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In The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet, Wecowski offers a comprehensive account of the origins of the symposion and its close relationship with the rise of the Greek city-state, or polis. Broadly defined as a culture-oriented aristocratic banquet, the symposion--which literally means "drinking together"--was a nocturnal wine party held by Greek aristocrats from Homer to Alexander the Great. Its distinctive feature was the crucial importance of diverse cultural competitions, including improvising convivial poetry, among the guests. Cultural skills and abilities were a prerequisite in order for one to be included in elite drinking circles, and, as such, the symposion served as a forum for the natural selection of Greek aristocracy.
Marek Wecowski is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ancient History, University of Warsaw. His research interests include archaic Greek poetry, early Greek historiography, and archaic and classical Greek history.
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgements List of Illustrations List of Maps Abbrieviations Introduction Part One: Defining the Symposion 1. Early Greek Aristocracy and the Symposion 2. Towards a definition of the symposion Part Two: The Symposion and History 3. The Cup of Nestor, the Near East, and the Early Archaic Symposion 4. Homer, the 'Heroic Feast', and the Symposion 5. The Symposion and Archaeology till the Early 7th Century BC Conclusion Bibliography Index