Athenaeus’ The Deipnosophists (The Learned Banqueters) is a second-century work of Greek fiction that describes the literary world of Hellenistic intellectuals in the Roman Empire. Like Plato in his Phaedo, the author uses dialogue to describe a series of dinner parties hosted by a wealthy patron of the arts. A cast of grammarians, lexicographers, and musicians participate in conversations about literature, music, history, food and wine, sexual mores, philology, and more.
This work gives modern readers a glimpse into the literary world of the Roman Empire while also preserving fragments of ancient Greek literature. Characters quote 700 early Greek authors and reference over 2,500 works—many of which would otherwise have been lost. The conversations found in The Deipnosophists make for amusing reading, but more importantly, this work endures as a treasury of early Greek quotations and insights into the literary life of the Roman Empire.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each text includes the original Greek and an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Logos’ language tools allow you to go deeper into the Greek text and explore Athenaeus’ elegant language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult English words used by the translator. Students of literature, history, Greek, and the classics will enjoy this work and appreciate its significance.
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Athenaeus of Naucratis was an antiquarian writer living in Rome during the second and third centuries. His best-known work is The Deipnosophists.
Charles Burton Gulick (1868–1962) was an American scholar and professor of Greek at Harvard University as well as the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.