon of Croton, as Theodorus of Hierapolis tells us in his book upon Games, ate twenty minae minae of meat, and an equal quantity of bread, and drank three choes of wine. And once at Olympia he took a four year old bull on his shoulders, and carried it all round the course, and after that he killed it and cut it up, and ate it all up by himself in one day. And Titormus the Aetolian had a contest with him as to which could eat an ox with the greatest speed, as Alexander the Aetolian relates. But Phylarchus, in the third book of his Histories [ Fr_3 ], says that Milon, while lying down before the altar of Zeus, ate a bull, on which account Dorieus the poet made the following epigram on him:
Milon could lift enormous weights from earth,
A heifer four years old, at Zeus' high feast,
 And on his shoulders the huge beast he bore,
As if it had been a young and little lamb,
All round the wondering crowd of standers by.
But he did still a greater feat than this,
Before the altar of Olympian Zeus;
For there he bore aloft an untamed bull
In the procession, then he cut it up,
And by himself ate every bit of it.
# But Astyanax of Miletus, having gained the victory at Olympia three times in the pancratium, being once invited to supper by Ariobarzanes the Persian, when he had come, offered to eat everything that had been prepared for the whole party, and did eat it. And when, Theodorus relates, the Persian entreated him to do something suitable to his enormous strength, he broke off a large brazen ornament in the shape of a lentil from the couch and crushed it in his hand. And when he died, and when his body was burnt, one urn would not contain, his bones, and scarcely two could do so. And they say that the dinner which he ate by himself at Ariobarzanes' table bad been prepared for nine persons.
[5.] G And there is nothing unnatural in such men as those being very voracious; for all the men who practise athletic exercises, learn with these gymnastic exercises also to eat a great deal. On which account Euripides says, in the first edition of his Autolycus-
For when there are ten thousand ills in Greece,
There's none that's worse than the whole race of athletes.
For, first of all, they learn not to live well,
Nor could they do so; for could any man
Being a slave to his own jaws and appetite
Acquire wealth beyond his father's riches!
How could a man like that increase his substance?
Nor yet can they put up with poverty,
Or ever accommodate themselves to fortune;
And so being unaccustomed to good habits,
They quickly fall into severe distress.
In youth they walk about in fine attire,
And think themselves a credit to the city;
But when old age in all its bitterness
Overtakes their steps, they roam about the streets,
Like ragged cloaks whose nap is all worn off.
And much I blame the present fashions, too,
Which now in Greece prevail; where many a feast
Is made to pay great honour to such men,
And to show false respect to vain amusements.
For though a man may wrestle well, or run,
Or throw a discus, or strike a heavy blow,
Still where's the good his country can expect
From all his victories and crowns and prizes?
Will they fight with their country's enemies
With discus in hand? Or will their speed assist
To make the hostile bands retreat before them ?
When men stand face to face with the hostile sword
They think no more of all these fooleries.
It were better to adorn good men and wise
With these victorious wreaths; they are the due
Of those who govern states with wisdom sound,
And practise justice, faith, and temperance;
Who by their prudent language ward off evils,
Banishing wars and factions. These are the men,
Who're not alone a grace and ornament
To their own land, but to the whole of Greece.
[6.] G Now Euripides took all this from the Elegies of Xenophanes of Colophon, who has spoken in this way-
But if a man, in speed of foot victorious,
Or in the contests of the pentathlon,
Where is the sacred grove of Zeus,
Near to the sacred streams of Olympia;
 Or as a wrestler, or exchanging blows
And painful struggles as a hardy boxer,
Or in the terrible pancratium,
He surely is a noble citizen,
And well he does deserve the honours due
Of a front seat at games and festivals,
And at the public cost to be maintained;
And to receive a public gift of honour,
Which shall become an heirloom to his children.
And such shall be his honours, even if
He wins by horses, not by his own strength.
And still I think he does not equal me;
For wisdom far exceeds in real value
The bodily strength of man, or horses' speed;
But the mob judges of such things at random;
Though 'tis not right to prefer strength to sense:
For though a man may a good boxer be,
Or pentathlete, or unconquered wrestler,
Or if he vanquish all in speed of foot-
Which is the most important of all contests-
Still for all this his city will enjoy
No better laws through his great strength or speed;
And 'tis small cause for any lasting joy,
That one of all her citizens should gain
A prize on Pisa's banks: for such achievements
Fill not the country's granaries with corn.
And Xenophanes contends at great length, and with great earnestness and variety of argument, in favour of the superior advantage of his own wisdom, running down athletic exercises as useless and unprofitable. And Achaeus the Eretrian, speaking of the good constitution of the athletes, says-
For naked they did wave their glistening arms,
And move along exulting in their youth,
Their valiant shoulders swelling in their prime
Of health and strength; while they anoint with oil
Their chests and feet and limbs abundantly,
As being used to luxury at home.
[7.] G But Heracleitus, in his Entertainer of Strangers, says that there was a woman named Helene, who ate more than any other woman ever did. And Poseidippus, in his Epigrams, says that Phyromachus was a great eater, on whom he wrote this epigram:
This lowly ditch now holds Phyromachus,
Who used to swallow everything he saw,
Like a fierce carrion crow who roams all night.
Now here he lies wrapped in a ragged cloak.
But, O Athenian, whoever you are,
Anoint this tomb and crown it with a wreath,
If ever in old times he feasted with you.
At last he came sans teeth, with eyes worn out,
And livid swollen eyelids; clothed in skins,
With but one single cruse, and that scarce full;
For from the Lenaean games he came,
Descending humbly to Calliope.
But Amarantus of Alexandria, in his treatise on the Stage, says that Herodorus, the Megarian trumpeter, was a man three cubits and a half in height; and that he had great strength in his chest, and that he could eat six choenixes of bread, and twenty pounds of meat, of whatever sort was provided for him, and that he could drink two choes of wine; and that he could play on two trumpets at once; and that it was his habit to sleep on only a lion's skin, and when playing on the trumpet he made a vast noise.  # Accordingly, when Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, was besieging Argos, and when his troops could not bring the helepolis against the walls on account of its weight, he, giving the signal with his two trumpets at once, by the great volume of sound which he poured forth, instigated the soldiers to move forward the engine with great zeal and earnestness; and he gained the prize in all the games ten times; and he used to eat sitting down, as Nestor tells us in his Theatrical Reminiscences. # And there was a woman too, who played on the trumpet, whose name was Aglais, the daughter of Megacles, who, in the first great procession which took place in Alexandria, played a processional piece of music ; having a head-dress of false hair on, and a crest upon her head, as Poseidippus proves by his epigrams on her. And she, too, could eat twelve pounds of meat and four choenixes of bread, and drink a chous of wine, at one sitting.
[8.] G There was, besides, a man of the name of Lityerses, a bastard son of Midas, the king of Celaenae in Phrygia, a man of a savage and fierce aspect, and an enormous glutton; and he is mentioned by Sositheus the tragic poet, in his play called Daphnis or Lityersas; where he says-
He'll eat three asses' panniers, freight and all,
Three times in one brief day; and what he calls
A measure of wine is a ten-amphora cask;
And this he drinks all at a single draught.
And the man mentioned by Pherecrates, or Strattis, whichever was the author of the play called The Good Men, was much such another; the author says-
(A) I scarcely in one day, unless I'm forced,
Can eat two medimni and a half of food.
(B) A most unhappy man ! how have you lost
Your appetite, so as now to be content
With the scant rations of one ship of war?
And Xanthus, in his Account of Lydia, says that Cambles, who was the king of the Lydians, was a great eater and drinker, and also an exceeding epicure; and accordingly, that he one night cut up his own wife into joints and ate her; and then, in the morning, finding the hand of his wife still sticking in his mouth, he slew himself, as his act began to get notorious. And we have already mentioned Thys, the king of the Paphlagonians, saying that he too was a man of vast appetite, quoting Theopompus, who speaks of him in the thirty-fifth book of his History; and Archilochus, in his Tetrameters, has accused Charilas of the same fault, as the comic poets have attacked Cleonymus and Peisander. And Phoenicides mentions Chaerippus in his Phylarchus in the following terms-
And next to them I place Chaerippus third;
He, as you know, will without ceasing eat
As long as any one will give him food,
Or till he bursts,- such stowage vast has he,
Like any house.
[9.] G # And Nicolaus the Peripatetic, in the hundred and third book of his History, says that Mithridates, the king of Pontus, once proposed a contest in great eating and great drinking (and the prize was a talent of silver), and that he himself gained the victory in both; but he yielded the prize to the man who was judged to be second to him, namely, Calamodrys, the athlete of Cyzicus. And Timocreon the Rhodian, a poet, and an athlete who had gained the victory in the pentathlon, ate and drank a great deal, as the epigram on his tomb shows-
Much did I eat, much did I drink, and much
Did I abuse all men; now here I lie;-
My name Timocreon, my country Rhodes.
 And Thrasymachus of Chalcedon, in one his Prefaces, says that Timocreon came to the great king of Persia, and being entertained by him, did eat an immense quantity of food; and when the king asked him, What he would do on the strength of it? he said that he would beat a great many Persians; and the next day, having vanquished a great many, one after another, taking them one by one, after this, he beat the air with his hands; and when they asked him what he wanted, he said that he had all those blows left in him if any one was inclined to come on. And Clearchus, in the fifth book of his Lives, says, that Cantibaris the Persian, whenever his jaws were weary with eating, had his slaves to pour food into his mouth, which he kept open as if they were pouring it into an empty vessel. But Hellanicus, in the first book of his Tale of Deucalion, says that Erysichthon, the son of Myrmidon, being a man perfectly insatiable in respect of food, was called Aethon. And Polemon, in the first book of his Treatise addressed to Timaeus, says that among the Sicilians there was a temple consecrated to gluttony, and an image of Demeter Sito; near which, also, there was a statue of Himalis, as there is at Delphi one of Hermuchus, and as at Scolus, in Boeotia, there are statues of Megalartus and Megalomazus.
* * * * *
[13.] G  And Hecataeus says that the Egyptians were great bread-eaters, eating loaves of rye, called κυλλήστιες, and bruising barley to extract a drink from it; and on this account Alexinus, in his treatise on Contentment, says that Bocchoris and his father Neochabis were contented with a moderate quantity of food. Pythagoras of Samos, also, used food in moderation, as Lycon of Iasus relates in his treatise on Pythagoras. But he did not abstain from animal food, as Aristoxenus tells us; and Apollodorus the mathematician says, that he even sacrificed a hecatomb when he found out that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the side subtending the right angle is equal to the squares of the two sides containing it-
When the illustrious Pythagoras
Discovered that renowned problem which
He celebrated with a hecatomb.
 But Pythagoras was a very sparing drinker, and lived in a most frugal manner, so that he often contented himself with honey by itself. And nearly the same thing is told us of Aristeides, and of Epaminondas, and of Phocion, and of Phormion, the generals. # But Manius Curius, the Roman general, lived on turnips all his life; and once, when the Sabines sent him a large sum of gold, he said he had no need of gold while he ate such food as that. And this story is recorded by Megacles in his treatise on Illustrious Men.
[14.] G And there are many people who approve of moderate meals, as Alexis tells us in his Woman in Love-
But I am content with what is necessary,
And hate superfluous things; for in excess
There is not pleasure, but extravagance.
And in his Liar he says-
I hate excess; for those who practise it
Have only more expense, but not more pleasure.
And in his Foster Brothers he says-
How sweet all kinds of moderation are!
I now am going away, not empty, but
In a most comfortable state,- for wise
Mnesitheus tells us that 'tis always right
To avoid extravagance in everything.
And Ariston the philosopher, in the second book of his Amatory Similitudes, says that Polemon, the Academic philosopher, used to exhort those who were going to a supper, to consider how they might make their party pleasant, not only for the present evening, but also for the morrow. And Timotheus, the son of Conon, being once taken by Plato from a very sumptuous and princely entertainment to one held at the Academy, and being there feasted in a simple and scholar-like manner, said that those who supped with Plato would be well the next day also. But Hegesander, in his Commentaries, says that on the next day Timotheus, meeting with Plato, said, "You, O Plato, sup well, more with reference to the next day than to the present one!" But Pyrrhon of Elis, when on one occasion one of his acquaintances received him with a very sumptuous entertainment, as he himself relates, said, "I will for the future not come to you if you receive me in this manner; that I may avoid being grieved by seeing you go to a great expense for which there is no necessity, and that you, too, may not come to distress by being overwhelmed by such expenses; for it is much better for us to delight one another by our mutual companionship and conversation, than by the great variety of dishes which we set before one another, of which our servants consume the greater part."
[15.] G # But Antigonus of Carystus, in his Life of Menedemus, relating the way in which the banquets of that philosopher were managed, says, that he used to dine with one or two companions at most; and that all the rest of his guests used to come after they had supped. For in fact, Menedemus' supper and dinner were only one meal, and after that was over they called in all who chose to come; and if any of them, as would be the case, came before the time, they would walk up and down before the doors, and inquire of the servants who came out what was being now served up, and how far on the dinner had proceeded. And if they heard that it was only the vegetables or the cured fish that was being served up, they went away; but if they were told that the meat was put on the table, then they went into the room which had been prepared for that purpose.  And in the summer a rush mat was spread over each couch, and in the winter a fleece. But every one was expected to bring his own pillow; and the cup, which was brought round to each person, did not hold more than one cotyla. And the dessert was lupins or beans as a general rule; but sometimes some fruits, such as were in season, were brought in; in summer, pears or pomegranates; and in spring, pulse; and in winter, figs. And we have a witness as to these things, Lycophron of Chalcis, who wrote a satyric drama entitled Menedemus, in which Silenus says to the satyrs-
O cursed sons of most excellent Pan,
I, as you see, have quite a fancy for you:
For, by the gods I swear, that not in Caria,
Nor in fair Rhodes, nor royal Lydia,
Have I ever eaten so superb a supper;
Phoebus Apollo! what a feast it was.
And a little further on, he says-
And the boy brought us round a scanty cup
Of wine that might be worth five obols a bottle-
Awfully flat; and then that cursed thing,
That hang-dog lupin, danced upon the board,
A fitting meal for parasites and beggars.
And presently afterwards, he says that philosophical disquisitions were carried on during the entertainment-
And for dessert,
We had some learned conversation.
It is also related that those who met in this way very often kept on conversing to such a time that "the bird which calls the morn still caught them talking, and they were not yet satisfied."
[16.] G # But Arcesilaus, when giving a supper to some people, when the bread fell short, and his slave made him a sign that there were no loaves left, burst out laughing, and clapped his hands; and said, "What a feast we have here, my friends! We forgot to buy loaves enough; run now, my boy:"- and this he said, laughing; and all the guests who were present burst out laughing, and great amusement and entertainment were excited, so that the very want of bread was a great seasoning to the feast. And at another time, Arcesilaus ordered Apelles, one of his friends, to strain some wine; and when he, not being used to doing so, shook some of the wine and spilt some, so that the wine appeared much thicker than usual, he laughed, and said, "But I told a man to strain the wine who has never seen anything good any more than I myself have; so do you now get up, Arideices; and do you go away and tap the casks that are outside." And this good-humour of his so pleased and excited the mirth of those present, that they were all filled with joy.
[17.] G But those of the present day who give entertainments, especially the inhabitants of the beautiful Alexandria, cry out, and make a noise, and curse the cup-bearer, the steward, and cook; and the slaves are all crying, being beaten with fists and driven about in every direction. And not only do the guests who are invited sup with great discomfort and annoyance, but even if there is any sacrifice going on, the god himself would veil his face and go away, leaving not only the house, but even the entire city, in which such things take place. For it is absurd for a man, proclaiming that people should all confine themselves to words of good omen, to curse his wife and his children; and such a man as that would say to the guests [ Homer, Il_2'381 ] -
And now then let us hasten to the feast,
That we may plan the movements of the war;-
for such a man's house [ Sophocles, OedTyr_4 ]
Is redolent of frankincense,
 And paeans too, and groans at the same time.
Now, when all this had been said, one of the guests who were present said,- We ought, then, when we consider these things; to guard against indulging our appetites too much;
For a frugal dinner breeds no drunkenness,
as Amphis says, in his Pan: nor does it produce insolence or insulting conduct; as Alexis testifies in his Odysseus Weaving, where he says-
For many a banquet which endures too long,
And many and daily feasts, are wont to cause
Insult and mockery; and those kind of jests
Give far more pain than they do raise amusement.
For such are the first ground of evil-speaking;
And if you once begin to attack your neighbour,
You quickly do receive back all you bring,
And then abuse and quarrels surely follow;
Then blows and drunken riot. For this is
The natural course of things, and needs no prophet.
[18.] G And Mnesimachus, in his Philippus, on account of the immoderate indulgence in dinners of people of his time, introduces an entertainment which professes to be a preparation for war, and which really is what that admirable writer Xenophon [ Hell_3.4'17 ] calls a workshop of war. And he speaks thus-
Know you now with what men you must fight?
With us, who sup upon well-sharpened swords,
And swallow lighted firebrands for dainties:
And then, for our dessert, our slaves bring in,
After the first course, Cretan bows and arrows;
And, instead of vetches, broken heads of spears,
And fragments of well-battered shields and breastplates;
And at our feet lie slings, and stones, and bows,
And on our heads are wreaths of catapults.
And Phoenix of Colophon says-
A cask of wine shall be our sword- a cup
Shall be our spear- our hair shall arrows be;
Goblets shall be our enemies- wine our horses-
Ointments and perfumes our war-cry fierce.
And in the Parasite, Alexis, speaking of some very voracious person, says-
And all the younger men do call him parasite,
Using a gentler name; but he cares not.
And Telephus in speechless silence sits,
Making but signs to those who ask him questions;
So that the inviter often offers prayers
To the great Samothracian gods of the sea,
To cease their blowing, and to grant a calm;
For that young man's a storm to all his friends.
And Diphilus, in his Heracles, speaking of some similar kind of person, says-
Do you not now behold me drunk and merry,
Well filled with wine, and all inflamed with anger?
Have not I just devoured a dozen cakes,
Every one larger than a good-sized shield?
On which account, Bion of Borysthenes said, cleverly enough, that " A man ought not to derive his pleasures from the table, but from meditation;" and Euripides says-
I pleased my palate with a frugal meal;
signifying that the pleasure derived from eating and drinking is chiefly limited to the mouth. And Aeschylus, in his Phineus, says-
And many a most deceitful meal they snatched
Away from hungry jaws, in haste to enjoy
The first delight of the too eager palate.
And in his Stheneboea, Euripides speaks of frugality thus-
A life at sea is a much troubled life,
 Not reinforced with pleasures of the table,
But like a stable on the shore. The sea itself
Is a moist mother, not a nurse on land;
'Tis her we plough; from this our food, procured
With nets and traps, comes daily home to us.
[19.] G For the belly is a great evil to man; concerning which Alexis speaks, in his Men Dying Together-
And hence you well may see how great an evil
The belly is to man; what lessons strange
It teaches, and what deeds it forces on us.
If there were any power which could take
This part alone from out our bodies, then
No one would any more do injury
Or insult to his neighbour. But from this
Flow all the ills that harass human life.
And Diphilus, in his Parasite, says-
Well did that wise Euripides oft speak,
And this does seem his wisest word of all-
"But want compels me and my wretched belly;"
For there is nought more wretched than the belly:
And into that you pour whatever you have,
Which you do not in any other vessel.
Loaves you perhaps may carry in a bag,-
Not soup, or else you'll spoil it. So again,
You put cakes in a basket, but not pulse;
And wine into a bladder, but not crabs:
But into this accursed belly, men
Put every sort of inconsistent thing.
I add no more; since it is plain enough
That all men's errors are produced by it.
# And Crates the Cynic, as Sosicrates tells us in his Successions, reproached Demetrius Phalereus for sending him a bag of bread with a flagon of wine. "I wish," said he, "that the fountains bore bread." And Stilpon did not think himself guilty of intemperance when, having eaten garlic, he went to sleep in the temple of the Mother of the Gods; but all who eat of that food were forbidden even to enter into it. But when the goddess appeared to him in his sleep, and said, "O Stilpon, do you, though you are a philosopher, transgress the law?" he thought that he made answer to her (still being asleep), "Do you give me something better to eat, and I will not eat garlic."
* * * * *
[25.] G  And so great was the luxury of the ancients in respect of their sumptuous meals, that they not only had cupbearers, but also men whom they called oenoptae (inspectors of wines). At all events, the office of oenoptae is a regular office among the Athenians; and it is mentioned by Eupolis, in his play called The Cities, in the following lines-
And men whom heretofore you'd not have thought
Fit even to make oenoptae of, we now
See made our generals. But oh, city, city!
How much your fortune does outrun your sense.
And these oenoptae superintended the arrangement of banquets, taking care that the guests should drink on equal terms. But it was an office of no great dignity, as Philinus the orator tells us, in his debate on the Croconidae. And he tells us, too, that the oenoptae were three in number, and that they also provided the guests with lamps and wicks. And some people called them "eyes;" but among the Ephesians, the youths who acted as cupbearers at the festival of Poseidon were called "bulls," as Amerias tells us. And the people of the Hellespont call the cupbearer ἐπεγχύτης, or the pourer out; and they call carving, which we call κρεανομία, κρεωδαισία, as Demetrius of Scepsis tells us, in the twenty-sixth book of his Arrangement of the Trojan Forces. And some say that the nymph Harmonia acted as cupbearer to the gods; as Capito the epic poet relates (and he was a native of Alexandria by birth), in the second book of his Love Poems. But Alcaeus also represents Hermes as their cupbearer; as also does Sappho, who says-
And with ambrosia was a goblet mixed,
And Hermes poured it out to all the gods.
[26.] G But the ancients used to call the men who discharged this office, heralds (κήρυκες). Homer says [ Il_3'245 ] -
Meanwhile the heralds through the crowded town
Bring the rich wine and destined victims down.
Idaeus' arms the golden goblets pressed,
Who thus the venerable king addressed.
And a few lines further on he says [ Il_3'268 ] -
On either side a sacred herald stands;
The wine they mix, and on each monarch's hands
Pour the full urn.
But Cleidemus says that the cooks used to be called heralds. And some people have represented Hebe as acting as cup-bearer to the gods, perhaps because their banquets were called Hebeteria. # And Ptolemaeus, the son of Agesarchus, speaks of a damsel named Cleino as the cupbearer of Ptolemy the king, who was surnamed Philadelphus, mentioning her in the third book of his History of Philopator. But Polybius, in the fourteenth book of his History [ 14.11 ], adds that there are statues of her in Alexandria, in many parts of the city, clad in a tunic alone, holding a cup in her hand.
* * * * *
[40.] G  And many used to put lumps of barley meal into their wine when they drank, a custom which Hegesander of Delphi mentions. Accordingly Epinicus, when Mnesiptolemus had given a recitation of his history, in which it was written how Seleucus had used meal in his wine, having written a drama entitled Mnesiptolemus, and having turned him into ridicule, as the comic poets do, and using his own words about that sort of drink, represents him as saying:
Once I beheld the noble king Seleucus,
One summer's day, drinking with mighty pleasure
Some wine with meal steeped in it. (So I took
A note of it, and showed it to a crowd,
Although it was an unimportant thing,
Yet still my genius could make it serious.)
He took some fine old Thasian wine, and then
Some of the liquor which the Attic bee
Distils who culls the sweets from every flower;
And that he mingled in a marble cup,
And mixed the liquor with Demeter's corn,
And took the draught, a respite from the heat.
And the same writer tells us that in the Therades islands men mash lentils and pease into meal, instead of ordinary corn, and put that into the wine, and that this drink is said to be better than that in which the meal is mixed.
* * * * *
[50.] G  But Antigonus of Carystus, in his essay on the Life of Dionysius of Heracleia, who was called the Turncoat (Metathemenos), says that Dionysius, when he was feasting with his slaves at the festival of the Pitchers, and was not able, by reason of his old age, to avail himself of the courtesan whom they brought him, turned round and said to those who were feasting with him [ Homer, Il_21'152 ] -
I cannot now, so let another take her.
But Dionysius, as Nicias of Nicaea tells us in his Successions, had been from the time he was a boy very wanton in the indulgence of his lustfulness; and he used to go to all the prostitutes promiscuously. And once, when walking with some of his acquaintances, when he came near the house where the girls are kept, and where, having been there the day before, he had left some money owing, as he happened to have some with him then, he put out his hand and paid it in the presence of all of them.  And Anacharsis the Scythian, when a prize for drinking was proposed at the table of Periander, demanded the prize, because he was the first man to be drunk of all the guests who were present; as if to get to the end were the goal to be aimed at, and the victory to be achieved in drinking as in running a race. But Lacydes and Timon the philosophers, being invited to an entertainment which was to last two days, by one of their friends, and wishing to adapt themselves to the rest of the guests, drank with great eagerness. And accordingly in the first day, Lacydes went away first, as soon as he was quite satiated with drink. And Timon, seeing him as he was departing, said [ Homer, Il_22'393 ] -
Now have we gained immortal praise and fame,
Since we have slain great Hector. . .
But on the next day Timon went away first because he could not drink up the goblet in which he had been pledged, and Lacydes seeing him departing, said [ Homer, Il_6'127 ] -
Wretched are they who dare encounter me.
[51.] G And Herodotus, in his second book [ 2.133 ], relates that Mycerinus the Egyptian, having been told by the soothsayers that he was fated to live but a short time, used to light a great number of lamps when night arrived, and spend all his time in drinking and luxury, relaxing neither by day nor by night; and when he withdrew into the marshes and into the groves, or wherever he heard that there were meetings of young people to amuse themselves, he always got drunk. And Herodotus tells us that Amasis also, who was another of the Egyptian kings, was a very hard drinker indeed. And Hermeias of Methymna, in the third book of his History of Sicily, says that Nicoteles the Corinthian was a man greatly addicted to drinking. And Phaenias of Eresus, in the book entitled, The Slaying of Tyrants out of Revenge, says that Scopas the son of Creon, and the grandson of the former Scopas, was throughout his whole life very fond of drinking; and that he used to return from banquets at which he had been present, sitting on a throne, and carried by four bearers, and in that way he used to enter his house. # And Phylarchus, in the sixth book of his Histories [ Fr_6 ], says that Antiochus the king was a man very fond of wine; and that he used to get drunk, and then go to sleep for a long time, and then, as evening came on, he would wake up, and drink again. And it was very seldom, says he, that he transacted the affairs of his kingdom when he was sober, but much more frequently when he was drunk; on which account there were two men about him who managed all the real business of the state as they pleased, namely Aristus and Themison, Cyprians by birth, and brothers; and they were both on terms of the greatest intimacy with Antiochus.
[52.] G # And Antiochus the king, who was surnamed Epiphanes, was also a great drinker,- the one, I mean, who had been a hostage among the Romans, whom Ptolemy Euergetes mentions in the third book of his Commentaries, and also in the fifth; saying that he turned to Indian revellings and drunkenness, and spent a vast quantity of money in those practices; and for the rest of the money which he had at hand, he spent a part of it in his daily revels, and the rest he would scatter about, standing in the public streets, and saying, "Let whoever chance gives it to, take it:" and then, throwing the money about, he would depart. And very often, having a plaited garland of roses on his head, and wearing a golden embroidered robe, he would walk about alone, having stones under his arm, which he would throw at those of his friends who were following him. And he used to bathe also in the public baths, anointed all over with perfumes; and, on one occasion, some private individual, seeing him, said, "You are a happy man, O king; you smell in a most costly manner:" and he, being much pleased, said, "I will give you as much as you can desire of this perfume." And so he ordered an ewer containing more than two choes of thick perfumed unguent to be poured over his head; so that the multitude of the poorer people who were about all collected to gather up what was spilt; and, as the place was made very slippery by it, Antiochus himself slipped and fell, laughing a great deal, and most of the bathers did the same.
 But Polybius, in the twenty-sixth book of his Histories [ 26.1 ], calls this man Epimanes (mad), and not Epiphanes (illustrious), on account of his actions.- "For he not only used to go to entertainments of the common citizens, but he also would drink with any strangers who happened to be sojourning in the city, and even with those of the meanest class. And if," says Polybius, "he heard that any of the younger men were making a feast anywhere whatever, he would come with an earthen bowl, and with music, so that the greater part of the feasters fled away alarmed at his unexpected appearance. And very often he would put off his royal robes, and take a common cloak, and in that dress go round the market."
[53.] G # And in the thirty-first book of his Histories [ 30.25 ], the same Polybius tells us "that when Antiochus was celebrating some public games at Antioch, he invited all the Greeks and any of the multitude who chose to come to the spectacle. And when a great many people came, he anointed them all in the gymnnasia with ointment of saffron, and cinnamon, and nard, and amaracus, and lilies, out of golden vessels: and then, inviting them all to a feast, he filled sometimes a thousand and sometimes fifteen hundred triclinia with the most expensive preparations; and he himself personally attended to waiting on the guests. For, standing at the entrance, he introduced some, and others he placed upon the couches; and he himself marshalled the servants who brought in the different courses; and, walking about among the guests, at times he sat down in one place, and at times he lay down in another. And sometimes he would put down what he was eating, and at other times he would lay down his cup, and jump up, and change his place, and go all round the party, standing up himself, and pledging different people at different times; and then, mingling with the musicians, he would be brought in by the actors, entirely covered up, and laid down on the ground, as if he had been one of the actors himself; and then, when the music gave the signal, the king would leap up, and dance and sport among the actors, so that they were all ashamed. To such absurdities does a want of education, when joined with drunkenness, reduce miserable men." # And his namesake, the Antiochus who carried on war in Media against Arsaces, was very fond of drinking; as Poseidonius of Apameia relates in the sixteenth book of his History [ Fr_11 ]. Accordingly, when he was slain, he says that Arsaces, when he buried him, said- "Your courage and your drunkenness have ruined you, O Antiochus; for you hoped that, in your great cups, you would be able to drink up the kingdom of Arsaces."
[54.] G # But the Antiochus who was surnamed the Great, who was subdued by the Romans (as Polybius relates in his twentieth book [ 20.8 ]), having arrived at Chalcis, in Euboea, celebrated a marriage when he was fifty years of age; and after he had undertaken two most enormous and important affairs, namely, the liberation of the Greeks (as he himself professed) and the war against the Romans. At all events, he, being smitten with love for a girl of Chalcis, was very anxious to marry her at the very time that he was engaged in this war, being a man very fond of drinking and delighting in drunkenness. And she was the daughter of Cleophanes, one of the nobles, and superior to all the maidens of her country in beauty. Accordingly, he celebrated his marriage in Chalcis, and remained there all the winter, not once giving the smallest thought to the important affairs which he had in hand. And he gave the girl the name of Euboea. Accordingly, being defeated in the war, he fled to Ephesus, with his newly-married bride.  And in the second book [ 2.4 ], the same Polybius relates that Agron, the king of the Illyrians, being delighted at having gained a victory over the haughty Aetolians, being a man much addicted to drinking, and to drunkenness, and banqueting, fell ill of a pleurisy, and died. # And the same historian says, in his twenty-ninth book [ 29.13 ], that Genthion, the king of the Illyrians, on account of his great fondness for drinking, did a great many intemperate things during his life, being incessantly drunk, both night and day; and having murdered Pleuratus, his brother, who was about to marry the daughter of Menunius, he married the girl himself, and treated his subjects with great cruelty. And he says, in the thirty-third book of his History [ 33.19 ], that Demetrius, when he fled after having been a hostage at Rome, and became king of the Syrians, became a great drinker, and was drunk the greater part of the day. # And he also, in his thirty-second book [ 32.11 ], says that Orophernes, who was for a short time king of Cappadocia, disregarded all the customs of his country, and introduced the artificial luxury of the Ionians.
[55.] G On which account, that most divine of writers, Plato, lays down admirable laws in his second book [ Laws_2.666'a ] - "That boys, till they are eighteen years of age, should absolutely never taste wine at all; for that it is not well to heap fire on fire: that men up to thirty years of age may drink wine in moderation; and that the young man should wholly abstain from much wine and from drunkenness. But that a man, when he arrives at forty years of age, may feast in large banquets, and invoke the other gods, and especially Dionysus, to the feasts and amusements of the older men; since he it is who has given men this means of indulgence, as an ally against the austerity of old age, for which wine was the best medicine; so that, owing to it, we grow young again, and forget our moroseness." And then he proceeds to say- "But there is a report and story told that this god was once deprived of his mind and senses by his mother-in-law, Hera; on which account he sent Bacchic frenzy, and all sorts of frantic rage, among men, out of revenge for the treatment which he had experienced; on which account also he gave wine to men."
[56.] G But Phalaecus, in his Epigrams, makes mention of a woman, whose name was Cleo, as having been a very hard drinker-
Cleo bestowed this gift on Dionysus,
The tunic, fringed with gold and saffron hues,
Which long she wore herself; so great she was
At feasts and revelry: there was no man
Who could at all contend with her in drinking.
And it is a well-known fact that all the race of women is fond of drinking. And it was not without some wit that Xenarchus introduces, in his Pentathlon, a woman swearing this most horrible oath:-
May it be granted me to pass from life
Drinking abundant draughts of wine, while you,
My darling daughter, live and prosper here.
But among the Romans, as Polybius says, in his sixth book [ 6.11a'4 ], it was forbidden to women to drink wine at all. However, they drink what is called passum; and that is made of raisins, and when drank is very like the sweet wines of Aegosthena and Crete, on which account men use it when oppressed by excessive thirst. And it is impossible for a woman to drink wine without being detected: for, first of all, she has not the key of the cellar; and, in the next place, she is bound to kiss her relations, and those of her husband, down to cousins, and to do this every day when she first sees them; and besides this, she is forced to be on her best behaviour, as it is quite uncertain whom she may chance to meet;  for if she has merely tasted wine, it needs no informer, but is sure to betray itself."
And Alcimus the Sicilian, in that book of his which is entitled the Italian History, says that all the women in Italy avoid drinking wine on this account: "When Heracles was in the district of Croton, he one day was very thirsty, and came to a certain house by the wayside and asked for something to drink; and it happened that the wife of the master of the house had secretly opened a cask of wine, and therefore she said to her husband that it would be a shameful thing for him to open this cask for a stranger; and so she told him to give Heracles some water. But Heracles, who was standing at the door, and heard all this, praised her husband very much, but advised him to go indoors himself and look at the cask. And when he had gone in, he found that the cask had become petrified. And this fact is proved by the conduct of the women of the country, among whom it is reckoned disgraceful, to this day, to drink wine, on account of the above-mentioned reason."
[57.] G And what sort of women those among the Greeks are who get drunk, Antiphanes tells us, in his Woman Hit by a Javelin; where he says-
I have a neighbour who sells wine,
And he, whenever I arrive, being thirsty,
Is the only man who knows the proper way
In which to mix my wine; and makes it not
Too full of water, nor too strong and heady:
I recollect that once when I was drinking .....
And, in his Woman Initiated, (and it is women who are conversing,) he writes-
(A) Would you now like, my dearest friend, to drink?
(B) No doubt I should.
(A) Well come, then, take a cup;
For they do say the first three cups one takes
All tend to the honour of the heavenly gods.
And Alexis, in his Female Dancer, says-
(A) But women are quite sure to be content
If they have only wine enough to drink.
(B) But, by the heavenly twins, we now shall have
As much as we can wish; and it shall be
Sweet, and not griping,- rich, well-seasoned wine,
(A) I like this aged sphinx;
For hear how now she talks to me in riddles.
And so on. And, in his Zeus the Mourner, he mentions a certain woman named Zopyra, and says-
Zopyra, that wine-cask.
Antiphanes, in his The Bacchants-
But since this now is not the case, I'm sure
He is a wretched man who ever marries
Except among the Scythians; for their country
Is the sole land which does not bear the vine.
And Xenarchus, in his Pentathlon, says-
I write a woman's oath in mighty wine.
[58.] G Platon, in his Phaon, relating how many things happen to women because of wine, says-
Come now, ye women, long ago have I
Prayed that this wine may thus become your folly;
For you don't think, as the old proverb goes,
That there is any wisdom at a vintner's.
For if you now desire to see Phaon,
You first must all these solemn rites perform.
First, as the nurse of youths, I must receive
A vigorous cheesecake, and a pregnant mealcake,
And sixteen thrushes whole, well smeared with honey,
Twelve hares, all taken when the moon was full;
But all the other things may be got cheaply.
Now listen. Three half-measures of fine onions;
These for Orthannes. For Conisalus
And his two mates, a plate of myrtleberries,
 Plucked with the hand: for the great Gods above
Dislike the smell of lamps. You must offer
(?) A dark-coloured raisin for the dogs and huntsmen.
A drachma for Lordon; for Cybdasus,
Three obols; for the mighty hero Celes,
Some hides and incense. Now if you bring
These things, you'll certainly obtain admittance;
But if you don't, you'll knock in vain, and long
In vain to enter, and get nothing by it.
And Axionicus says, in his Philinna-
Just trust a woman to drink no water.
[59.] G And whole nations are mentioned as addicted to drunkenness. Accordingly, Baeton, the measurer of distances for Alexander, in his book which is entitled Stations of the March of Alexander, and Amyntas also, in his Stations, says that the nation of the Tapyri is so fond of wine that they never use any other unguent than that. And Ctesias tells the same story, in his book Concerning the Revenues in Asia. And he says that they are a most just people. And Harmodius of Lepreum, in his treatise on the Laws in force among the people of Phigaleia, says that the Phigaleians are addicted to drinking, being neighbours of the Messenians, and being also a people much accustomed to travelling. And Phylarchus, in his sixth book [ Fr_7 ], says that the Byzantians are so exceedingly fond of wine, that they live in the wine-shops and let out their own houses and their wives also to strangers: and that they cannot bear to hear the sound of a trumpet even in their sleep. On which account once, when they were attacked by the enemy, and could not endure the labour of defending their walls, Leonidas, their general, ordered the innkeepers' booths to be erected as tents upon the walls, and even then it was with difficulty that they were stopped from deserting, as Damon tells us, in his book on Byzantium. But Menander, in his play called the Woman carrying the Peplos of Athene, or the Female Flute-player, says-
Byzantium makes all the merchants drunk.
On your account we drank the whole night long,
And right strong wine too, as it seems to me,-
At least I got up with four heads, I think.
And the Argives too are ridiculed by the comic poets as addicted to drunkenness; and so are the Tirynthians by Ephippus, in his Busiris. And he introduces Heracles as saying-
(A) For how in the name of all the gods at once,
Do you not know me, the Tirynthian Argive?
That race fights all its battles when it's drunk.
(B) And that is why they always run away.
And Eubulus, in his Man Glued, says that the Milesians are very insolent when they are drunk. And Polemon, in his treatise on the Inscriptions to be found in Cities, speaking of the Eleans, produces this epigram:-
Elis is always drunk, and always lying:
As is each single house, so is the city.
* * * * *
[64.] G  When Ulpianus had heard all this he said,- Tell me, my good Pontianus, says he, in what author does the word πάροινος occur? And he replied-
You will undo me with your questions
(as the excellent Agathon says)-
.... and your new fashion,
Always talking at an unseasonable time.
But since it is decided that we are to be responsible to you for every word, Antiphanes, in his Lydian, has said-
A Colchian man drunken and quarrelsome (πάροινος).
But you are not yet satisfied about your πάροινοι, and drunkards; # nor do you consider that Eumenes the king of Pergamum, the nephew of Philetaerus, who had formerly been king of Pergamum, died of drunkenness, as Ctesicles relates, in the third book of his Chronicles. # But, however, Perseus, whose power was put down by the Romans, did not die in that way; for he did not imitate his father Philippus in anything; for he was not eager about women, nor was he fond of wine; but when at a feast he was not only moderate himself, but all his friends who were with him were so too, as Polybius relates, in his twenty-sixth book. But you, O Ulpianus, are a most immoderate drinker yourself (ἀρῥυθμοπότης), as Timon of Phlius calls it. For so he called those men who drink a great quantity of unmixed wine, in the second book of his Silli-
Or that great ox-goad, harder than Lycurgus',
Who smote the ἀρῥυθμοπόται of Dionysus,
And threw their cups and brimming ladles down.
For I do not call you simply ποτικὸς, or fond of drinking; and this last is a word which Alcaeus has used, in his Ganymedes. And that a habit of getting drunk deceives our eyesight, Anacharsis has shown plainly enough, in what he says where he shows that mistaken opinions are taken up by drunken men. For a fellow-drinker of his once, seeing his wife at a banquet, said, "Anacharsis, you have married an ugly woman." And he replied, "Indeed I think so too, but however now, give me, O boy, a cup of stronger wine, that I may make her out beautiful."
* * * * *
↑ Athenaeus: list of contents
Attalus' home page | 27.03.14 | Any comments?