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The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet$
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Marek Wecowski

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684014

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684014.001.0001

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Early Greek Aristocracy and the Symposion

Early Greek Aristocracy and the Symposion

(p.18) (p.19) 1 Early Greek Aristocracy and the Symposion
The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet

Marek Wecowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a detailed reconstruction of the ceremonial of the archaic and classical symposion and of its varied types of entertainment, including drinking games, contests of agility and the predominant intellectual pastimes which mark off the symposion as a very peculiar convivial occasion. Still, a necessary prerequisite for any historical study of the symposion, and thus a real challenge in treating the matters treated in this chapter, is to define the social group whose members enjoyed the symposia in the archaic period. Despite some recent attempts to prove otherwise, and in keeping with the traditional view advocated in a number of ground-breaking studies by Oswyn Murray, it is argued that before the 5th century b.c. the symposion was fundamentally an aristocratic phenomenon. However, a clear definition of this social group is still lacking. This chapter is an attempt at bridging this gap in recent scholarship.

Keywords:   symposion, Greek aristocracy, drinking games, sympotic ceremonial, archaic Greece, classical Greece, Oswyn Murray

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