Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists

BOOK 14, Pages 649-664

Translated by C.D.Yonge (1854). A few words and spellings have been changed.

See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The page numbers in the Greek text are shown in red. The chapter numbers in the translation are shown in green.

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[61.] G   [649] The Syrian being refuted by these arguments, and being a good deal annoyed, said- But I see here on the table some pistachio nuts (ψιττάκια); and if you can tell me what author has ever spoken of them, I will give you, not ten golden staters, as that Pontic trifler [Heracleides] has it, but this goblet. And as Democritus made no reply, he said, But since you cannot answer me, I will tell you; Nicander of Colophon, in his Theriaca [ 891] , mentions them, and says-
  Pistachio nuts (ψιττάκια) upon the highest branches,
  Like almonds to the sight.

The word is also written βίστακια, in the line-
  And almond-like pistachios (βίστακια) were there.

And Poseidonius the Stoic, in the third book of his History [ Fr_3 ], writes thus: "But both Arabia and Syria produce the peach, and the nut which is called pistachio (βιστάκιον); which bears a fruit in bunches like bunches of grapes, of a sort of tawny white, long shaped, like tears, and the nuts lie on one another like berries. But the kernel is of a light green, and it is less juicy than the pine-cone, but it has a more pleasant smell." And the brothers [Quintilii] who together composed the Georgics, write thus, in the third book- "There is also the ash, and the turpentine tree, which the Syrians call πιστάκια." And these people spell the word πιστάκια with a π, but Nicander writes it with an aspirate, φιττάκια, and Poseidonius βιστάκια.

[62.] G   And when he had said this, looking round on all those who were present, and being praised by them, he said, -   But I mean also to discuss every other dish that there is on the table, in order to make you admire my varied learning. And first of all I will speak of those which the Alexandrians call konnaros and paliouros. And they are mentioned also by Agathocles of Cyzicus, in the third book of his History of his Country ; where he says : "But after the thunderbolt had struck the tomb, there sprung up from the monument a tree which they call konnaros. And this tree is not at all inferior in size to the elm or the fir. And it has great numbers of branches, of great length and rather thorny; but its leaf is tender and green, and of a round shape. And it bears fruit twice a year, in spring and autumn. [650] And the fruit is very sweet, and of the size of a 'coarse' olive, which it resembles both in its flesh and in its stone ; but it is superior in the good flavour of its juice. And the fruit is eaten while still green ; and when it has become dry they make it into paste, and eat it without either bruising it or softening it with water, but taking it in very nearly its natural state. And Euripides, in the Cyclops, speaks of :-
  A branch of paliouros.

But Theopompus, in the twenty-first book of his History of Philip, mentions them, and Diphilus, the physician of Siphnos, also speaks of them, in his treatise on What may be eaten by People in Health, and by Invalids. But I have mentioned these things first, my good friends, not because they are before us at this moment, but because in the beautiful city of Alexandria, I have often eaten them as part of the second course, and as I have often heard the question as to their names raised there, I happened to fall in with a book here in which I read what I have now recounted to you.

[63.] G   And I will now take the pears ( ἄπιοι ), which I see before me, and speak of them, since it is from them that the Peloponnesus was called 'Apia', because plants of the pear-tree were abundant in the country, as Ister tells us, in his treatise on the History of Greece. And that it was customary to bring up pears in water at entertainments, we learn from the Breutias of Alexis, where we read these lines :-
  (A) Have you never seen pears floating in deep water
  Served up before some hungry men at dinner ?
  (B) Indeed I have, and often ; what of that?
  (A) Does not each guest choose for himself, and eat
  The ripest of the fruit that swims before him ?
  (B) No doubt he does.

But the fruit called hamamēlides are not the same as pears, as some people have fancied, but they are a different thing: sweeter, and they have no kernel. Aristomenes, in his Dionysus, says :-
  Know you not how the Chian garden grows
  Fine medlars ?

And Aeschylides too, in the third book of his Georgics, shows us that it is a different fruit from the pear, and sweeter. For he is speaking of the island Ceos, and he expresses himself thus, - " The island produces the very finest pears, equal to that fruit which in Ionia is called hamamēlis; for they are free from kernels, and sweet, and delicious."   But Aëthlius, in the fifth book of his Samian Annals, if the book be genuine, calls them homomēlides. And Pamphilus, in his treatise on Dialects and Names, says - "The epimēlis is a species of pear."   Antiphon, in his treatise on Agriculture, says that the phōkides are also a kind of pear.

[64.] G   Then there are pomegranates. And of pomegranates some kinds are said to be destitute of kernels, and some to have hard ones. And those without kernels are mentioned by Aristophanes in his Farmers ; and in his Anagyrus he says :-
  Except wheat flour and pomegranates.

He also speaks of them in the Gerytades; and Hermippus in his Cercopes, says :-
  Have you ever seen the pomegranate's kernel in snow ?

And we find the diminutive form ῥοίδιον, like βοίδιον. Antiphanes also mentions the pomegranates with the hard kernels in his Boeotia :-
  I bade him bring me from the farm pomegranates
  Of the hard-kernelled sort.

And Epilycus, in his Phoraliscus, says :-
  You are speaking of apples and pomegranates.

Alexis also, in his Suitors, has the line :-
  He took the rich pomegranates from their hands.

But Agatharchides, in the nineteenth book of his History of Europe, tells us that the Boeotians call pomegranates not ῥοιαὶ but σίδαι, speaking thus :- " As the Athenians were disputing with the Boeotians about a district which they called Sidae, Epaminondas, while engaged in upholding the claims of the Boeotians, suddenly lifted up in his left hand a pomegranate which he had concealed, and showed it to the Athenians, asking them what they called it, and when they said ῥοιὰ, 'But we,' said he, 'call it σίδη.' [651] And the district bears the pomegranate-tree in great abundance, from which it originally derived its name. And Epaminondas prevailed."

And Menander, in his Self-Tormentor, called them ῥοίδια, in the following lines :-
  And after dinner I did set before them
  Almonds, and after that we ate pomegranates.

There is, however, another plant called sida, which is something like the pomegranate, and which grows in the lake Orchomenus, in the water itself; and the sheep eat its leaves, and the pigs feed on the young shoots, as Theophrastus tells us, in the fourth book of his treatise on Plants ; where he says that there is another plant like it in the Nile, which grows without any roots.

[65.] G   The next thing to be mentioned are dates. Xenophon, in the second book of his Anabasis, says :- "And there was in the district a great deal of corn, and wine made of the dates, and also vinegar, which was extracted from them; but the berries themselves of the date when like what we see in Greece, were set apart for the slaves. But those which were destined for the masters were all carefully selected, being of a wonderful size and beauty, and their colour was like amber. And some they dry and serve up as sweetmeats ; and the wine made from the date is sweet, but it produces headache." And Herodotus, in his first book, speaking of Babylon, says :- "There are palm-trees there growing over the whole plain, most of them being very fruitful ; and they make bread, and wine, and honey of them. And they manage the tree in the same way as the fig-tree. For those palm-trees which they call the males they take, and bind their fruit to the other palm-trees which bear dates, in order that the insect which lives in the fruit of the male palm may get into the date and ripen it, and so prevent the fruit of the date-bearing palm from being spoilt. For the male palm has an insect in each of its fruits, as the wild fig has." And Polybius of Megalopolis, who speaks with the authority of an eye-witness, gives very nearly the same account of the lotus, as it is called, in Libya, that Herodotus here gives of the palm-tree; for he speaks thus about it :- "And the lotus is a tree of no great size, but rough said thorny, and its leaf is green like that of the buckthorn, but a little thicker and broader. And the fruit at first resembles both in colour and size the berries of the white myrtle when full grown ; but as it increases in size it becomes of a scarlet colour, and in size about equal to the round olives; and it has an exceedingly small stone. But when it is ripe they gather it. And some they store for the use of the servants, bruising it and mixing it with groats, and packing it into vessels. And that which is preserved for freemen is treated in the same way, only that the stones are taken out, and then they pack that fruit also in jars, find eat it when they please. And it is a food very like the fig, and also like the palm-date, but superior in fragrance. And when it is moistened and pounded with water, a wine is made of it, very sweet and enjoyable to the taste, and like fine mead; and they drink it without water ; but it will not keep more than ten days, on which account they only make it in small quantities as they want it. They also make vinegar of the same fruit."

[66.] G   And Melanippides of Melos, in his Danaides, calls the fruit of the palm-tree by the name of φοίνικες, mentioning [the daughters of Danaus] in this manner:- "They had the appearance of inhabitants of the shades below, not of human beings; nor had they voices like women; but they drove about in chariots with seats, through the woods and groves, just as wild beasts do, holding in their hands the sacred frankincense, and the fragrant dates (φοίνικες), and cassia, and the delicate perfumes of Syria."

[652] And Aristotle, in his treatise On Plants, speaks thus: "The dates (φοίνικες) without stones, which some call eunuchs and others call seedless." Hellanicus has also called the fruit φοῖνιξ, in his Journey to the Temple of Ammon, if at least the book be a genuine one; and so has Phormus the comic poet, in his Atalantae. But concerning those that are called the Nicolaus-dates, which are imported from Syria, I can give you this information; that they received this name from Augustus the emperor, because he was exceedingly fond of the fruit, and because Nicolaus of Damascus, who was his friend, was constantly sending him presents of it. And this Nicolaus was a philosopher of the Peripatetic school, and wrote a very voluminous history.

[67.] G   Now with respect to dried figs: those which came from Attica were always considered a great deal the best. Accordingly Dinon, in his History of Persia, says- "And they used to serve up at the royal table all the fruits which the earth produces as far as the king's dominions extend, being brought to him from every district as a sort of first-fruits. And (?) Xerxes did not think it fitting for the kings either to eat or drink anything which came from any foreign country; and this idea gradually acquired the force of a law. For once, when one of the eunuchs brought the king, among the rest of the dishes at dessert, some Athenian dried figs, the king asked where they came from. And when he heard that they came from Athens, he forbade those who had bought them to buy them for him any more, until it should be in his power to take them whenever he chose, and not to buy them. And it is said that the eunuch did this on purpose, with a view to remind him of the expedition against Attica." And Alexis, in his Pilot, says-
  Then came in figs, the emblem of fair Athens,
  And bunches of sweet thyme.

And Lynceus, in his letter to the comic poet, Poseidippus, says- "In the delineation of the tragic passions, I do not think that Euripides is at all superior to Sophocles, but in dried figs, I do think that Attica is superior to every other country on earth." And in his letter to Diagoras, he writes thus:- "But this country opposes to the chelidonian dried figs those which are called brigindarides, which in their name indeed are barbarous, but which in delicious flavour are not at all less Attic than the others. And Phoenicides, in his Hated Woman, says-
  (A)   They celebrate the praise of myrtle-berries,
  Of honey, of the Propylaea, and of figs;
  Now these I tasted when I first arrived-
  (B)   And the Propylaea?
  (A)   Yet have I found nothing
  Which to a woodcock can for taste compare.

In which lines we must take notice of the mention of the woodcock. But Philemon, in his treatise On Attic Names, says that "the most excellent dried figs are those called aegalides; and that Aegila is the name of a deme in Attica, which derives its name from a hero called Aegilus; but that the dried figs of a reddish black colour are called chelidonian." Theopompus also, in the Peace, praising the Teithrasian figs, speaks thus-
  Barley cakes, cheesecakes, and Teithrasian figs.

But dried figs were so very much sought after by all men, (for really, as Aristophanes says- "There's really nothing nicer than dried figs;") that even Amitrochates, the king of the Indians, wrote to Antiochus, entreating him (it is Hegesander who tells this story) to buy and send him some sweet wine, [653] and some dried figs, and a sophist; and that Antiochus wrote to him in answer, "The dried figs and the sweet wine we will send you; but it is not lawful for a sophist to be sold in Greece." The Greeks were also in the habit of eating dried figs roasted, as Pherecrates proves by what he says in the Coriannō, where we find-
  But pick me out some of those roasted figs.

And a few lines later he says-
  Will you not bring me here some black dried figs ?
  Do you understand ? Among the Mariandyni,
  That barbarous tribe, they call these black dried figs
  Their pots.

I am aware, too, that Pamphilus has mentioned a kind of dried figs, which he calls procnides.

[68.] G   That the word βότρυς is common for a bunch of grapes is known to every one; and Crates, in the second book of his Attic Dialect, uses the word σταφυλή, although it appears to be a word of Asiatic origin; saying that in some of the ancient hymns the word σταφυλή is used for βότρυς, as in the following line-
  Thick hanging with the dusky grapes (σταφυλῇσι ) themselves.

And that the word σταφυλή is used by Homer is known to every one. But Plato, in the eighth book of his Laws [ 844'd ], uses both βότρυς and σταφυλή, where he says- "Whoever tastes wild fruit, whether it be grapes (βοτρύων) or figs, before the time of the vintage arrives, which falls at the time of the rising of Arcturus, whether it be on his own farm, or on any one else's land, shall be fined fifty sacred drachmas to be paid to Dionysus, if he plucked them off his own land; but a mina if he gather them on a neighbour's estate; but if he take them from any other place, two-thirds of a mina. But whoever chooses to gather the grapes (τὴν σταφυλὴν), which are now called the noble grapes, or the figs called the noble figs, if he gather them from his own trees, let him gather them as he pleases, and when he pleases; but if he gathers them from the trees of any one else without having obtained the leave of the owner, then, in accordance with the law which forbids any one to move what he has not placed, he shall be invariably punished." These are the words of the divine Plato; but I ask now what is this noble grape (γενναῖα), and this noble fig that he speaks of? And you may all consider this point while I am discussing the other dishes which are on the table. And Masurius said-
  But let us not postpone this till to-morrow,
  Still less till the day after.

When the philosopher says γενναῖα, he means εὐγενῆ, generous, as Archilochus also uses the word-
  Come hither, you are generous (γενναῖος);
or, perhaps, he means ἐπιγεγενημένα; that is to say, grafted. For Aristotle speaks of grafted pears, and calls them ἐπεμβολάδες. And Demosthenes, in his speech in defence of Ctesiphon [ 262 ], has the sentence, "gathering figs, and grapes (βότρυς), and olives." And Xenophon, in his Oeconomicus [ 19'19 ], says, "grapes (τὰς σταφυλὰς) are ripened by the sun." And our ancestors also have been acquainted with the practice of steeping grapes in wine, Accordingly Eubulus, in his Glued Together, says-
  But take these grapes (βότρυς), and in neat wine pound them,
  And pour upon them many cups of water.
  Then make him eat them when well steeped in wine.

And the poet, who is the author of the Chiron, which is generally attributed to Pherecrates, says-
  Almonds and apples, and the arbutus first,
  And myrtle-berries, pastry, too, and grapes
  Well steeped in wine; and marrow.

And that every sort of autumn fruit was always plentiful at Athens, Aristophanes testifies in his Seasons. Why, then, should that appear strange which Aethlius the Samian asserts in the fifth book of his Samian Chronicles, where he says, "The fig, and the grape, and the medlar, and the apple, and the rose grow twice a-year"? [654] And Lynceus, in his letter to Diagoras, praising the Nicostrateian grape, which grows in Attica, and comparing it to the Rhodian grapes, says, "As rivals of the Nicostrateian grapes they grow the Hipponeian grape; which after the month Hecatombaeon (like a good servant) has constantly the same good disposition towards its masters."

[69.] G   But as you have had frequent discussions about meats, and birds, and pigeons, I also will tell you all that I, after a great deal of reading, have been able to find out in addition to what has been previously stated. Now the word περιστέριον (pigeon) may be found used by Menander in his Concubine, where he says-
  He waits a little while, and then runs up
  And says- "I've bought some pigeons (περιστέρια) for you."

And so Nicostratus, in his Delicate Woman, says-
  These are the things I want,- a little bird,
  And then a pigeon (περιστέριον) and a paunch.

And Anaxandrides, in his Rival in Love, has the line-
  For bringing in some pigeons (περιστέρια) and some sparrows.

And Phrynichus, in his Tragedians, says-
  Bring him a pigeon (περιστέριον) for three obols.

Now with respect to the pheasant, Ptolemy the king, in the twelfth book of his Commentaries, speaking of the palace which there is at Alexandria, and of the animals which are kept in it, says, "They have also pheasants, which they call τετάροι, which they not only used to send for from Media, but they also used to put the eggs under broody hens, by which means they raised a number, so as to have enough for food; for they call it very excellent eating." Now this is the expression of a most magnificent monarch, who confesses that he himself has never tasted a pheasant, but who used to keep these birds as a sort of treasure. But if he had ever seen such a sight as this, when, in addition to all those which have been already eaten, a pheasant is also placed before each individual, he would have added another book to the existing twenty-four of that celebrated history, which he calls his Commentaries. And Aristotle or Theophrastus, in his Commentaries, says, "In pheasants, the male is not only as much superior to the female as is usually the case, but he is so in an infinitely greater degree."

[70.] G    # But if the before-mentioned king [Ptolemy] had seen the number of peacocks also which exists at Rome, he would have fled to the sacred senate, as though he had a second time been driven out of his kingdom by his brother. For the multitude of these birds is so great at Rome, that Antiphanes the comic poet, in his Soldier or Tychon, may seem to have been inspired by the spirit of prophecy, when he said-
  When the first man imported to this city
  A pair of peacocks, they were thought a rarity,
  But now they are more numerous than quails;
  So also, if you search and find one good man,
  He will be sure to have five worthless sons.

And Alexis, in his Lamp, says-
  That he should have devoured so vast a sum!
  Why if (by earth I swear) I fed on hares' milk
  And peacocks, I could never spend so much.

And that they used to keep them tame in their houses, we learn from Strattis, in his Pausanias, where he says-
  Of equal value with your many trifles,
  And peacocks, which you breed up for their feathers.

And Anaxandrides, in his Melilotus, says-
  [655] Is it not a mad idea to breed up peacocks,
  When for the same cost one can buy two statues?

And Anaxilaus, in his Bird Feeders, says-
  Besides all this, tame peacocks, loudly croaking.

Menodotus the Samian also, in his treatise On the Treasures in the Temple of the Samian Hera, says: "The peacocks are sacred to Hera; and perhaps Samos may be the place where they were first produced and reared, and from thence it was that they were scattered abroad over foreign countries, in the same way as cocks were originally produced in Persia, and the birds called guinea-fowl (μελεαγρίδες) in Aetolia." On which account Antiphanes, in his Brothers by the same Father, says-
  They say that in the city of Heliopolis
  The phoenix is produced; the owl in Athens;
  Cyprus breeds doves of admirable beauty:
  But Hera, queen of Samos, does, they say,
  Rear there a golden race of wondrous birds,
  The brilliant, beautiful, conspicuous peacock.

On which account the peacock occurs on the coins of the Samians.

[71.] G   But since Menodotus has mentioned the guinea-fowl, we ourselves also will say something on that subject. Clytus the Milesian, a pupil of Aristotle, in the first book of his History of Miletus, writes thus concerning them- "All around the temple of the Virgin Goddess at Leros, there are birds called guinea-fowls (μελεαγρίδες). And the ground where they are bred is marshy. And this bird is very devoid of affection towards its young, and wholly disregards its offspring, so that the priests are forced to take care of them. And it is about the size of a very fine fowl of the common poultry, its head is small in proportion to its body, having but few feathers, but on the top it has a fleshy crest, hard and round, sticking up above the head like a peg, and of a woody colour. And over the jaws, instead of a beard, they have a long piece of flesh, beginning at the mouth, redder than that of the common poultry; but of that which exists in the common poultry on the top of the beak, which some people call the beard, they are wholly destitute; so that their beak is mutilated in this respect. But its beak is sharper and larger than that of the common fowl; its neck is black, thicker and shorter than that of common poultry. And its whole body is spotted all over, the general colour being black, studded in every part with thick white spots something larger than lentil seeds. And these spots are ring-shaped, in the middle of patches of a darker hue than the rest of the plumage: so that these patches present a variegated kind of appearance, the black part having a sort of white tinge, and the white seeming a good deal darkened. And their wings are all over variegated with white, in serrated, wavy lines, parallel to each other. And their legs are destitute of spurs like those of the common hen. And the females are very like the males, on which account the sex of the guinea-fowls is hard to distinguish." Now this is the account given of guinea-fowls by the Peripatetic philosopher.

[72.] G   Roasted sucking-pigs are a dish mentioned by Epicrates in his Merchant-
  On this condition I will be the cook;
  Nor shall all Sicily boast that even she
  Produced so great an artist as to fish,
  Nor Elis either, where I've seen the flesh
  Of dainty sucking-pigs well brown'd before
  A rapid fire.

And Alexis, in his Wicked Woman, says-
  A delicate slice of tender sucking-pig,
  Bought for three obols, hot, and very juicy,
  [656] When it is set before us.

"But the Athenians," as Philochorus tells us [ Fr_173 ], " when they sacrifice to the Seasons, do not roast, but boil their meat, entreating the goddesses to defend them from all excessive droughts and heats, and to give increase to their crops by means of moderate warmth and seasonable rains. For they argue that roasting is a kind of cookery which does less good to the meat, while boiling not only removes all its rawness, but has the power also of softening the hard parts, and of making all the rest digestible. And it makes the food more tender and wholesome, on which account they say also, that when meat has been once boiled, it ought not to be warmed up again by either roasting or boiling it; for any second process removes the goodness of it, as Aristotle tells us. And roast meat is more raw and dry than boiled meat." But roast meats are called φλογίδες. Accordingly Strattis in his Callippides says, with reference to Heracles-
  Immediately he caught up some large slices (φλογίδας)
  Of smoking roasted boar, and swallowed them.

And Archippus, in his Heracles Marrying, says-
  The trotters of little pigs, well cooked
  In various fashion; slices, too, of bulls
  With sharpened horns, and great long steaks of boar,
  All roasted (φλογίδες).  

[73.] G    But why need I say anything of partridges, when so much has already been said by you [ 9.388e-390d ] ? However, I will not omit what is related by Hegesander in his Commentaries. For he says that the Samians, when sailing to Sybaris, having touched at the district called Siritis, were so alarmed at the noise made by partridges which rose up and flew away, that they fled, and embarked on board their ships, and sailed away. Concerning hares also Chamaeleon says, in his treatise on Simonides, that Simonides once, when dining with king Hieron, as there was no hare set on the table in front of him as there was before all the other guests, but as Hieron afterwards helped him to some, made this extempore verse [ Homer, Il. 14.33 ] - 
  Nor, large though he was, could he reach all this way. 

But Simonides was, in fact, a very covetous man, addicted to disgraceful gain, as we are told by Chamaeleon. And accordingly in Syracuse, as Hieron used to send him everything necessary for his daily subsistence in great abundance, Simonides used to sell the greater part of what was sent to him by the king, and reserve only a small portion for his own use. And when someone asked him the reason of his doing so, he said - 'In order that both the liberality of Hieron and my economy may be visible to every one.' The dish called udder is mentioned by Telecleides, in his Rigid Men, in the following lines - 
  Being a woman, it is but reasonable 
  That I should bring an udder. 

But Antidotus uses not the word 'udder', but 'belly-piece', in his Querulous Man.

[74.] G    Matron, in his Parodies, speaks of animals being fattened for food, and birds also, in these lines - 
  Thus spake the hero, and the servants smiled, 
  And after brought, on silver dishes piled, 
  Fine fattened birds, clean singed around with flame, 
  Like cheesecakes on the back, their age the same. 

And Sopater the farce-writer speaks of fattened sucking-pigs in his Marriage of Bacchis, saying this - 
  If there was anywhere an oven, there 
  The well-fed sucking-pig did crackle, roasting. 

But Aeschines uses the form δελφάκιον for δέλφαξ in his Alcibiades, saying, 'Just as the women at the cook-shops breed sucking-pigs {δελφάκια}.' And Antiphanes, in his Physiognomist, says - 
  Those women take the sucking-pigs {δελφάκια}, 
  And fatten them by force; 
And in his Persuasive Man he says - 
  To be fed up instead of pigs {δελφακίων}. 

Platon, however, has used the word δέλφαξ in the masculine gender in his Poet, [657] where he says - 'Leanest of pigs {δέλφακα}'. And Sophocles, in his play called Insolence, says - 'Wishing to eat the δέλφακα'. And Cratinus, in his Odysseuses, has the expression - 'Large pigs {δέλφακας}'. But Nicochares uses the word as feminine, saying - 'A pregnant sow {δέλφακα}'.

And Eupolis, in his Golden Age, says - 
  Did he not serve up at the feast a sucking-pig {δέλφακα}, 
  Whose teeth were not yet grown, a beautiful beast {καλὴν}? 

And Platon, in his Io, says - 'Bring hither now the head of the sucking-pig {δέλφακος}'. Theopompus, too, in his Penelope, says - 'And they do sacrifice our sacred pig {δέλφακα}'.

Theopompus also speaks of fatted geese and fatted calves in the thirteenth book of his History of Philip, and in the eleventh book of his Affairs of Greece, where he is speaking of the temperance of the Lacedaemonians in respect of eating, writing thus - 'And the (?) Thasians sent to Agesilaus, when he arrived, all sorts of sheep and well-fed oxen; and beside this, every kind of confectionery and sweetmeat. But Agesilaus took the sheep and the oxen, but as for the confectionery and sweetmeats, at first he did not know what they meant, for they were covered up; but when he saw what they were, he ordered the slaves to take them away, saying that it was not the custom of the Lacedaemonians to eat such food as that. But as the Thasians pressed him to take them, he said, Carry them to those men (pointing to the helots) and give them to them; saying that it was much better for those helots to injure their health by eating them than for himself and the Lacedaemonians whom he had with him.' And that the Lacedaemonians were in the habit of treating the helots with great insolence, is related also by Myron of Priene, in the second book of his History of Messene, where he says - 'They impose every kind of insulting employment on the helots, such as brings with it the most extreme dishonour; for they compel them to wear caps of dogskin, and cloaks also of skins; and every year they scourge them without their having committed any offence, in order to prevent their ever thinking of emancipating themselves from slavery. And besides all this, if any of them ever appear too handsome or distinguished-looking for slaves, they impose death as the penalty, and their masters also are fined for not checking them in their growth and fine appearances. And they give them each a certain piece of land, and fix a portion which they shall invariably bring them from its produce.'

The verb χηνίζω, to cackle like a goose, is used and applied to those who play on the flute. Diphilus says in his Synoris -
  ἐχήνισας, - this noise is always made 
  By all the pupils of Timotheus.

[75.] G    And since there is a portion of a fore-quarter of pork which is called perna placed before each of us, let us say something about it, if anyone remembers having seen the word used anywhere. For the best pernai are those from Cisalpine Gaul: those from Cibyra in Asia are not much inferior to them, nor are those from Lycia. And Strabo mentions them in the third book of his Geography, (and he is not a very modern author). And he says also, in the seventh book of the same treatise, that he was acquainted with Poseidonius the Stoic philosopher, of whom we have often spoken as a friend of Scipio who took Carthage. And these are the words of Strabo [ 3.162 (ch. 4.11) ] - 'In Spain, in the province of Aquitania, is the city Pompelo, which one may consider equivalent to Pompeiopolis, [658] where admirable pernai are cured, equal to the Cantabrian hams.' The comic poet Aristomenes, in his Dionysus, speaks of meat cured by being sprinkled with salt, saying - 'I put before you now this salted meat'. And in his Jugglers he says - 'The servant always ate some salted crab'.

[76.] G    But since we have here 'fresh cheese, the glory of fair Sicily,' let us, my friends, also say something about cheese. For Philemon, in his play entitled The Sicilian, says - 
  I once did think that Sicily could make 
  This one especial thing, good-flavoured cheese; 
  But now I've heard this good of it besides, 
  That not only is the cheese of Sicily good, 
  But all its pigeons too: and if one speaks 
  Of fine embroidered  robes, they are Sicilian; 
  And so I think that island now supplies 
  All sorts of dainties and of furniture. 

The Tromilican cheese also has a high reputation, respecting which Demetrius of Scepsis writes thus in his second book of the Trojan Array - 'Tromileia is a city of Achaia, near which a delicious cheese is made of goat's milk, not to be compared with any other kind, and it is called Tromilican.' And Simonides mentions it in his iambic poem, which begins thus - 
  You're taking wondrous trouble beforehand, Telembrotus:   
- and in this poem he says - 
  And there is the fine Achaean cheese, 
  Called the Tromilican, which I've brought with me. 

And Euripides, in his Cyclops, speaks of a harsh-tasted cheese, which he calls opias tyros, being curdled by the juice {ὀπὸς} of the fig-tree - 
  There is, too, tyros opias, and the milk of Zeus

But since, by speaking in this way of all the things which are now put on the table before us, I am making the Tromilican cheese into the remains of the dessert, I will not continue this topic. For Eupolis calls the relics of sweetmeats (tragēmatōn) and confectionery apotragēmata. And ridiculing a man of the name of Didymias, he calls him the apotragēma of a fox, either because he was little in person, or as being cunning and mischievous, as Dorotheus of Ascalon says. There are also thin broad cheeses, which the Cretans call 'females', as Seleucus tells us, which they offer up at certain sacrifices. And Philippides, in his play called The Flutes, speaks of some called pyriephthai (and this is a name given to those made of cream), when he says -
  Having these pyriephthai, and these herbs. 
And perhaps all such things are included in this Macedonian term epideipnides. For all these things are accompaniments to drinking.

[77.] G    Now, while Ulpianus was continuing the conversation in this way, one of the cooks, who made some pretence to learning, came in, and proclaimed 'myma'. And when many of us were perplexed at this proclamation, (for the rascal did not show what it was that he had,) he said; - You seem to me, O guests, to be ignorant that Cadmus, the grandfather of Dionysus, was a cook. And, as no one made any reply to this, he said; Euhemerus of Cos, in the third book of his Sacred History, relates that the Sidonians give this account, that Cadmus was the cook of the king, and that he, having taken Harmonia, who was a female flute-player and also a slave of the king, fled away with her. -  But shall I flee, who am a freeman born. 

For no one can find any mention in any comedy of a cook being a slave, except in a play of Poseidippus. But the introduction of slaves as cooks took place among the Macedonians first, [659] who adopted this custom either out of insolence or on account of the misfortunes of some cities which had been reduced to slavery. And the ancients used to call a cook who was a native of the country, Maeson; but if he was a foreigner, they called him Tettix. And Chrysippus the philosopher thinks the name μαίσων is derived from the verb μασάομαι, to eat; a cook being an ignorant man, and the slave of his appetite; not knowing that Maeson was a comic actor, a Megarian by birth, who invented the mask which was called μαίσων, from him; as Aristophanes of Byzantium tells us, in his treatise on Masks, where he says that he invented a mask for a slave and also one for a cook. So that it is a deserved compliment to him to call the jests which suit those characters maisōnika. For cooks are very frequently represented on the stage as jesting characters; as, for instance, in the Arbitrants, of Menander. And Philemon in one of his plays says - 
  It is a male sphinx, it seems, and not a cook, 
  That I've brought home; for, by the gods I swear,
  I do not understand one single word 
  Of all he says; so well provided is he 
  With every kind of new expression.

But Polemon says, in his writings which are addressed to Timaeus, that Maeson was indeed a Megarian, but from Megara in Sicily, and not from Nisaea. And Poseidippus speaks of slaves as cooks, in his Woman Shut out, where he says - 
  Thus have these matters happened: but just now, 
  While waiting on my master, a good joke 
  Occurred to me; I never will be caught 
  Stealing his meat. 
And, in his Foster Brothers, he says - 
  (A) Did you go out of doors, you who were cook? 
  (B) If I remained within I lost my supper. 
  (A) Let me then first . . . . 
  (B) Let me alone, I say; I'm going to work in the agora
  A friend of mine, a comrade too in art, 
  Has hired me.

[78.] G    And there was nothing extraordinary in the ancient cooks being experienced in sacrifices. At all events, they usually managed all marriage feasts and sacrifices. On which account Menander, in his Flatterer, introduces a cook, who on the fourth day of the month had been ministering in the festival of Aphrodite Pandemos, using the following language - 
  Now a libation. Boy, distribute round 
  The entrails. Whither are you looking now? 
  Now a libation - quick! you Sosias, quick! 
  Quick! a libation. That will do; now pour. 
  First let us pray to the Olympian gods, 
  And now to all the Olympian goddesses: 
  Meantime address them; pray them all to give 
  Us safety, health, and all good things in future, 
  And full enjoyment of all present happiness. 
  Such shall be now our prayers. 

And another cook, in Simonides, says - 
  And how I roasted, how I carved the meat, 
  You know: what is there that I can't do well? 

And the letter of Olympias to Alexander mentions the great experience of cooks in these matters. For, his mother having been entreated by him to buy him a cook who had experience in sacrifices, proceeds to say, 'Accept the cook Pelignas from your mother; for he is thoroughly acquainted with the manner in which all your ancestral sacrifices, and all the mysterious rites, and all the sacred mysteries connected with the worship of Dionysus are performed, and every other sacrifice which Olympias practises he knows. [660] Do not then disregard him, but accept him, and send him back again to me at as early a period as possible.'

[79.] G    And that in those days the cook's profession was a respectable one, we may learn from the Heralds at Athens. 'For these men used to perform the duties of cooks and also of sacrificers of victims,' as Cleidemus tells us, in the first book of his Protogony; and Homer uses the verb ῥέζω, as we use θύω; but he uses θύω as we do θυμιάω, for burning cakes and incense after supper. And the ancients used also to employ the verb δράω for to sacrifice; accordingly Cleidemus says, 'The heralds used to sacrifice {ἔδρων} for a long time slaying the oxen, and preparing them, and cutting them up, and pouring wine over them. And they were called kērykes from the hero Ceryx; and there is nowhere any record of any reward being given to a cook, but only to a herald.' For Agamemnon in Homer, although he is king, performs sacrifices himself; for the poet says [Il. 3.292-294 ] - 
  With that the chief the tender victims slew, 
  And in the dust their bleeding bodies threw; 
  The vital spirit issued at the wound, 
  And left the members quivering on the ground. 

And Thrasymedes the son of Nestor, having taken an axe, slays the ox which was to be sacrificed, because Nestor himself was not able to do so, by reason of his old age [Homer, Od. 3.442-446 ] ; and his other brothers assisted him; so respectable and important was the office of a cook in those days. And among the Romans, the censor, - and that was the highest office in the whole state, - clad in a purple robe, and wearing crowns, used to strike down the victims with an axe. Nor is it a random assertion of Homer, when he represents the heralds as bringing in the victims, and whatever else had any bearing on the ratification of oaths, as this was a very ancient duty of theirs, and one which was especially a part of their office [Il. 3.116-117 ] - 
  Two heralds, sent by Hector, invite 
  Trojan Priam to the peaceful rite; 
- and again [Il. 3.118-120 ] - 
  Talthybius hastens to the fleet, to bring 
  The lamb for Zeus, the inviolable king. 
- and, in another passage, he says [Il. 19.250-251 ] - 
  A splendid scene! Then Agamemnon rose; 
  The boar Talthybius held; and the Greek lord 
  Drew the broad cutlass, sheathed beside his sword. 

[80.] G    And in the first book of the History of Attica, Cleidemus says, that there was a tribe of cooks, who were entitled to public honours; and that it was their business to see that the sacrifices were performed with due regularity. And it is no violation of probability in Athenion, in his Samothracians, as Juba says, when he introduces a cook arguing philosophically about the nature of things and men, and saying -
  (A) Do you not know that the cook's art contributes 
  More than all others to true piety? 
  (B) Is it indeed so useful?   (A) In truth it is, 
  You ignorant barbarian: it releases 
  Men from a brutal and perfidious life, 
  And cannibal devouring of each other, 
  And leads us to some order; teaching us 
  The regular decorum of the life 
  Which now we practise.   (B) How is that?   (A) Just listen. 
  Once men indulged in wicked cannibal habits, 
  And numerous other vices; when a man 
  Of better genius arose, who first 
  Sacrificed victims, and did roast their flesh; 
  And, as the meat surpassed the flesh of man, 
  They then ate men no longer, but did slay 
  The herds and flocks, and roasted them and ate them. 
  [661] And when they once had got experience 
  Of this most dainty pleasure, they increased 
  In their devotion to the cook's employment; 
  So that even now, remembering former days, 
  They roast the entrails of their victims all 
  Unto the gods, and put no salt thereon, 
  For at the first beginning they knew not 
  The use of salt as seasoning; but now 
  They have found out its virtue, so they use it 
  At their own meals, but in their holy offerings 
  They keep their ancient customs; such as were 
  At first the origin of safety to us: 
  That love of art, and various seasoning, 
  Which carries to perfection the cook's skill. 
  (B) Why here we have a new Palaephatus
  (A) And after this, as time advanced, a paunch, 
  A well-stuffed paunch was introduced ,
   And a kid cooked so that it melted in the mouth,
   Well smothered with fine trimmings of meat,
   And tempered by the gentle touch of grape-syrup.
  Then they wrapped up a fish, and quite concealed it
  In herbs, and costly sauce, and groats, and honey; 
  And as, persuaded by these dainty joys 
  Which now I mention, every one gave up 
  His practice vile of feeding on dead men, 
  Men now began to live in company, 
  Gathering in crowds; cities were built and settled; 
  All owing, as I said before, to cooks. 
  (B) Hail, friend! you are well suited to my master. 
  (A) We cooks are now beginning our grand rites; 
  We're sacrificing, and libations offering, 
  Because the gods are most attentive to us, 
  Pleased that we have found out so many things, 
  Tending to make men live in peace and happiness. 
  (B) Well, say no more about your piety - 
  (A) I beg your pardon -   (B) But come, eat with me, 
  And dress with skill whatever is in the house.

[81.] G    And Alexis, in his Cauldron, shows plainly that cookery is an art practised by free-born men; for a cook is represented in that play as a citizen of no mean reputation; and those who have written cookery books, such as Heracleides and Glaucus the Locrian, say that the art of cookery is one in which it is not even every free-born man who can become eminent. And the younger Cratinus, in his play called The Giants, extols this art highly, saying - 
  (A) Consider, now, how sweet the earth doth smell, 
  How fragrantly the smoke ascends to heaven: 
  There lives, I fancy, here within this cave 
  Some perfume-seller, or Sicilian cook. 
  (B) The scent of both is equally delicious. 
And Antiphanes, in his Slave hard to Sell, praises the Sicilian cooks, and says - 
  And at the feast, delicious cakes, 
  Well seasoned by Sicilian art. 

And Menander, in his Spectre, says - 
  May you applaud, 
  If the meat's dressed with rich and varied skill.

But Poseidippus, in his Man recovering his Sight, says -
  I, having had one cook, have thoroughly learnt 
  [662] All the bad tricks of cooks, while they compete 
  With one another in their trade. One said 
  His rival had no nose to judge of soup 
  With critical taste; that other had 
  A vicious palate; while a third could never 
  (If you'd believe the rest) restrain his appetite, 
  Without devouring half the meat he dressed. 
  This one loved salt too much, and that one vinegar; 
  One burnt his meat; one gorged; one could not stand 
  The smoke; a sixth could never bear the fire. 
  At last they came to blows; and one of them, 
  Shunning the sword, fell straight into the fire. 

And Antiphanes, in his Philotis, displaying the cleverness of the cooks, says - 
  (A) Is not this, then, an owl?   (B) Aye, such as I 
  Say should be dressed in brine.   (A) Well; and this pike?
  (B) Why roast him whole.   (A) This shark?   (B) Boil him in sauce. 
  (A) This eel?   (B) Take salt, and marjoram, and water. 
  (A) This conger?   (B) The same sauce will do for him.
  (A) This ray?   (B) Strew him with herbs.    (A) Here is a slice 
  Of tunny.   (B) Roast it.   (A) And some venison.   (B) Roast it. 
  (A) Then here's a lot more meat.   (B) Boil all the rest. 
  (A) Here's a spleen.   (B) Stuff it.   (A) And a mullet {nēstis}.   (B) Bah! This man will kill me. 

And Baton, in his Benefactors, gives a catalogue of celebrated cooks and confectioners, thus - 
  (A) Well, O Sibynna, we never sleep at nights, 
  Nor waste our time in laziness: our lamp 
  Is always burning; in our hands a book; 
  And long we meditate on what is left us 
  By Sophon and by  Semonactides of Chios
  Or Tyndaricus, that pride of Sicyon
  Or even by Zopyrinus.   (B) Find you anything? 
  (A) Aye, most important things.   (B) But what? The dead . . .

[82.] G    And such a food now is the myma, which I, my friends, am bringing you; concerning which Artemidorus, the pupil of Aristophanes, speaks in his Dictionary of Cookery, saying that it is prepared with meat and blood, with the addition also of a great deal of seasoning. And Epaenetus, in his treatise on Cookery, speaks as follows: - 'One must make  myma of every kind of animal and bird, cutting up the tender parts of the meat into small pieces, and the bowels and entrails, and pounding the blood, and seasoning it with vinegar, and roasted cheese, and silphium, and cummin-seed, and thyme (both green and dry), and savory, and coriander-seed (both green and dry), and leeks, and onions (cleaned and toasted), and poppy-seed, and grapes, and honey, and the pips of an unripe pomegranate. You may also make this  myma of fish.'

[83.] G    And when this man had thus hammered on not only this dish but our ears also, another slave came in, bringing in a dish called mattyē. And when a discussion arose about this, and when Ulpianus had quoted a statement out of the Dictionary of Cookery by the before-mentioned Artemidorus relating to it, Aemilianus said that a book had been published by Dorotheus of Ascalon, entitled, On Antiphanes, and on the dish called Mattyē by the Poets of the New Comedy, which he says is a Thessalian invention, and that it became naturalised at Athens during the supremacy of the Macedonians. And the Thessalians are admitted [663] to be the most extravagant of all the Greeks in their manner of dressing and living; and this was the reason why they brought the Persians down upon the Greeks, because they were desirous to imitate their luxury and extravagance. And Cratinus speaks of their extravagant habits in his treatise on the Thessalian Constitution. But the dish was called mattyē (as Apollodorus the Athenian affirms in the first book of his treatise on Etymologies), from the verb μασάομαι {to eat}; as also are the words μαστίχη {mastich} and μάζα {barley-cake}. But our own opinion is that the word is derived from μάττω, and that this is the verb from which μάζα itself is derived, and also the cheese-pudding called by the Cyprians magis; and from this, too, comes the verb ὑπερμάζω, meaning to be extravagantly luxurious. Originally they used to call this common ordinary food made of barley-meal μάζα, and preparing it they called μάττω. And afterwards, varying the necessary food in a luxurious and superfluous manner, they derived a word with a slight change from the form μάζα, and called every very costly kind of dish mattyē; and preparing such dishes they called ματτυάζω, whether it were fish, or poultry, or herbs, or beasts or sweetmeats. And this is plain from the testimony of Alexis, quoted by Artemidorus; for Alexis, wishing to show the great luxuriousness of the way in which this dish was prepared, added the verb λέπομαι. And the whole extract runs thus, being out of a corrected edition of a play which is entitled Demetrius
  Take, then, this meat which thus is sent to you; 
  Dress it, and feast, and drink the cheerful healths, 
  λέπεσθε, ματτυάζετε
But the Athenians use the verb λέπομαι for wanton and unseemly indulgence of the sensual appetites.  

[84.] G    And Artemidorus, in his Dictionary of Cookery, explains mattyē as a common name for all kinds of costly seasonings; writing thus - 'There is also a mattyēs (he uses the word in the masculine gender) made of birds. Let the bird be killed by thrusting a knife into the head at the mouth; then let it be kept till the next day, like a partridge. And if you choose, you can leave it as it is, the wings on and with its body plucked.' Then, having explained the way in which it is to be seasoned and boiled, he proceeds to say - 'Boil a fat hen of the common poultry kind, and some young cocks just beginning to crow, if you wish to make a dish fit to be eaten with your wine. Then taking some vegetables, put them in a dish, and place upon them some of the meat of the fowl, and serve it up. But in summer, instead of vinegar, put some unripe grapes into the sauce, just as they are picked from the vine; and when it is all boiled, then take it out before the stones fall from the grapes, and shred in some vegetables. And this is the most delicious mattyēs that there is.' Now, that mattyē, or mattyēs, really is a common name for all costly dishes is plain; and that the same name was also given to a banquet composed of dishes of this sort, we gather from what Philemon says in his Man carried off
  Put now a guard on me, while naked, and 
  Amid my cups the mattyēs shall delight me. 
- and in his Homicide he says - 
  Let someone pour us now some wine to drink, 
  And make some mattyē quick. 

But Alexis, in his Fire-Lighter, has used the word in an obscure sense: - 
  [664] But when I found them all immersed in business, 
  I cried, - Will no one give us now a mattyē 
- as if he meant a feast here, though you might fairly refer the word merely to a single dish.

Now Machon the Sicyonian is one of the comic poets who were contemporaries of Apollodorus of Carystus, but he did not exhibit his comedies at Athens, but in Alexandria; and he was an excellent poet, if ever there was one, next to those seven of the first class. On which account, Aristophanes the grammarian, when he was a very young man, was very anxious to be much with him. And he wrote the following lines in his play entitled Ignorance
  There's nothing that I'm fonder of than mattyē
  But whether it was the Macedonians 
  Who first did teach it to us, or all the gods, 
  I know not; but it must have been a person 
  Of most exalted genius.

[85.] G    And that it used to be served up after all the rest of the banquet was over, is plainly stated by Nicostratus, in his Man expelled. And it is a cook who is relating how beautiful and well arranged the banquet was which he prepared; and having first of all related what the dinner and supper were composed of, and then mentioning the third meal, proceeds to say - 
  Well done, my men, - extremely well! but now 
  I will arrange the rest, and then the mattyē
  So that I think the man himself will never 
  Find fault with us again. 
And in his Cook he says -
  Thrion and kandylos he never saw, 
  Or any of the things which make a mattyē

And someone else says - 
  They brought, instead of a mattyē, some paunch, 
  And tender pettitoes, and tripe, perhaps. 

But Dionysius, in his Man shot at with Javelins (and it is a cook who is represented speaking), says - 
  So that sometimes, when I a mattyē 
  Was making for them, in haste I would 
  Bring by mistake, all unwilling,
  A dish of - the dead to the dead.

Philemon, also, in his Poor Woman
  When one can lay aside one's load, all day 
  Making and serving out rich mattyai

But Molpis the Lacedaemonian says that what the Spartans call epaikleiai, that is to say, the second course, which is served up when the main part of the supper is over, is called mattyai by other peoples of Greece. And Menippus the Cynic, in his book called Arcesilaus, writes thus: - 'There was a drinking party formed by a certain number of revellers, and a Lacedaemonian woman ordered the mattyē to be served up; and immediately some little partridges were brought in, and some roasted geese, and some delicious cheesecakes.' But such a course as this the Athenians used to call epidorpisma, and the Dorians epaïklon; but most of the Greeks called it the epideipna. And when all this discussion about the mattyē was over, they thought it time to depart; for it was already evening. And so we parted.   

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