A Symposium

He said that he met Socrates fresh from the bath and wearing his best pair of slippers – quite rare events with him – and asked him where he was heading with such a fine appearance.

“To dinner at Agathon’s,” he answered. “Now tell me, do you feel in the mood for going unasked to dinner?”

My friend’s answer, as he told me, was:

“I am afraid that mine is a case which fits Homer’s – a dolt coming unbidden to the banquet of a scholar. Be sure to have your excuse ready; for I shall not confess to coming unasked, but only at your invitation.” (Plato, Symposium – abridged)

Soon Philippos will be holding a symposium…

Philippos by Maria Telnikoff (Year 10)

Philippos by Maria Telnikoff (Year 10)

 

Greek pets

Not surprisingly dogs were favourite pets and sometimes formed a close bond with their owner, like Odysseus’ dog Argos and the Thessalian hound Lykas commemorated in this epitaph by Simonides:

Your bones, Ο huntress Lycas, here we hide, 

White bones the wolf yet fears may hunt him down; 

Your fame still rings from Pelion’s massy side 

And lone Cithaeron’s peaks and Ossa’s crown. 

As well as dogs, there is evidence that various birds, tortoises and grasshoppers (amongst other animals) were kept as pets.

Food and cooking

Amphorae

Amphorae

In a world without refrigeration, food had to be stored in cool, rodent-proof conditions. The large clay storage jars called amphorae were ideal for this purpose. Foodstuffs in store would have included barley and wheat, fruit, nuts, cheese, olive oil, wine, onions and garlic, herbs and spices, honey, salt and vinegar. Smoked fish and salted meat would also be stored.

Cooking utensils were hand-made from clay or bronze, and nearly as varied as those in use today with the exception of forks which were not used by the Greeks. They could be hung from the wall or in the case of larger items stored on racks or on the floor. A small portable hearth (eschara) could be used in the courtyard like a barbecue or moved inside in poor weather. The hearth could be used to boil food in pots or for roasting and baking if combined with a portable clay oven.