The Greeks developed a very elaborate system, called the symposium, of preparing and serving wine, enjoyed by small groups of men. This system required specialized pottery shapes, and these shapes frequently bear representations of the symposium or other cultural imagery. As the drinkers were warmed by the wine, they formed bonds that carried over into their daily lives, including creating political allies. This talk will explore the social role of the symposium and the underwhelming role of food in Archaic and Classical Athens (600–400 BCE).
Dr. Kathleen Lynch is a classical archaeologist who teaches at the University of Cincinnati and who has worked on sites in Italy, Greece, Albania, and Turkey. In particular, she is a ceramic specialist interested in Athenian figured wares from archaeological contexts. Her first book, The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House near the Athenian Agora, was the winner of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Wiseman Award in 2013.
To enjoy our symposium in style, have some Greek wine (ideally resinated) and consider diluting it as the symposiarch prescribes. Some walnuts, olives, seasonal or dried fruits, such as figs, and radishes would be simple, but appropriate, snacks. For those feeling more ambitious, perhaps try our adapted recipes for Athenaeus’s honey and flaxseed confection, a cheese “pizza,” inspired by Aristophanes’s play, The Acharnians, or an ancient Greek version of deviled eggs, to munch as the evening progresses.