Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists
  - BOOK 14 (excerpts)

Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.

The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green. Transliterated Greek words are shown in dark red. Links to further information are shown in blue.
Click on the # symbols to go to lists of other ancient sources which refer to the same events.

[1.] [613] Most people, my friend Timocrates, call Dionysus frantic, because those who drink too much unmixed wine become uproarious:
  To copious wine this insolence you owe,
  And much your betters wine can overthrow.
  The great Eurytion, when this frenzy stung,
  Peirithous' roofs with frantic riot rung:
  Boundless the Centaur raged, till one and all
  The Lapiths rose and dragged him from the hall. [ Homer, Od_21'293 ]

For when the wine has penetrated down into the body, as Herodotus says [ 1.212 ], bad and furious language is apt to rise to the surface. And Clearchus the comic poet says in his Corinthians-
  If all the men who to get drunk are apt,
  Had everyday a headache before they drank
  The wine, there is not one would drink a drop:
  But as we now get all the pleasure first,
  Then after we drink, we lose the whole delight
  In the sharp pain which follows.

And Xenophon [ Ages_5.1 ] represents Agesilaus as insisting that a man ought to shun drunkenness equally with madness, and immoderate gluttony as much as idleness. But we, as we are not of the class who drink to excess, nor of the number of those who are in the habit of being intoxicated by midday, have come rather to this literary entertainment; for Ulpianus, who is always finding fault, reproved some one just now who said, I am not drunk (ἔξοινος), saying,- Where do you find that word ἔξοινος? But he rejoined,- Why, in Alexis, who, in his play called the New Settler, says-
  He did all this when drunk (ἔξοινος).

[2.] But as, after the discussion by us of the new topics which arise, our liberal entertainer Larensis is every day constantly introducing different kinds of music, and also jesters and buffoons, let us have a little talk about them. Although I am aware that Anacharsis the Scythian, when on one occasion jesters were introduced in his company, remained without moving a muscle of his countenance; but afterwards, when a monkey was brought in, he burst out laughing, and said, "Now this fellow is laughable by his nature, but man is only so through practice." And Euripides, in his Melanippe in Chains, has said-
  But many men, from the wish to raise a laugh,
  Practise sharp sayings; but those sorry jesters
  I hate who let loose their unbridled tongues
  [614] Against the wise and good; nor do I class them
  As men at all, but only as jokes and playthings.
  [But women ...]
  Tend their homes at ease, and gather up
  Good store of wealth to keep within their houses.

And Parmeniscus of Metapontum, as Semus tells us in the fifth book of his History of Delos, a man of the highest consideration both as to family and in respect of his riches, having gone down to the cave of Trophonius, after he had come up again, was not able to laugh at all. And when he consulted the oracle on this subject, the Pythian priestess replied to him-
  You're asking me, you laughless man,
  About the power to laugh again;
  Your mother will give it you at home,
  If you with reverence to her come.

So, on this, he hoped that when he returned to his country he should be able to laugh again; but when he found that he could laugh no more now than he could before, he considered that he had been deceived; till, by some chance, he came to Delos; and as he was admiring everything he saw in the island, he came into the temple of Leto, expecting to see some very superb statue of the mother of Apollo; but when he saw only a wooden shapeless figure, he unexpectedly burst out laughing. And then, comparing what had happened with the oracle of the god, and being cured of his infirmity, he honoured the goddess greatly.

[3.] Now Anaxandrides, in his Old Man's Madness, says that it was Rhadamanthys and Palamedes who invented the fashion of jesters; and his words are these:
  And yet we labour much.
  But Palamedes first, and Rhadamanthys,
  Sought those who bring no other contribution,
  But say amusing things.

Xenophon also, in his Symposium [ 1.11 ], mentions jesters; introducing Philippus, of whom he speaks in the following manner:- "But Philippus the jester, having knocked at the door, told the boy who answered, to tell the guests who he was, and that he was desirous to be admitted; and he said that he came provided with everything which could qualify him for supping at other people's expense. And he said, too, that his boy was in a good deal of distress because he had brought nothing, and because he had had no dinner." And Hippolochus the Macedonian, in his Letter to Lynceus [ Athen_4.130'c ], mentions the jesters Mandrogenes and Straton the Athenian. And at Athens there was a great deal of this kind of cleverness. Accordingly, in the Heracleium at Diomeia they assembled to the number of sixty, and they were always spoken of in the city as amounting to that number, in such expressions as- "The sixty said this," and, "I am come from the sixty." And among them were Callimedon, nicknamed the Crab, and Deinias, and also Mnasigeiton and Menaechmus, as Telephanes tells us in his treatise On the City. And their reputation for amusing qualities was so great, that Philippus the Macedonian heard of it, and sent them a talent to engage them to write out their witticisms and send them to him. And the fact of this king having been a man who was very fond of jokes is testified to us by Demosthenes the orator in his Philippics [ Olynth_2'19 ]. Demetrius Poliorcetes was a man very eager for anything which could make him laugh, as Phylarchus tells us in the sixth book of his History [ Fr_12 ]. And he it was who said, "that the palace of Lysimachus was in no respect different from a comic theatre; for that there was no one there with a name longer than two syllables;" (meaning to laugh at Bithys and Paris, who had more influence than anybody with Lysimachus, and at some others of his friends;) "but that his own friends were Peucestes, and Menelaus, and Oxythemis." But when Lysimachus heard this, he said,- "I, however, never saw a prostitute on the stage in a tragedy;" referring to Lamia the female flute-player. [615] And when this was reported to Demetrius, he rejoined,- "But the prostitute who is with me, lives in a more modest manner than the Penelope who is with him."

[4.] And we have mentioned before this that Sulla, the general of the Romans, was very fond of anything laughable.  # And Lucius Anicius, who was also a general of the Romans, after he had subdued the Illyrians, and brought with him Genthius the king of the Illyrians as his prisoner, with all his children, when he was celebrating his triumphal games at Rome, did many things of the most laughable character possible, as Polybius relates in his thirtieth book [ 30.22 ]:- "For having sent for the most eminent artists from Greece, and having erected a very large theatre in the Circus, he first of all introduced all the flute-players. And these were Theodorus the Boeotian, and Theopompus, and Hermippus, surnamed Lysimachus, who were the most eminent men in their profession. And having brought these men in front of the stage after the chorus was over, he ordered them all to play the flute. And as they accompanied their music with appropriate gestures, he sent to them and said that they were not playing well, and desired them to be more vehement. And while they were in perplexity, one of the lictors told them that what Anicius wished was that they should turn round so as to advance towards each other, and give a representation of a battle. And then the flute-players, taking this hint, and adopting a movement not unsuited to their habitual wantonness, caused a great tumult and confusion; and turning the middle of the chorus towards the extremities, the flute-players, all blowing unpremeditated notes, and letting their flutes be all out of tune, rushed upon one another in turn: and at the same time the choruses, all making a noise to correspond to them, and coming on the stage at the same time, rushed also upon one another, and then again retreated, advancing and retreating alternately. But when one of the chorus-dancers tucked up his garment, and suddenly turned round and raised his hands against the flute-player who was coming towards him, as if he was going to box with him, then there arose an extraordinary clapping and shouting on the part of the spectators. And while all these men were fighting as if in regular battle, two dancers were introduced into the orchestra with castanets, and four boxers mounted the stage, with trumpeters and horn-players: and when all these men were striving together, the spectacle was quite indescribable: and as for the tragedians," says Polybius, "if I were to attempt to describe what took place with respect to them, I should be thought by some people to be jesting."

[5.] Now when Ulpianus had said thus much, and when all were laughing at the idea of this exhibition of Anicius, a discussion arose about travelling acrobats (πλάνοι). And the question was asked, Whether there was any mention of these men in any of the ancient authors? for of the jugglers (θαυματοποιοὶ) we have already spoken [ 1.20'a ]: and Magnus said, Dionysius of Sinope, the comic poet, in his play entitled The Namesakes, mentions Cephisodorus the πλάνος in the following terms-
  They say that once there was a man at Athens,
  A πλάνος, named Cephisodorus, who
  Devoted all his life to this pursuit;
  And he, whenever to a hill he came,
  Ran straight up to the top; but then descending
  Came slowly down, and leaning on a pole.

And Nicostratus also mentions him in his Syrian-
  They say the πλάνος Cephisodorus once
  Most wittily stationed in a narrow lane
  A crowd of men with bundles in their arms,
  So that no one else could pass that way at all.

[616] There was also a man named Pantaleon, who is mentioned by Theognetus, in his Slave devoted to his Master-
  Pantaleon himself did none deceive (ἐπλάνα)
  Save only foreigners, and those, too, such
  As never had heard of him: and often he,
  After a drunken revel, would pour forth
  All sorts of jokes, striving to raise a laugh
  By his unceasing chattering.

And Chrysippus the philosopher in the fifth book of his treatise On Honour and Pleasure, writes thus of Pantaleon:- "But Pantaleon the πλάνος, when he was at the point of death, deceived every one of his sons separately, telling each of them that he was the only one to whom he was revealing the place where he had buried his gold; so that they afterwards went and dug together to no purpose, and then found out that they had been all deceived."

[6.] And our party was not deficient in men fond of raising a laugh by jesting speeches. And respecting a man of this kind, Chrysippus subsequently, in the same book, writes as follows:- "Once when a man fond of jests was about to be put to death by the executioner, he said that he wished to die like the swan, singing a song; and when he gave him leave, he ridiculed him." And Myrtilus having had a good many jokes cut on him by people of this sort, got angry, and said that Lysimachus the king had done a very sensible thing;  # for he, hearing Telesphorus, one of his lieutenants, at an banquet, ridiculing Arsinoe (and she was the wife of Lysimachus), as being a woman in the habit of vomiting, by quoting the following line-
  You are starting trouble, introducing this vomiting woman (τήνδ' ἐμοῦσαν)
ordered him to be put in a cage (γαλεάγρα) and carried about like a wild beast, and fed; and he punished him in this way till he died. But if you, O Ulpianus, raise a question about the word γαλεάγρα, it occurs in Hypereides the orator; and the passage you may find out for yourself.

And Tachos the king of Egypt ridiculed Agesilaus king of Lacedeemon, when he came to him as an ally (for he was a very short man), and lost his kingdom in consequence, as Agesilaus abandoned his alliance. And the expression of Tachos was as follows:
  The mountain was in labour; Zeus
  Was greatly frightened: lo! a mouse was born.
And Agesilaus hearing of this, and being indignant at it, said, "I will one day prove a lion to you." So afterwards, when the Egyptians revolted (as Theopompus relates, and Lyceas of Naucratis confirms the statement in his History of Egypt), Agesilaus refused to cooperate with him, and, in consequence, Tachos lost his kingdom, and fled to the Persians.

  * * * * *

[12.] [620] Moreover, there were rhapsodists also present at our entertainments: for Larensis delighted in the reciters of Homer to an extraordinary degree; so that one might call Cassander the king of Macedonia a trifler in comparison of him; concerning whom Carystius, in his Historical Recollections, tells us that he was so devoted to Homer, that he could say the greater part of his poems by heart; and he had a copy of the Iliad and the Odyssey written out with his own hand. And that these reciters of Homer were called Homerists also, Aristocles has told us in his treatise On Choruses. But those who are now called Homerists were first introduced on the stage by Demetrius Phalereus.

Now Chamaeleon, in his essay on Stesichorus, says that not only the poems of Homer, but those also of Hesiodus and Archilochus, and also of Mimnermus and Phocylides, were often recited to the accompaniment of music; and Clearchus, in the first book of his treatise On Pictures, says- "Simonides of Zacynthus used to sit in the theatres on a lofty chair reciting the verses of Archilochus." And Lysanias, in the first book of his treatise On Iambic Poets, says that Mnasion the rhapsodist used in his public recitations to deliver some of the Iambics of Simonides. And Cleomenes the rhapsodist, at the Olympic games, recited the Purification of Empedocles, as is asserted by Dicaearchus in his History of Olympia. And Jason, in the third book of his treatise On the Temples of Alexander, says that Hegesias, the comic actor, recited the works of Herodotus in the great theatre at Alexandria, and that Hermophantus recited the poems of Homer.

[13.] And the men called hilarodists (whom some people at the present day call simodists, as Aristocles tells us in his first book On Choruses, because Simus of Magnesia was the most celebrated of all the poets of joyous songs,) frequently come to our attention. And Aristocles also gives a regular list of performers in his treatise On Music, where he speaks in the following manner:- "The magodist- but he is the same as the lysiodist." But Aristoxenus says that magodist is the name given to an actor who acts both male and female characters; but that he who acts a woman's part in male [costume] is called a lysiodist. And they both sing the same songs, and in other respects they are similar.

The ionicologus recites the poems of Sotades, and what before his time were called Ionic poems, such as those of Alexander the Aetolian, and Pyres the Milesian, and Alexas, and other poets of the same kind; and [this reciter] is also called cinaedologus. And Sotades of Maroneia was very notorious for this kind of poetry, as Carystius of Pergamum says in his essay on Sotades; and so was the son of Sotades, Apollonius. This latter also wrote an essay on his father's poetry, from which one may easily see the unbridled licence of language which Sotades allowed himself: abusing Lysimachus the king in Alexandria, and, when at the court ef Lysimachus, abusing Ptolemaeus Philadelphus, and in different cities speaking ill of different sovereigns; on which account, at last, he met with the punishment that he deserved. [621]  # For he had said many bitter things against Ptolemaeus the king, and especially this, after he had heard that he had married his sister Arsinoe,-
  He pierced forbidden fruit with deadly sting.
But when he had sailed from Alexandria (as Hegesander, in his Reminiscences, relates), and thought that he had escaped all danger, Patrocles, the general of Ptolemaeus, caught him in the island of Caunus. Patrocles shut him up in a leaden vessel, and carried him into the open sea and drowned him. And here is an example of Sotades' poetry: about Philenus, who was the father of Theodorus the flute-player, he wrote these lines:-
  And he, opening the door which leads from the back-side,
  Sent forth vain thunder from a leafy cave,
  Such as a mighty ploughing ox might utter.

  * * * * *

[29.] [630] But Aristoxenus says that the Pyrrhic dance derives its name from Pyrrhichus, who was a Lacedaemonian by birth; and that even to this day Pyrrhichus is a Lacedaemonian name. And the dance itself, being of a warlike character, shows that it is the invention of some Lacedaemonian; for the Lacedaemonians are a martial race, and their sons learn military marches which they call enoplia. And the Lacedaemonians themselves in their wars recite the poems of Tyrtaeus, and move in time to those tunes. But Philochorus [ Fr_216 ] asserts that the Lacedaemonians, when owing to the generalship of Tyrtaeus they had subdued the Messenians, introduced a regular custom in their expeditions, that whenever they were at supper, and had sung the paean, they should also sing one of Tyrtaeus's hymns as a solo, one after another; and that the polemarch should be the judge, and should give a piece of meat as a prize to him who sang best. [631] But the Pyrrhic dance is not preserved now among any other people of Greece; and at the same time that it has fallen into disuse, their wars also have been brought to a conclusion; but it continues in use among the Lacedaemonians alone, being a sort of prelude preparatory to war: and all who are more than five years old in Sparta learn to dance the Pyrrhic dance. But the Pyrrhic dance as it exists in our time, appears to be a sort of Dionysiac dance, and a little more pacific than the old one; for the dancers carry thyrsi instead of spears, and they point and dart canes at one another, and carry torches. And in their dances, they portray Dionysus and the Indians, and the story of Pentheus: and they require for the Pyrrhic dance the most beautiful melodies, and what are called the "stirring" tunes.

  * * * * *

[37.] [635] But some people raise a question how, as the magadis did not exist in the time of Anacreon (for instruments with many strings were never seen till after his time), Anacreon can possibly mention it, as he does when he says-
  I hold my magadis and sing,
  Striking loud the twentieth string,
  O Leucaspis.

But Poseidonius [ Fr_107 ] asserts that Anacreon mentions three kinds of melodies, the Phrygian, the Dorian, and the Lydian; for that these were the only melodies with which he was acquainted. And as every one of these is executed on seven strings, he says that it was very nearly correct of Anacreon to speak of twenty strings, as he only omits one for the sake of speaking in round numbers. But Poseidonius is ignorant that the magadis is an ancient instrument, though Pindarus says plainly enough that Terpander invented the barbitos to correspond to, and answer the pectis in use among the Lydians-
  The sweet responsive lyre
  Which long ago the Lesbian bard,
  Terpander, did invent, sweet ornament
  To the luxurious Lydian feasts, when he
  Heard the high-toned pectis.

Now the pectis and the magadis are the same instrument, as Aristoxenus tells us, and Menaechmus the Sicyonian too, in his treatise On Artists. And this latter author says that Sappho, who is more ancient than Anacreon, was the first person to use the pectis. Now, that Terpander is more ancient than Anacreon, is evident from the following considerations:- Terpander was the first man who ever got the victory at the Carneian games, as Hellanicus tells us in his Victors at the Carneia, which he wrote in verse and in prose.

The first establishment of the Carneia took place in the twenty-sixth Olympiad [ 676-673 B.C. ], as Sosibius tells us in his essay On Dates. But Hieronymus, in his treatise On Harp-players, which is the subject of his fifth book On Poets, says that Terpander was a contemporary of Lycurgus the law-giver, who, it is agreed by all men, was, with Iphitus of Elis, the author of that establishment of the Olympic games from which the first Olympiad is reckoned [ 776 B.C. ]. But Euphorion, in his treatise On the Isthmian Games, says that the instruments with many strings are altered only in their names; but that the use of them is very ancient.

[38.] [636] However, Diogenes the tragic poet represents the pectis as differing from the magadis; for in his Semele he says-
  And now I hear the turban-wearing women,
  Votaries of the Asiatic Cybele,
  The wealthy Phrygians' daughters, loudly sounding
  With drums, and bull-roarers, and brazen-clashing
  Cymbals, their hands each striking in concert,
  Pour forth a wise and healing hymn to the gods.
  Likewise the Lydian and the Bactrian maids
  Who dwell beside the Halys, loudly worship
  The Tmolian goddess Artemis, who loves
  The laurel shade of the thick leafy grove,
  Striking the clear three-cornered pectis, and
  Raising responsive tunes upon the magadis,
  While flutes in Persian manner neatly joined
  Accompany the chorus.

And Phillis of Delos, in the second book of his treatise On Music, also asserts that the pectis is different from the magadis. And his words are these- "There are the phoenix, the pectis, the magadis, the sambuca, the iambyca, the triangles, the clepsiambus, the scindapsus, and the nine-string." For, he says that "the lyre to which they sang iambics, they called the iambyca, and the instrument to which they sang them in such a manner as to vary the metre a little, they called the clepsiambus, while the magadis was an instrument uttering a sound an octave apart, and equally in tune for every portion of the singers. And besides these there were instruments of other kinds also; for there was the barbitos, or barmus, and many others, some with strings, and some with sounding-boards."

[39.] There were also some instruments besides those which were blown into, and those which were used with different strings, which gave forth only sounds of a simple nature, such as the castanets (κρέμβαλα), which are mentioned by Dicaearchus, in his essay On the Manners and Customs of Greece, where he says, that formerly certain instruments were in very frequent use, in order to accompany women while dancing and singing; and when any one touched these instruments with their fingers they uttered a shrill sound. And he says that this is plainly shown in the hymn to Artemis, which begins thus-
  Artemis, now my mind will have me utter
  A pleasing song in honour of your deity,
  While this my comrade strikes with nimble hand
  The well-gilt brazen-sounding castanets.

And Hermippus, in his play called The Gods, gives the word for rattling the castanets, κρεμβαλιάζειν, saying-
  And beating down the limpets from the rocks,
  They make a noise like castanets (κρεμβαλιάζουσι).

But Didymus says, that some people, instead of the lyre, are in the habit of striking oyster-shells and cockle-shells against one another, and by these means contrive to play a tune in time to the dancers, as Aristophanes also intimates in his Frogs [ 1304 ].

[40.] But Artemon, in the first book of his treatise On the Dionysiac System, as he calls it, says that Timotheus the Milesian appears to many men to have used an instrument of more strings than were necessary, namely, the magadis, on which account he was chastised by the Lacedaemonians as having corrupted the ancient music. And when some one was going to cut away the superfluous strings from his lyre, he showed them a little statue of Apollo which they had, which held in its hand a lyre with an equal number of strings, and which was tuned in the same manner; and so he was acquitted. But Duris, in his treatise On Tragedy, says that the magadis was named after Magodis, who was a Thracian by birth. But Apollodorus, in his Reply to the Letter of Aristocles, says- "That which we now call psalterium is the same instrument which was formerly called magadis; but that which used to be called the clepsiambus, and the triangle, and the elymus, and the nine-string, have fallen into comparative disuse." [637] And Alcman says-
  And put away the magadis.

And Sophocles, in his Thamyras, says-
  And well-compacted lyres and magadides,
  And other highly-polished instruments,
  From which the Greeks do make the sweetest sounds.

But Telestes, in his dithyrambic poem, called Hymenaeus, says that the magadis was an instrument with five strings, using the following expressions-
  And each a different strain awakens,-
  One struck the loud horn-sounded magadis,
  And in the five-fold number of tight strings
  Moved his hand to and fro most rapidly.

I am acquainted, too, with another instrument which the Thracian kings use in their banquets, as Nicomedes tells us in his essay on Orpheus. Now Ephorus, and Scamon in his treatise On Inventions, say that this instrument called the phoenix derives its name from having been invented by the Phoenicians. But Semus of Delos, in the first book of his History of Delos, says that it is so called because its ribs are made of the palm-tree (φοῖνιξ) which grows in Delos. The same writer, Semus, says that the first person who used the sambuca was Sibylla . . . the before-mentioned Scamon, and that the instrument derives its name from having been invented by a man named Sambyx.

[41.] And concerning the instrument called the tripod (this also is a musical instrument) the before-mentioned Artemon writes as follows- "And that is how it is that there are many instruments, as to which it is even uncertain whether they ever existed; as, for instance, the tripod of Pythagoras of Zacynthus. For as it was in fashion but a very short time, and as, either because the fingering of it appeared exceedingly difficult, or for some other reason, it was very soon disused, it has escaped the notice of most writers altogether. But the instrument was in form very like the Delphian tripod, and it derived its name from it; but it was used like a triple harp. For its feet stood on some pedestal which admitted of being easily turned round, just as the legs of movable chairs are made; and along the three intermediate spaces between the feet, strings were stretched; an arm being placed above each, and tuning-pegs, to which the strings were attached, below. And on the top there was the usual ornament of a basin, and of some other ornaments which were attached to it; all which gave it a very elegant appearance, and it emitted a very powerful sound. And Pythagoras assigned the three harmonies - the Dorian, the Lydian, and Phrygian - to the three spaces. And he himself sitting on a chair made on the same principles and after the same pattern, putting out his left hand so as to take hold of the instrument, and using the plectrum in his other hand, moved the pedestal with his foot very easily, so as to use whichever side of the instrument he chose to begin with; and then again turning to the other side he went on playing, and then he changed to the third side. And so rapidly did the easy movement of the pedestal, when touched by the foot, bring the various sides under his hand, and so very rapid was his fingering and execution, that if a person had not seen what was being done, but had judged only by his ear, he would have fancied that he was listening to three harp-players all playing on different instruments. But this instrument, though it was so greatly admired, after his death rapidly fell into disuse."

[42.] Now the system of playing the harp without any vocal accompaniment, was, as Menaechmus informs us, first introduced by Aristonicus the Argive, who was a contemporary of Archilochus, and lived in Corcyra. But Philochorus, in the third book of his Atthis [ Fr_23 ], says- "Lysander the Sicyonian harp-player was the first person who ever changed the art of pure instrumental performance, dwelling on the long tones, and producing a very rich sound, and adding also to the harp the music of the flute; and this last addition was first introduced by Epigonus; [638] and taking away the jejuneness which existed in the music of those who played the harp alone without any vocal accompaniment, he first introduced various beautiful modifications on that instrument; and he played on the different kinds of harp called iambyca and magadis, and the so-called syrigmus. And he was the first person who ever attempted to change his instrument while playing. And afterwards, adding dignity to the business, he was the first person to institute a chorus [of players]. And Menaechmus says that Dion of Chios was the first person who ever played on the harp an ode such as is used at libations to the honour of Dionysus. Timomachus, in his History of Cyprus, says that Stesander the Samian added further improvements to his art, and was the first person who at Delphi sang to the accompaniment of his lyre the battles narrated by Homer, beginning with the Odyssey. But others say that the first person who ever played amatory songs on his harp was Ametor, the Eleuthernaean, who did so in his own city; and his descendants are called Ametoridae.

Aristoxenus says that just as some men have composed parodies on hexameter verses, for the sake of exciting a laugh; so, too, others have parodied the verses which were sung to the harp, in which pastime Oenopas led the way. And he was imitated by Polyeuctus the Achaean, and by Diocles of Cynaetha. There have also been poets who have composed indecent songs, concerning whom Phaenias of Eresus speaks in his writings Against the Sophists, where he writes thus:- "Telenicus the Byzantian, and also Argas, being both authors of indecent songs, were men who, as far as that kind of poetry could go, were accounted clever. But they never even attempted to rival the songs of Terpander or Phrynis." And Alexis mentions Argas, in his Bareback Rider, thus-
  (A)   Here is a poet who has gained the prize
  In choruses.
  (B)   What is his style of poetry ?
  (A)   A noble kind.
  (B)   How will he stand comparison
  With Argas?
  (A)   He's a whole day's journey better.

And Anaxandrides, in his Heracles, says-
  For he appears a really clever man.
  How gracefully he takes the instrument,
  Then plays at once . . .
  When I have eaten my fill, I then incline
  To send you off to sing a match with Argas,
  That you, my friend, may thus the sophists conquer.

  * * * * *

[53.] [645] There was also a kind [of cake] called diaconium. Pherecrates says-
  He was so greedy that he ate a whole
  Diaconium up, besides an amphiphon.

But the amphiphon was a kind of cheesecake consecrated to Artemis, having figures of lighted torches round it. Philemon, in his Beggar, or Woman of Rhodes, says-
  Artemis, mistress dear, I bring you now
  This amphiphon, and these libations holy.

Diphilus also mentions it in his Hecate. Philochorus [ Fr_86 ] also mentions the fact of its being called amphiphon, and of its being brought into the temples of Artemis, and also to the crossroads, on the day when the moon is overtaken at its setting by the rising of the sun; and so the sky is doubly light (ἀμφίφως).

There is the basynias too. Semus, in the second book of his History of Delos, says- "In the island of Hecate, the Delians sacrifice to Iris, offering her the cheesecakes called basyniae; and this is a cake of wheat-flour, and suet, and honey, boiled up together: and what is called κόκκωρα consists of a fig and three nuts."

There are also cheesecakes called strepti and neēlata. Both these kinds are mentioned by Demosthenes the orator, in his Speech in defence of Ctesiphon concerning the Crown [ 260 ].

There are also epichyta. Nicochares, in his Handicrafts-men, says-
  I've loaves, and barley-bread, and bran, and flour,
  And rolls, a toasted bun, and honeyed cheesecakes,
  Moulded cakes (ἐπιχύτοι), barley-gruel, and common cheesecakes,
  Barley-cakes (δενδαλίδες), and fried bread.

But Pamphilus says that the epichyton is the same kind of cheesecake as that which is called attanites. And Hipponax mentions the attanites in the following lines-
  Not eating hares or woodcocks,
  Nor mingling small fried loaves with cakes of sesame,
  Nor dipping fried cakes (ἀττανίται) in honeycombs.

There is also the creium. This is a kind of cheesecake which, at Argos, is brought to the bridegroom from the bride; and it is roasted on the coals, and the friends of the bridegroom are invited to eat it; and it is served up with honey, as Philetas tells us in his Miscellanies.

There is also the glycinas: this is a cheesecake in fashion among the Cretans, made with sweet wine and oil, as Seleucus tells us in his Dialects.

There is also the empeptas. The same author speaks of this as a cheesecake made of wheat, hollow and well-shaped, like those which are called crepides; being rather a kind of casing into which they put those cheesecakes which are really made with cheese.

  * * * * *

[61.] [649] The Syrian being refuted by these arguments, and being a good deal annoyed, said- But I see here on the table some pistachio nuts (ψιττάκια); and if you can tell me what author has ever spoken of them, I will give you, not ten golden staters, as that Pontic trifler [Heracleides] has it, but this goblet. And as Democritus made no reply, he said, But since you cannot answer me, I will tell you; Nicander of Colophon, in his Theriaca [ 891] , mentions them, and says-
  Pistachio nuts (ψιττάκια) upon the highest branches,
  Like almonds to the sight.

The word is also written βίστακια, in the line-
  And almond-like pistachios (βίστακια) were there.

And Poseidonius the Stoic, in the third book of his History [ Fr_3 ], writes thus: "But both Arabia and Syria produce the peach, and the nut which is called pistachio (βιστάκιον); which bears a fruit in bunches like bunches of grapes, of a sort of tawny white, long shaped, like tears, and the nuts lie on one another like berries. But the kernel is of a light green, and it is less juicy than the pine-cone, but it has a more pleasant smell." And the brothers [Quintilii] who together composed the Georgics, write thus, in the third book- "There is also the ash, and the turpentine tree, which the Syrians call πιστάκια." And these people spell the word πιστάκια with a π, but Nicander writes it with an aspirate, φιττάκια, and Poseidonius βιστάκια.

  * * * * *

[67.] [652] Now with respect to dried figs: those which came from Attica were always considered a great deal the best. Accordingly Dinon, in his History of Persia, says- "And they used to serve up at the royal table all the fruits which the earth produces as far as the king's dominions extend, being brought to him from every district as a sort of first-fruits. And (?) Xerxes did not think it fitting for the kings either to eat or drink anything which came from any foreign country; and this idea gradually acquired the force of a law. For once, when one of the eunuchs brought the king, among the rest of the dishes at dessert, some Athenian dried figs, the king asked where they came from. And when he heard that they came from Athens, he forbade those who had bought them to buy them for him any more, until it should be in his power to take them whenever he chose, and not to buy them. And it is said that the eunuch did this on purpose, with a view to remind him of the expedition against Attica." And Alexis, in his Pilot, says-
  Then came in figs, the emblem of fair Athens,
  And bunches of sweet thyme.

And Lynceus, in his letter to the comic poet, Poseidippus, says- "In the delineation of the tragic passions, I do not think that Euripides is at all superior to Sophocles, but in dried figs, I do think that Attica is superior to every other country on earth." And in his letter to Diagoras, he writes thus:- "But this country opposes to the chelidonian dried figs those which are called brigindarides, which in their name indeed are barbarous, but which in delicious flavour are not at all less Attic than the others. And Phoenicides, in his Hated Woman, says-
  (A)   They celebrate the praise of myrtle-berries,
  Of honey, of the Propylaea, and of figs;
  Now these I tasted when I first arrived-
  (B)   And the Propylaea?
  (A)   Yet have I found nothing
  Which to a woodcock can for taste compare.

In which lines we must take notice of the mention of the woodcock. But Philemon, in his treatise On Attic Names, says that "the most excellent dried figs are those called aegalides; and that Aegila is the name of a deme in Attica, which derives its name from a hero called Aegilus; but that the dried figs of a reddish black colour are called chelidonian." Theopompus also, in the Peace, praising the Teithrasian figs, speaks thus-
  Barley cakes, cheesecakes, and Teithrasian figs.

But dried figs were so very much sought after by all men, (for really, as Aristophanes says- "There's really nothing nicer than dried figs;") that even Amitrochates, the king of the Indians, wrote to Antiochus, entreating him (it is Hegesander who tells this story) to buy and send him some sweet wine, [653] and some dried figs, and a sophist; and that Antiochus wrote to him in answer, "The dried figs and the sweet wine we will send you; but it is not lawful for a sophist to be sold in Greece." The Greeks were also in the habit of eating dried figs roasted, as Pherecrates proves by what he says in the Coriannō, where we find-
  But pick me out some of those roasted figs.

And a few lines later he says-
  Will you not bring me here some black dried figs ?
  Do you understand ? Among the Mariandyni,
  That barbarous tribe, they call these black dried figs
  Their pots.

I am aware, too, that Pamphilus has mentioned a kind of dried figs, which he calls procnides.

[68.] That the word βότρυς is common for a bunch of grapes is known to every one; and Crates, in the second book of his Attic Dialect, uses the word σταφυλή, although it appears to be a word of Asiatic origin; saying that in some of the ancient hymns the word σταφυλή is used for βότρυς, as in the following line-
  Thick hanging with the dusky grapes (σταφυλῇσι ) themselves.

And that the word σταφυλή is used by Homer is known to every one. But Plato, in the eighth book of his Laws [ 844'd ], uses both βότρυς and σταφυλή, where he says- "Whoever tastes wild fruit, whether it be grapes (βοτρύων) or figs, before the time of the vintage arrives, which falls at the time of the rising of Arcturus, whether it be on his own farm, or on any one else's land, shall be fined fifty sacred drachmas to be paid to Dionysus, if he plucked them off his own land; but a mina if he gather them on a neighbour's estate; but if he take them from any other place, two-thirds of a mina. But whoever chooses to gather the grapes (τὴν σταφυλὴν), which are now called the noble grapes, or the figs called the noble figs, if he gather them from his own trees, let him gather them as he pleases, and when he pleases; but if he gathers them from the trees of any one else without having obtained the leave of the owner, then, in accordance with the law which forbids any one to move what he has not placed, he shall be invariably punished." These are the words of the divine Plato; but I ask now what is this noble grape (γενναῖα), and this noble fig that he speaks of? And you may all consider this point while I am discussing the other dishes which are on the table. And Masurius said-
  But let us not postpone this till to-morrow,
  Still less till the day after.

When the philosopher says γενναῖα, he means εὐγενῆ, generous, as Archilochus also uses the word-
  Come hither, you are generous (γενναῖος);
or, perhaps, he means ἐπιγεγενημένα; that is to say, grafted. For Aristotle speaks of grafted pears, and calls them ἐπεμβολάδες. And Demosthenes, in his speech in defence of Ctesiphon [ 262 ], has the sentence, "gathering figs, and grapes (βότρυς), and olives." And Xenophon, in his Oeconomicus [ 19'19 ], says, "grapes (τὰς σταφυλὰς) are ripened by the sun." And our ancestors also have been acquainted with the practice of steeping grapes in wine, Accordingly Eubulus, in his Glued Together, says-
  But take these grapes (βότρυς), and in neat wine pound them,
  And pour upon them many cups of water.
  Then make him eat them when well steeped in wine.

And the poet, who is the author of the Chiron, which is generally attributed to Pherecrates, says-
  Almonds and apples, and the arbutus first,
  And myrtle-berries, pastry, too, and grapes
  Well steeped in wine; and marrow.

And that every sort of autumn fruit was always plentiful at Athens, Aristophanes testifies in his Seasons. Why, then, should that appear strange which Aethlius the Samian asserts in the fifth book of his Samian Chronicles, where he says, "The fig, and the grape, and the medlar, and the apple, and the rose grow twice a-year"? [654] And Lynceus, in his letter to Diagoras, praising the Nicostrateian grape, which grows in Attica, and comparing it to the Rhodian grapes, says, "As rivals of the Nicostrateian grapes they grow the Hipponeian grape; which after the month Hecatombaeon (like a good servant) has constantly the same good disposition towards its masters."

[69.] But as you have had frequent discussions about meats, and birds, and pigeons, I also will tell you all that I, after a great deal of reading, have been able to find out in addition to what has been previously stated. Now the word περιστέριον (pigeon) may be found used by Menander in his Concubine, where he says-
  He waits a little while, and then runs up
  And says- "I've bought some pigeons (περιστέρια) for you."

And so Nicostratus, in his Delicate Woman, says-
  These are the things I want,- a little bird,
  And then a pigeon (περιστέριον) and a paunch.

And Anaxandrides, in his Rival in Love, has the line-
  For bringing in some pigeons (περιστέρια) and some sparrows.

And Phrynichus, in his Tragedians, says-
  Bring him a pigeon (περιστέριον) for three obols.

Now with respect to the pheasant, Ptolemaeus the king, in the twelfth book of his Commentaries, speaking of the palace which there is at Alexandria, and of the animals which are kept in it, says, "They have also pheasants, which they call τετάροι, which they not only used to send for from Media, but they also used to put the eggs under broody hens, by which means they raised a number, so as to have enough for food; for they call it very excellent eating." Now this is the expression of a most magnificent monarch, who confesses that he himself has never tasted a pheasant, but who used to keep these birds as a sort of treasure. But if he had ever seen such a sight as this, when, in addition to all those which have been already eaten, a pheasant is also placed before each individual, he would have added another book to the existing twenty-four of that celebrated history, which he calls his Commentaries. And Aristotle or Theophrastus, in his Commentaries, says, "In pheasants, the male is not only as much superior to the female as is usually the case, but he is so in an infinitely greater degree."

[70.]  # But if the before-mentioned king [Ptolemaeus] had seen the number of peacocks also which exists at Rome, he would have fled to the sacred senate, as though he had a second time been driven out of his kingdom by his brother. For the multitude of these birds is so great at Rome, that Antiphanes the comic poet, in his Soldier or Tychon, may seem to have been inspired by the spirit of prophecy, when he said-
  When the first man imported to this city
  A pair of peacocks, they were thought a rarity,
  But now they are more numerous than quails;
  So also, if you search and find one good man,
  He will be sure to have five worthless sons.

And Alexis, in his Lamp, says-
  That he should have devoured so vast a sum!
  Why if (by earth I swear) I fed on hares' milk
  And peacocks, I could never spend so much.

And that they used to keep them tame in their houses, we learn from Strattis, in his Pausanias, where he says-
  Of equal value with your many trifles,
  And peacocks, which you breed up for their feathers.

And Anaxandrides, in his Melilotus, says-
  [655] Is it not a mad idea to breed up peacocks,
  When for the same cost one can buy two statues?

And Anaxilaus, in his Bird Feeders, says-
  Besides all this, tame peacocks, loudly croaking.

Menodotus the Samian also, in his treatise On the Treasures in the Temple of the Samian Hera, says: "The peacocks are sacred to Hera; and perhaps Samos may be the place where they were first produced and reared, and from thence it was that they were scattered abroad over foreign countries, in the same way as cocks were originally produced in Persia, and the birds called guinea-fowl (μελεαγρίδες) in Aetolia." On which account Antiphanes, in his Brothers by the same Father, says-
  They say that in the city of Heliopolis
  The phoenix is produced; the owl in Athens;
  Cyprus breeds doves of admirable beauty:
  But Hera, queen of Samos, does, they say,
  Rear there a golden race of wondrous birds,
  The brilliant, beautiful, conspicuous peacock.

On which account the peacock occurs on the coins of the Samians.

[71.] But since Menodotus has mentioned the guinea-fowl, we ourselves also will say something on that subject. Clytus the Milesian, a pupil of Aristotle, in the first book of his History of Miletus, writes thus concerning them- "All around the temple of the Virgin Goddess at Leros, there are birds called guinea-fowls (μελεαγρίδες). And the ground where they are bred is marshy. And this bird is very devoid of affection towards its young, and wholly disregards its offspring, so that the priests are forced to take care of them. And it is about the size of a very fine fowl of the common poultry, its head is small in proportion to its body, having but few feathers, but on the top it has a fleshy crest, hard and round, sticking up above the head like a peg, and of a woody colour. And over the jaws, instead of a beard, they have a long piece of flesh, beginning at the mouth, redder than that of the common poultry; but of that which exists in the common poultry on the top of the beak, which some people call the beard, they are wholly destitute; so that their beak is mutilated in this respect. But its beak is sharper and larger than that of the common fowl; its neck is black, thicker and shorter than that of common poultry. And its whole body is spotted all over, the general colour being black, studded in every part with thick white spots something larger than lentil seeds. And these spots are ring-shaped, in the middle of patches of a darker hue than the rest of the plumage: so that these patches present a variegated kind of appearance, the black part having a sort of white tinge, and the white seeming a good deal darkened. And their wings are all over variegated with white, in serrated, wavy lines, parallel to each other. And their legs are destitute of spurs like those of the common hen. And the females are very like the males, on which account the sex of the guinea-fowls is hard to distinguish." Now this is the account given of guinea-fowls by the Peripatetic philosopher.

[72.] Roasted sucking-pigs are a dish mentioned by Epicrates in his Merchant-
  On this condition I will be the cook;
  Nor shall all Sicily boast that even she
  Produced so great an artist as to fish,
  Nor Elis either, where I've seen the flesh
  Of dainty sucking-pigs well brown'd before
  A rapid fire.

And Alexis, in his Wicked Woman, says-
  A delicate slice of tender sucking-pig,
  Bought for three obols, hot, and very juicy,
  [656] When it is set before us.

"But the Athenians," as Philochorus tells us [ Fr_173 ], " when they sacrifice to the Seasons, do not roast, but boil their meat, entreating the goddesses to defend them from all excessive droughts and heats, and to give increase to their crops by means of moderate warmth and seasonable rains. For they argue that roasting is a kind of cookery which does less good to the meat, while boiling not only removes all its rawness, but has the power also of softening the hard parts, and of making all the rest digestible. And it makes the food more tender and wholesome, on which account they say also, that when meat has been once boiled, it ought not to be warmed up again by either roasting or boiling it; for any second process removes the goodness of it, as Aristotle tells us. And roast meat is more raw and dry than boiled meat." But roast meats are called φλογίδες. Accordingly Strattis in his Callippides says, with reference to Heracles-
  Immediately he caught up some large slices (φλογίδας)
  Of smoking roasted boar, and swallowed them.

And Archippus, in his Heracles Marrying, says-
  The trotters of little pigs, well cooked
  In various fashion; slices, too, of bulls
  With sharpened horns, and great long steaks of boar,
  All roasted (φλογίδες).

  * * * * *

>> Athenaeus: list of contents

Attalus' home page   |   29.06.07   |   Any comments?

StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter