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AT Nicostratus's table we discoursed of those matters which the Athenians were to debate of in their next assembly. And one of the company saying, It is the Persian fashion, sir, to debate midst your cups; And why, said Glaucias rejoining, not the Grecian fashion? For it was a Greek that said,
After your belly's full, your counsel's best.

And they were Greeks who with Agamemnon besieged Troy, to whom, whilst they were eating and drinking,

Old Nestor first began a grave debate;1

and he himself advised the king before to call the commanders together for the same purpose:

For the commanders, sir, a feast prepare,
And see who counsels best, and follow him.

[p. 395] Therefore Greece, having a great many excellent institutions, and zealously following the customs of the ancients, hath laid the foundations of her polities in wine. For the assemblies in Crete called Andria, those in Sparta called Phiditia, were secret consultations and aristocratical assemblies; such, I suppose, as the Prytaneum and Thesmothesium here at Athens. And not different from these is that night-meeting, which Plato mentions, of the best and most politic men, to which the greatest, the most considerable and puzzling matters are assigned. And those

Who, when they do design to seek their rest,
To Mercury their just libations pour,

do they not join reason and wine together, since, when they are about to retire, they make their vows to the wisest God, as if he was present and particularly president over their actions? But the ancients indeed call Bacchus the good counsellor, as if he had no need of Mercury; and for his sake they named the night εὐφρόνη, as it were, wellminded.

1 Il. VII. 324.

2 Il. IX. 70 and 74.

3 Odyss. VII. 138.

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