Tawdry Tuesday: Sidedishes for [Obscenity] (NSFW)


Plato the Comic Poet, fr. 43 [=Athenaeus 9. 367c-d]

[1] A woman who is asleep is boring
[2] I am learning this.
[1] But there are, uh, side-dishes when she is awake
And these alone are much more useful for pleasure than anything else
[2] What are fucking’s sidedishes, may I ask you?

Α. γυνὴ καθεύδουσ’ ἐστὶν ἀργόν. Β. μανθάνω.
Α. ἐγρηγορυίας δ’ εἰσὶν αἱ παροψίδες,
αὗται μόνον κρείττους πολὺ χρῆμ’ εἰς ἡδονὴν
ἠταλλαβεῖν. οὐ γάρ τινες παροψίδες
εἴσ’, ἀντιβολῶ σε;

Image result for ancient greek vase with sex scene

A Model Opening for a Toast at Any Occasion

From Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists (5.211 e-f)

“Posidonios of Apamea records the story of [Athenion] which I am going to lay out even though it is rather long, so that we may examine carefully all men who claim to be philosophers, and not merely trust in their shabby robes and unkempt beards. For, as Agathon says (fr. 12):

If I tell the truth, I won’t make you happy.
But if I am to make you happy, I will say nothing true.

Since the truth, they say, is dear to us, I will tell the whole story about this man.”

περὶ οὗ καθ’ ἕκαστα ἱστορεῖ Ποσειδώνιος ὁ ᾿Απαμεύς, ἅπερ εἰ καὶ μακρότερά ἐστιν ἐκθήσομαι, ἵν’ ἐπιμελῶς πάντας ἐξετάζωμεν τοὺς φάσκοντας εἶναι φιλοσόφους καὶ μὴ τοῖς τριβωνίοις καὶ τοῖς ἀκάρτοις πώγωσι πιστεύωμεν. κατὰ γὰρ τὸν ᾿Αγάθωνα
(fr. 12 N)
εἰς μὲν φράσω τἀληθές, οὐχί σ’ εὐφρανῶ·
εἰ δ’ εὐφρανῶ τί σ’, οὐχὶ τἀληθὲς φράσω.
ἀλλὰ φίλη <γάρ>, φασίν, ἡ ἀλήθεια, ἐκθήσομαι τὰ περὶ τὸν ἄνδρα ὡς ἐγένετο (FHG III 266).


Image result for Posidonius of Apamea

Late For the Meal? Maybe Dine Alone…

In his Deipnosophists Athenaeus pretty much talks about everything (e.g., the masturbation habits of the Achaeans during their nine years at Troy). Early on, he expands on good manners when coming to dinner at someone else’s expense (don’t go late) and the general creepiness of a man who dines alone (1.14.30-50):

“The comic poet Amphis says:

If someone comes late to a free diner,
Believe that he’d rush to leave the battle line too!

And Chrysippus adds:

Don’t make light of the free drinking party
A free drinking party shouldn’t be treated lightly, but pursued!

Antiphanes also says:

The life of the gods is this: whenever you can
Eat someone else’s food and think nothing of the bill.

And elsewhere:

This is the blessed life when I must always seek
Some new trick to find a nibble for my lips.

I came from home to this drinking parting bringing these lines, making sure as well that I arrived carrying my rent money too, since “we singers always sacrifice without smoke”.

The word monophagein [“to eat alone”]is used [negatively] among ancient writers. For instance, Antiphanes says: “You’re eating alone already and causing me harm!” Amphis, too, says, “To hell with you, you solitary diner, you thief!”


ἀσυμβόλου δείπνου γὰρ ὅστις ὑστερεῖ,
τοῦτον ταχέως νόμιζε κἂν τάξιν λιπεῖν,

῎Αμφις φησὶν ὁ κωμικός (II 248 K). Χρύσιππος δέ φησιν·

ἀσύμβολον κώθωνα μὴ παραλίμπανε.
κώθων δ’ οὐ παραλειπτὸς ἀσύμβολος, ἀλλὰ διωκτός.

᾿Αντιφάνης δέ φησι (II 117 K)·

βίος θεῶν γάρ ἐστιν, ὅταν ἔχῃς ποθὲν
τἀλλότρια δειπνεῖν, μὴ προσέχων λογίσμασι.

καὶ πάλιν·

μακάριος ὁ βίος, ᾧ δεῖ μ’ ἀεὶ καινὸν πόρον
εὑρίσκειν, ὡς μάσημα ταῖς γνάθοις ἔχω.

ταῦτα οἴκοθεν ἔχων εἰς τὸ συμπόσιον ἦλθον καὶ προμελετήσας, ἵνα κἀγὼ τὸ στεγανόμιον κομίζων παραγένωμαι.

ἄκαπνα γὰρ αἰὲν ἀοιδοὶ θύομεν.
ὅτι τὸ μονοφαγεῖν ἐστιν ἐν χρήσει τοῖς παλαιοῖς.

᾿Αντιφάνης (II 128 K)·
.. μονοφαγεῖς, ἤδη τι καὶ βλάπτεις ἐμέ.

᾿Αμειψίας (I 677 K)·
ἔρρ’ ἐς κόρακας, μονοφάγε καὶ τοιχωρύχε.

“What is Love”? A Break from One Madness…

Alexis (fr.386k from his Phaedrus; found at Athenaeus 13.13)

“As I was walking from the Peiraios beset
By troubles and despair, philosophy came over me.
And all the painters now seem to me to be ignorant
About love, and, to put it simply, so is everyone else
Who fashions images of him as a god.
For he is neither female nor male, and again,
He is not a god or mortal; nor is he foolish
Or wise, but he is drawn together from everywhere
And carries many shapes in one form.
For he has a man’s boldness with a woman’s restraint;
he has the senselessness of madness
But the reason of a thinker; he has a beast’s ferocity,
The toil of the unbreakable, and the avarice of a god.
Indeed, by Athena and the gods, I do not understand
What love is, but still it is the type of thing
I have said only without this name.”

πορευομένῳ δ᾽ ἐκ Πειραιῶς ὑπὸ τῶν κακῶν
καὶ τῆς ἀπορίας φιλοσοφεῖν ἐπῆλθέ μοι.
καί μοι δοκοῦσιν ἀγνοεῖν οἱ ζωγράφοι
τὸν Ἔρωτα, συντομώτατον δ᾽ εἰπεῖν, ὅσοι
τοῦ δαίμονος τούτου ποιοῦσιν εἰκόνας.
ἐστὶν γὰρ οὔτε θῆλυς οὔτ᾽ ἄρσην, πάλιν
οὔτε θεὸς οὔτ᾽ ἄνθρωπος, οὔτ᾽ ἀβέλτερος
οὔτ᾽ αὖθις ἔμφρων, ἀλλὰ συνενηνεγμένος
πανταχόθεν ἑνὶ τύπῳ <τε> πόλλ᾽ εἴδη φέρων.
ἡ τόλμα μὲν γὰρ ἀνδρός, ἡ <δὲ> δειλία
γυναικός, ἡ δ᾽ ἄνοια μανίας, ὁ δὲ λόγος
φρονοῦντος, ἡ σφοδρότης δὲ θηρός, ὁ δὲ πόνος
ἀδάμαντος, ἡ φιλοτιμία δὲ δαίμονος.
καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἐγώ, μὰ τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν καὶ θεούς,
οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅ τι ἐστίν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως ἔχει γέ τι
τοιοῦτον, ἐγγύς τ᾽ εἰμὶ τοὐνόματος.

Cf. the philosopher Haddaway

And Foreigner’s desperate plea:



Pace the rejoiner from Turner 1984:


Fragmentary Friday: How to be A Model Dinner Guest

Aristophon, The Physician (fr. 5; Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 6.238c)

“I want to announce to him what kind of a man I am.
Whenever someone hosts a meal, I am there first—so much so
That I have been called “Broth-boy” for many years.
When we must carry someone out of the middle of the drinkers,
Know that I will look like an Argive grappler in the act.
If we must assault a house, I’m the ram. Storm it by the roof?
Call me Capaneus. I’m an the anvil for enduring all blows.
I make fists like Telamon. I go at the handsome guys
Like smoke.”


βούλομαι δ’ αὐτῷ προειπεῖν οἷός εἰμι τοὺς τρόπους·
ἄν τις ἑστιᾷ, πάρειμι πρῶτος, ὥστ’ ἤδη πάλαι
…. ζωμὸς καλοῦμαι. δεῖ τιν’ ἄρασθαι μέσον
τῶν παροινούντων, παλαιστὴν νόμισον αὐταργειον
μ’ ὁρᾶν.
προσβαλεῖν πρὸς οἰκίαν δεῖ, κριός· ἀναβῆναί τι πρὸς
κλιμάκιον … Καπανεύς· ὑπομένειν πληγὰς ἄκμων·
κονδύλους πλάττειν δὲ Τελαμών· τοὺς καλοὺς πει-
ρᾶν καπνός.


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The ‘Good’ is An Attribute of Pleasure: Comics Mocking Epicurus

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 7.9-10

“And the same Bato, in his play called The Murderer, also mocks one of the upstanding philosophers before he continues:

When is possible to lie down with a beautiful woman
And have two small carafes of Lesbian wine—
And this is the ‘prudent man’; this is the ‘good man’?
Epicurus once said the things I am saying now.
If everyone would live the life that I live,
No one would be out of place or an adulterer

And Hegesippos adds in The Comrade-Lovers

When wise Epicurus was asked by someone
To tell him what that “good” is, which
They are always seeking, he said it was pleasure.
Well done, the man replied, best and wisest man!
There is no greater good anywhere than chewing.
And the ‘good’ is an attribute of pleasure.”


καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾿Ανδροφόνῳ δὲ ἐπιγραφομένῳ ὁ αὐτὸς Βάτων διαπαίξας τινὰ τῶν ἐπιεικῶν φιλοσόφων ἐπιφέρει (IV 500 M)·

ἐξὸν γυναῖκ’ ἔχοντα κατακεῖσθαι καλὴν
καὶ Λεσβίου χυτρῖδε λαμβάνειν δύο·
ὁ φρόνιμος <οὗτός> ἐστι, τοῦτο τἀγαθόν.
᾿Επίκουρος ἔλεγε ταῦθ’ ἃ νῦν ἐγὼ λέγω.
εἰ τοῦτον ἔζων πάντες ὃν ἐγὼ ζῶ βίον,
οὔτ’ ἄτοπος ἦν ἂν οὔτε μοιχὸς οὐδὲ εἷς.

῾Ηγήσιππος δ’ ἐν Φιλεταίροις (IV 481 M)·

᾿Επίκουρος ὁ σοφὸς ἀξιώσαντός τινος
εἰπεῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὅτι ποτ’ ἐστὶ τἀγαθόν,
ὃ διὰ τέλους ζητοῦσιν, εἶπεν ἡδονήν.
Β. εὖ γ’, ὦ κράτιστ’ ἄνθρωπε καὶ σοφώτατε·
τοῦ γὰρ μασᾶσθαι κρεῖττον οὐκ ἔστ’ οὐδὲ ἓν
ἀγαθόν· Α. πρόσεστιν ἡδονῇ γὰρ τἀγαθόν.

Three Fragment Friday: Why Do We Work So Hard at Living Badly?

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 7.12-13


“Philetairos in the Huntress writes:

What ought one who is mortal do, I beg,
Other than live life pleasurably day by day
If he has any way to do it? But we should examine
This very thing when looking into human matters
Rather than fretting over what tomorrow will bring.
It is altogether bizarre to hoard money
For the next day at home.

And the same poet says in Winedrinker:

Mortals who live poorly when they have plentiful wealth,
Well, I say that they are wretches.
When you’re dead, truly, you won’t be eating eel.
No wedding cakes are baked among the dead.

And Apollodorus the Carystian writes in his Tabletmakers:

Humans, all of you—why do you dismiss living happily
And work so hard at living badly
By waging war against each other? Dear gods!
Has some savage type of Fortune taken control
Of our lives, who knows nothing of education at all,
and is completely ignorant of anything
good or evil and just jerks us around
in whatever direction chance governs?
I think so. For how could a Fortune that was truly Greek
Prefer to watch them torn apart by themselves
And falling down among the corpses,
When it were possible for them to be happy, playing,
Getting drunk and listening to music. Tell me, sweetest one—
Rebuke our Fortune as the savage she is!”

Φιλέταιρος Κυναγίδι (II 232 K).
τί δεῖ γὰρ ὄντα θνητόν, ἱκετεύω, ποιεῖν
πλὴν ἡδέως ζῆν τὸν βίον καθ’ ἡμέραν,
ἐὰν ἔχῃ τις ὁπόθεν; ἀλλὰ δεῖ σκοπεῖν
τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ τἀνθρώπει’ ὁρῶντα πράγματα,
εἰς αὔριον δὲ <μηδὲ> φροντίζειν ὅτι
ἔσται· περίεργόν ἐστιν ἀποκεῖσθαι πάνυ
ἕωλον ἔνδον τἀργύριον.
καὶ ἐν Οἰνοπίωνι δὲ ὁ αὐτός φησιν (II 234 K)·
θνητῶν δ’ ὅσοι
ζῶσιν κακῶς ἔχοντες ἄφθονον βίον,
ἐγὼ μὲν αὐτοὺς ἀθλίους εἶναι λέγω.
οὐ γὰρ θανών γε δήπουθεν ἔγχελυν φάγοις
οὐδ’ ἐν νεκροῖσι πέττεται γαμήλιος.

᾿Απολλόδωρος δ’ ὁ Καρύστιος ἐν Γραμματει-
διοποιῷ (IV 441 M)·
ὦ πάντες ἄνθρωποι, τί τὸ ζῆν ἡδέως
παρέντες ἐπιμελεῖσθε τοῦ κακῶς ποιεῖν
πολεμοῦντες ἀλλήλους; πότερα πρὸς τῶν θεῶν
ἐπιστατεῖ τις τοῦ βίου νυνὶ τύχη
ἄγροικος ἡμῶν οὔτε παιδείαν ὅλως
εἰδυῖα, τί τὸ κακόν ποτ’ ἢ τί τἀγαθὸν
ἔστ’ ἀγνοοῦσα παντελῶς, εἰκῆ τέ πως
ἡμᾶς κυλίνδουσ’ ὅντιν’ ἂν τύχῃ τρόπον;
οἶμαί γε. τίς γὰρ μᾶλλον ἂν προείλετο
῞Ελλην ἀληθῶς οὖσα λεπομένους ὁρᾶν
αὐτοὺς ὑφ’ αὑτῶν καὶ καταπίπτοντας νεκρούς,
ἐξὸν ἱλαρούς, παίζοντας, ὑποπεπωκότας,
αὐλουμένους. ωδει λέγ’ αὐτή, γλυκυτάτη,
ἔλεγχ’ ἄγροικον οὖσαν ἡμῶν τὴν τύχην.

On Poets and Fishmongers

Xenarchus’ Porphyra fr. 7 (preserved in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists, 6. 224-225)

“Poets are ridiculous. They never invent
anything new—each one of them simply
remixes the same things again and again.
But there is no race more creative or profane
than the fishsellers!
Since it is no longer permitted to them to dampen
Their fish, a practice forbidden by the law,
When some man completely hateful to the gods
Saw that his fish were drying, well,
He started a brawl among them quite intentionally
There were punches; he acted as if he were hit hard,
Fell to the ground pretending to pass out lying
Among his fish. Someone shouted “water, water”!
And a different guy grabbed a pitcher and poured it out—
A little on the man, but the rest on the fish!
You would have claimed they’d just been caught!”

Fish Vase

Google “Ancient Greek Fish Vase”

οἱ μὲν ποιηταὶ (φησὶ) λῆρός εἰσιν· οὐδὲ ἓν
καινὸν γὰρ εὑρίσκουσιν, ἀλλὰ μεταφέρει
ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ταὔτ’ ἄνω τε καὶ κάτω.
τῶν δ’ ἰχθυοπωλῶν φιλοσοφώτερον γένος
οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδὲν οὐδὲ μᾶλλον ἀνόσιον.
ἐπεὶ γὰρ αὐτοῖς οὐκέτ’ ἔστ’ ἐξουσία
ῥαίνειν, ἀπείρηται δὲ τοῦτο τῷ νόμῳ,
εἷς τις θεοῖσιν ἐχθρὸς ἄνθρωπος πάνυ
ξηραινομένους ὡς εἶδε τοὺς ἰχθῦς, μάχην
ἐποίησ’ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐξεπίτηδες εὖ πάνυ.
ἦσαν δὲ πληγαί, καιρίαν δ’ εἰληφέναι
δόξας καταπίπτει καὶ λιποψυχεῖν δοκῶν
ἔκειτο μετὰ τῶν ἰχθύων. βοᾷ δέ τις
‘ὕδωρ <ὕδωρ.>’ ὃ δ’ εὐθὺς ἐξάρας πρόχουν
τῶν ὁμοτέχνων τις τοῦ μὲν ἀκαρῆ παντελῶς
κατέχει, κατὰ δὲ τῶν ἰχθύων ἁπαξάπαν.
εἴποις γ’ ἂν αὐτοὺς ἀρτίως ἡλωκέναι.

Tawdry Tuesday, Gigolo Edition: The Same Joke Three Times

(from Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists, book 6.48)

“Pausimachus used to remark about the parasite who was supported by an old woman that their intercourse produced an opposite effect: he was always getting something in his stomach. Makhon writes something similar about this:

People say that when Moschion the water-drinker
Saw with friends a parasite in the Lyceium
Who was fed well by a wealthy old lady, he said
“You terror, you are accomplishing the impossible,
Since this hag is always filling up your stomach!”

When the same man heard that a young man was being fed by an old lady and having sex with her every day, he said: “These days, anything can happen. She never gets pregnant, and he fills his gut every day!”

τὸν ὑπὸ τῆς γραὸς τρεφόμενον παράσιτον Παυσίμαχος ἔλεγεν τοὐναντίον πάσχειν τῇ γραίᾳ συνόντα· αὐτὸν γὰρ ἐν γαστρὶ λαμβάνειν ἀεί. περὶ τούτου καὶ

Μάχων γράφει οὕτως·
τὸν ὑδροπότην … Μοσχίωνα λεγόμενον
ἰδόντα φασὶν ἐν Λυκείῳ μετά τινων
παράσιτον ὑπὸ γραὸς τρεφόμενον πλουσίας
‘ὁ δεῖνα, παράδοξόν γε ποιεῖς πρᾶγμ’, ὅτι
ἡ γραῦς ποιεῖ σ’ ἐν γαστρὶ λαμβάνειν ἀεί.’
ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς παράσιτον ἀκούσας ὑπὸ γραίας τρεφόμενονσυγγινόμενόν τε αὐτῇ ἑκάστης ἡμέρας· νῦν πάντα, φασί, γίνεθ’· ἡ μὲν οὐ κύει, ἐν γαστρὶ δ’ οὗτος λαμβάνει καθ’ ἡμέραν.

Fragmentary Friday: Why Are You Sober if You Have Money?

Baton, the Comic Poet (fr. 3.1-11, preserved in Athenaeus Deipn. 4.163b)

“I am calling the prudent philosophers here,
Those who never allow themselves anything good,
Those who seek a thoughtful man in every walk
And in their discussions as if he were a fugitive slave.
Wretched man, why are you sober if you have money?
Why do you dishonor the gods this much?
Why do you think money is worth more than you are?
Does it have some intrinsic worth?
If you drink water, you’re useless to the city.
You hurt the farmer and the trader at the same time.
But I make them wealthier by getting drunk.”

τῶν φιλοσόφων τοὺς σώφρονας ἐνταυθοῖ καλῶ,
τοὺς ἀγαθὸν αὑτοῖς οὐ διδόντας οὐδὲ ἕν,
τοὺς τὸν φρόνιμον ζητοῦντας ἐν τοῖς περιπάτοις
καὶ ταῖς διατριβαῖς ὥσπερ ἀποδεδρακότα.
ἄνθρωπ’ ἀλάστωρ, διὰ τί συμβολὰς ἔχων
νήφεις; τί τηλικοῦτον ἀδικεῖς τοὺς θεούς;
τί τἀργύριον, ἄνθρωπε, τιμιώτερον
σαυτοῦ τέθεικας ἢ πέφυκε τῇ φύσει;
ἀλυσιτελὴς εἶ τῇ πόλει πίνων ὕδωρ·
τὸν γὰρ γεωργὸν καὶ τὸν ἔμπορον κακοῖς.
ἐγὼ δὲ τὰς προσόδους μεθύων καλὰς ποιῶ.


Another fragmentary author with no Wikipedia page.  All the Suda says about him is: Βάτων, κωμικός· δράματα αὐτοῦ Συνεξαπατῶν, ᾿Ανδροφόνος, Εὐεργέται. (“A Comic Poet whose plays were the Conspirators, the Murder and the Goodworkers.”) Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists is the main source for his fragments. This Batôn should not be confused with the historian and orator Batôn (also mentioned in Athenaeus).

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