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OF the several things that are provided for an entertainment, some, my Sossius Senecio, are absolutely necessary; such are wine, bread, meat, couches, and tables. Others are brought in, not for necessity, but pleasure; such are songs, shows, mimics, and buffoons (like Philip who came from the house of Callias); which, when present, delight indeed, but when absent, are not eagerly desired; nor is the entertainment looked upon as mean because such are wanting. Just so of discourses; some the sober men admit as necessary to a banquet, and others for their pretty speculations, as more profitable and agreeable than a fiddle and a pipe. My former book gives you examples of both sorts. Of the first are these, Whether we should philosophize at table?—Whether the entertainer should appoint proper seats, or leave the guests to agree upon their own? Of the second, Why lovers are inclined to poetry? and the question about the tribe Aeantis. The former I call properly συμποτικά, table-talk, but both together I comprehend under the general name of Symposiacs. They are promiscuously set down, not in any exact method, but as each singly occurred to memory. And let not my readers wonder that I dedicate these collections to you, which I have received from others or your own mouth; for if all learning is not bare remembrance, yet to learn and to remember are very commonly one and the same thing.

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