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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume I: Books I-VII

Book V,   pp. 287-352


Page 289

the moment that it was placed on the table, turned the fish 
round himself, and took the remaining portion, saying- 
Then Ino came and finish'd what was left. 
And Socrates seeing a man once devouring dainties eagerly, 
said-O you bystanders, which of you eats bread as if it were 
sweetmeats, and sweetmeats as if they were bread ? 
3. But now let us speak of the banquets celebrated by 
Homer. For the poet gives us the different times of them, 
and the persons present, and the causes of them.    And 
Xenophon and Plato have done well to imitate him in this; 
who at the very beginning of their treatises set forth the 
cause which gave rise to the banquet, and mention the names 
of those who were present. But Epicurus never defines either 
the place or the time, nor does he preface his accounts with 
any preliminary statement.  But Aristotle says that it is an 
unseemly thing for a man to come unwashed and covered 
with dust to a banquet. Then Homer instructs us who 
ought to be invited.; saying that one ought to invite the 
chiefs, and men of high reputation- 
He bade the noblest of the Grecian peers,' 
not acting on the principle asserted by Hesiod, for he bids 
men invite chiefly their neighbours 
Then bid your neighbours to the well-spread feast, 
Who live the nearest, and who know you best.2 
For such a banquet would be one of rustic stupidity; and 
adapted to the most misanthropic of proverbs- 
Friends who far off do live are never friends. 
For how can it be anything but nonsense that friendship 
should depend on place and not on disposition 3 Therefore 
we find in Homer, That after the cup had gone round, 
Then the old man his counsels first disclosed ;3 
but among people who did not regulate their banquets in an 
orderly manner we read- 
Then first the flatterer rose with mocking specch. 
Besides, Homer introduces guests differing in ages and tastes, 
such as Nestor, Ulysses, and Ajax, who are all invited tooe- 
ther. And speaking in general terms he represents all who 
lay claim to any sort of eminence as invited, and individually 
those who arrive at it by different roads. But Epicurus has 
represented all his guests as believers in the atonic theory, 
1 Iliad, ii. 404.  2 Op. et Di. 341.  3 Iliad, viii. 324. 
VOL. I.-ATH.             U 
-289 
BANQUETS, 


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