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Symphosius, the preferred anglophone spelling of the form “Symposius” transmitted by the manuscripts, is generally taken as the name of the author of a collection of a hundred verse riddles which survives in the Anthologia Latina. Each riddle comprises three hexameters and is preceded by a lemma, which gives the “answer.” The collection is introduced by a longer, prefatory poem which asserts that the riddles were composed ex tempore at a drink-fuelled dinner to celebrate the Saturnalia and apologises for their professed low quality. As is again suggested by the manuscript tradition, this collection was probably called the Aenigmata; and if, as seems quite possible, the author was influenced by the Griphus Ternarii Numeri of Ausonius, it is understandable that he might want to assert some independence by using in his own title a synonym for griphus.The author may really have been called Symphosius (the name is attested in CIL VIII 27333, an inscription from Thugga (mod.

Article

S. Douglas Olson

The Deipnosophistai (“Learned Banqueters”) of Athenaeus of Naucratis (fl. c. 200 ce)—nominally an account of a great dinner party or series of dinner parties in Rome—preserves an enormous number of fragments of otherwise lost Greek literature. On a superficial level, the text is concerned with luxury, and it accordingly offers rich anecdotal treatments of banqueting customs, fish, cakes, cups, sexuality, and the like, along with a wealth of detailed philological observations. Its larger interest is in recalling the extraordinary wealth of the Greek literary and cultural tradition, and in using that tradition to discuss contemporary intellectual, literary, and social issues. The text is preserved in a single manuscript whose gaps can be partially filled from an ancient epitome.Athenaeus was the author of the Deipnosophistai (“Dinner-sophists,” i.e. “Learned Banqueters”), a massive compendium of ancient Greek literature in the guise of a report of events at a great dinner party or series of dinner parties. His .

Article

Hallie Franks

“Greek” mosaics refers to mosaics that date from the 5th to 2nd centuries bce and appear in contexts associated with the Greek-speaking world in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. These mosaics, popular primarily in domestic contexts, were exclusively floor decoration. From the 5th to 3rd centuries, mosaics were most often made of naturally shaped and coloured pebbles set into plaster; their designs and iconography vary. Experimentation with mosaic materials in the 3rd century included the development of tesserae, which are pieces of glass, stone, or ceramic cut into regular squares that can be set flush with one another. By the 2nd century, tessellated mosaic techniques that take advantage of the precision of tesserae were widespread throughout the eastern Mediterranean.For the purposes of this entry, “Greek” mosaics refers to mosaics that date from the 5th to 2nd centuries bce (i.e., prior to Roman hegemony in the Mediterranean) and appear in contexts associated with the Greek-speaking world in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. Like their Roman counterparts, Greek mosaics are exclusively floor decoration. Until the development of tesserae in the .