Courtesans and Fishcakes has ratings and 51 reviews. Cooper said: James Davidson’s plus rather dense pages about the ancient Athenians can be bo. A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians’ consuming passions for food, wine and sex. As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was.

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I studied classic Latin and Greek language and history for 6 years, and whereas I could more or less understand the Romans, who were -as ancient people go- a pretty straightforward lot, I was always baffled by the Greeks. As a student of ancient butchery puts it: The ancient passion for fish, then, can be explained largely in terms of what it was not, in terms of its positioning within a series of intersecting contrasts that set it against other types of food.

Euthydemus, a writer on diet of the Hellenistic period, even wrote a treatise on the subject although the encomium of salt-fish, which he ascribed to Hesiod and quoted in support of his cause, was strongly suspected of being a forgery. It had shifted from the country to the city, from something scavenged to something bought.

Not a read for someone just beginning to explore the ancient Greek civilization, this is a book for someone well versed in the culture because the author writes to that audience. It worked for them though.

You bow down before the cow, I sacrifice her to the gods. Get fast, free shipping with Ahd Prime. It was widely fidhcakes that the Egyptians offered the eel worship, handing more than one comic author the opportunity for resonant cultural comparisons: It seems probable that, as in many Middle Eastern cultures, all beef, pork and mutton available was the product of this ritualized process. Intense devotion to such women betrayed a want of self-control.


Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. Read, highlight, and take notes, courtexans web, tablet, and phone. And may you hurry to get the calamary down in time for going to the Assembly. I’m not convinced about a few of his conclusions.

Fish were also absent from another important scene, noted by a character in a comedy of Eubulus: The eel you consider the greatest divinity, and we the very greatest dish. A fine scholarly work that takes its subject–sex and food–quite seriously, while digging down at it in a lively manner.

Much more of an academic book than a popular reader, Davidson draws upon vast amounts of historical citations and Classic literature to courtesaans his views as he seeks You have heard of Guns, Germs, and Steel. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before—and in concert with—politics and principles.

I was most interested in Davidson’s discussion of the Athenian obsession with eating fish, the synecdoche for luxurious living in Attic culture.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Davidson Limited preview – Write a customer review. Davidson, ad careful reading of plays, speeches and pottery art, reconstructs the the appetites of classical Athens. Outside the USA, see our international sales information. It is this absence of heroic gravity that produces the bathetic humour and mock epic irony of the classical period.

Courtesans and fishcakes James N.

When it came to fish, it went to the extent of having marine metaphors as a tradition to describe the atmosphere created by men in the Symposium. This meant on the one hand that the two poems could indeed have a single author and, on the other hand, that there must be some reason other than ignorance for the exclusion of fishing from the Iliadnamely that the poet wanted to avoid to mikroprepeswhat was demeaning — the same reason he remained silent about vegetables.


It’s almost never dry, and there’s a lot of great stuff in here. John gets pressed into duty to explain the semantic drift of the term opsum, which is — well — you have your wine, you have your bread, and then you have everything else, which is opsum, which is why greedy eaters are called opsophagos — they ought to eat more bread — except that by the time of the Gospel, opsum means seafood.

COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES by James Davidson | Kirkus Reviews

The book is about pleasure, but ccourtesans not a light read. In his Acharnians a similar malediction is invoked against a rival playwright; this time the longed-for squid is pictured sailing slowly and tantalizingly towards the accursed and putting ashore fishcakee the table beside him only to be snatched away at the last minute by a dog. Hence, the perpetual Athenian fear of honey-tongued demagogues, who could manipulate the citizens into doing things against their own interests.

He writes about the politics and economics of desire — especially for food, drink, and sex.

A particular feature of this concern is the caricaturing of greedy fishmongers, often foreigners, and their attempts to trick the citizen-consumer.

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