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Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists

BOOK 3 (excerpts)

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.


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[3.] G   [73] But Phylarchus says [ Fr_65 ] , that though Egyptian beans had never been sown before in any place, and had never produced fruit if any one had by chance sown a few, except in Egypt, still, in the time of Alexander the king, the son of Pyrrhus, it happened that some sprung up near the river Thyamis in Thesprotia in Epirus, in a certain marsh in that district; and for two years continuously they bore fruit and grew; and that on this Alexander put a guard over them, and not only forbade any one to pick them, but would not allow any one to approach the place; and on this the marsh dried up; and for the future it not only never produced the above-mentioned fruit, but it does not appear even to have furnished any water. And something very like this happened at Aedepsus. For at a distance from all other waters there was a spring sending forth cold water at no great distance from the sea; and invalids who drunk this water were greatly benefited: on which account many repaired thither from great distances, to avail themselves of the water. Accordingly the generals of king Antigonus, wishing to be economical with respect to it, imposed a tax to be paid by those who drank it: and on this the spring dried up. And in the Troas in former times all who wished it were at liberty to collect salt at Tragasae; but when Lysimachus became ruler there, and put a tax on it, that, too, disappeared: and as he marvelled at this, as soon as he remitted the tribute and left the place free, the salt came again.

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[21.] G   [81] Stesichorus also mentions the Cydonian apples, in his Helene, speaking thus :-
  Before the kingís most honoured throne,
  I threw Cydonian apples down;
  And leaves of myrrh, and crowns of roses,
  And violets in purple posies.

Alcman mentions them too. And Cantharus does so likewise, in the Tereus; where he says-
  Likening her bosom to Cydonian apples.

And Philemon, in his Clown calls Cydonian apples στρουθία. And Phylarchus, in the sixth book of his Histories, says [ Fr_10 ] that apples by their sweet fragrance can blunt the efficacy of even deadly poisons. At all events, he says, that some Phariacan poison having been cast into a chest still smelling from having had some of these apples stored away in it, lost all its effect and preserved none of its former power, but was mixed and given to some people who were plotted against, but that they escaped all harm. And that afterwards it was ascertained, by an investigation and examination of the man who had sold the poison; and that he felt sure that it arose from the fact of the apples having been put away in the chest.

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[54.] G   [98] Such now, my friends, are Ulpianusí companions, the sophists; men who call even the thing which the Romans call miliarium, that is to say, a vessel designed to prepare boiling water in, ἰπνολέβης, an oven-kettle; being manufacturers of many names, and far outrunning by many parasangs the Sicilian Dionysius: who called a virgin μένανδρος (from μένω and ἀνὴρ), because she is waiting for a husband; and a pillar μενεκράτης (from μένω and κράτος), because it remains and is strong. And a javelin he called βαλλάντιον, because ( ἄντιον βάλλεται) it is thrown against something; and mouse-holes he called μύστηρια mysteries, (from τηρεῖν τοὺς μῦς) because they keep the mice. And Athanis in the first book of his History of the Affairs of Sicily, says that the same Dionysius gave an ox the name of γαρότας; and a pig he called ἴακχος. And Alexarchus was a man of the same sort, the brother of Cassander, who was king of Macedonia, who built the city called Uranopolis. And Heracleides Lembus speaks concerning him in the seventh book of his Histories, and says, "Alexarchus, who founded the city Uranopolis, imported many peculiar words and forms of speaking into the language: calling a cock ὀρθοβόας, or he that crows in the morn; and a barber βροτοκέρτης, or one who cuts men; and a drachma he called ἀργυρὶς, a piece of silver; and a choenix he called ἡμεροτροφὶς, what feeds a man for a day; and a herald he called ἀπύτης, a bawler. And once he wrote a letter to the magistrates of Cassandreia in this form:- Alexarchus, to the Primipiles of Brotherís Town, joy: Our sun-fleshed yeans, I wot, and dams thereof which guard the braes whereon they were born, have been visited by the fateful dome of the gods in might, fresheting them hence from the forsaken fields." But what that letter means I think that even the Pythian Apollo himself could hardly tell. For, as Antiphanes says, in his Cleophanes,-
  What is it then to be a tyrant, (or
  What would you call pursuing serious things,)
  In the Lyceium with the sophists; by Zeus,
  They are but thin and hungry joyless men.
  And say the thing does not exist if now
  It is produced; for that is not as yet,
  [99] Nor can already be produced, which now
  Is caused afresh. Nor if it did exist
  Before, can it be now made to exist.
  For there is nothing which has no existence.
  And that which never yet has taken place,
  Is not as if it had, since it has not.
  For it exists from its existence; but
  If there is no existence, what is there
  From which it can exist? The thingís impossible.
  And if itís self-existent, it will not
  Exist again. And one perhaps may say,
  Let be; whence now can that which has no being
  Exist, what can become of it? What all this means
  I say that even Apolloís self canít tell.

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[58.] G   [100] But Lynceus the Samian, the friend of Theophrastus, was acquainted with the use of paunches when eaten with silphium sauce. And accordingly, writing an account of the Banquet of Ptolemaeus , he says:- "A certain paunch having been brought round in vinegar and sauce." Antiphanes, too, mentions this sauce in his Unhappy Lovers, speaking of Cyrene -
  I sail back to the self-same harbour whence
  We previously were torn; and bid farewell
  To all my horses, friends, and silphium,
  And two horse chariots, and to cabbages,
  And single-horses, and to salads green,
  And fevers, and rich sauces.

[101] And how much better a paunch of a castrated animal is, Hipparchus, who wrote the book called The Egyptian Iliad, tells us in the following words -
  But above all I do delight in dishes
  Of paunches and of tripe from gelded beasts,
  And love a fragrant pig within the oven.

And Sopater says in his Hippolytus -
  But like a beauteous paunch of gelded pig
  Well boiled and white, and basted with rich cheese.

And in his Physiologus he says-
  ĎTis not a well boiled slice of paunch of pig
  Holding within a sharp and biting gravy.

And in his Silphae he says-
  That you may eat a slice of boiled pigís paunch,
  Dipping It in a bitter sauce of rue.

[59.] G   But the ancients were not acquainted with the fashion of bringing on paunches, or lettuces, or anything of the sort, before dinner, as is done now. At all events Archestratus, the inventor of made dishes, as he calls himself, says that pledges in drinking, and the use of ointments, are introduced after supper -
  And always at the banquet crown your head
  With flowing wreaths of varied scent and hue,
  Culling the treasures of the happy earth;
  And steep your hair in rich and reeking odours,
  And all day long pour holy frankincense
  And myrrh, the fragrant fruit of Syria,
  On the slow slumbering ashes of the fire:
  Then, when you drink, let slaves these luxuries bring-
  Tripe, and the boiled paunch of well-fed swine,
  Well soaked in cumin juice and vinegar,
  And sharp, strong-smelling silphium;
  Taste, too, the tender well-roast birds, and game,
  Whatever may be in season. But despise
  The rude uncivilized Sicilian mode,
  Where men do nought but drink like troops of frogs,
  And eat no solid seasoning. Avoid them.
  And seek the meats which I enjoin thee here.
  All other foods are only signs and proofs
  Of wretched poverty: the green boiled vetch,
  And beans, and apples, and dried drums of figs.
  But praise the cheesecakes which from Athens come;
  And if there are none, still of any country
  Cheesecakes are to be eaten; also ask
  For Attic Honey, the feastís crowning dish-
  For that it is which makes a banquet noble.
  Thus should a free man live, or else descend
  Beneath the earth, and court the deadly realms
  Of Tartarus, buried deep beneath the earth
  Innumerable fathoms.

But Lynceus, describing the banquet given by Lamia, the female flute-player, when she entertained Demetrius Poliorcetes, represents the guests the moment they come to the banquet as eating all sorts of fish and meat; and in the same way, when speaking of the feast given by Antigonus the king, when celebrating the Aphrodisiac festival, and also one given by King Ptolemaeus, he speaks of fish as the first course; and then meat.

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