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an important contribution to a growing body of revisionist scholarship on the symposium ... The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet, with its wide-ranging new reading of the origins of the symposium and its thought-provoking interpretation of the dynamics of the early Greek community, will surely inspire many more such discussions. (Adam Rabinowitz, Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
[a] welcome book ... It offers analysis and insight on far more than the title might suggest ... it represents an important stream in scholarship on ancient history that combines the use of texts, objects, public architecture, and tombs. The subject is of interest to all scholars of Dark Age through Classical-period Greece, and it is accessible to students at and above the advanced undergraduate level. Anyone who wants to be informed and to think deeply about this defining institution for Archaic- and Classical-period Greece must read this book. (Ann Steiner, American Journal of Archaeology)
a rich and thought-provoking study that raises questions about the very definition of the symposion. (Fiona Hobden, Sehepunkte)
[a] brilliant book written with extraordinary care. The exactness of described detail, the openness to inspiring others' ideas, the clearness of argumentation, above all the revealing observations we are presented with on each of its pages ... a volume of very high quality, offering fascinating insights into the ongoing debate on currently hotly contested topics. (Krystyna Bartol, Eos)
In The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet, Wecowski offers a comprehensive account of the origins of the symposion and its close relationship with the rise of the Greek city-state or polis. Broadly defined as a culture-oriented aristocratic banquet, the symposion―which literally means 'drinking together'―was a nocturnal wine party held by Greek aristocrats from Homer to Alexander the Great. Its distinctive feature was the crucial importance of diverse cultural competitions, including improvising convivial poetry, among the guests. Cultural skills and abilities were a prerequisite in order for one to be included in elite drinking circles, and, as such, the symposion served as a forum for the natural selection of Greek aristocracy.
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