But Antigonus of Carystus, in his Life of Menedemus, relating the way in which the banquets of that philosopher are managed, says, that he used to dine with one or two companions at most; and that all the rest of his guests used to come after they had supped. For in fact, Menedemus's supper and dinner were only one meal, and after that was over they called in all who chose to come; and if any of them, as would be the case, came before the time, they would walk up and down before the doors, and inquire of the servants who came out what was being now served up, and how far on the dinner had proceeded. And if they heard that it was only the vegetables or the cured fish that was being served up, they went away; but if they were told that the meat was put on the table, then they went into the room which had been prepared for that purpose. And in the summer a rush mat was spread over each couch, and in the winter a fleece. But every one was expected to bring his own pillow; and the cup, which was brought round to each person, did not hold more than one cotyla. And the dessert was lupins or beans as a general rule; but sometimes some fruits, such as ere in season, were brought in; in summer, pears or pomegranates; and in spring, pulse; and in winter, figs. And we have a witness as to these things, Lycophron the Chalcidian, who [p. 662] wrote a satyric drama entitled Menedemus, in which Silenus says to the satyrs—
O cursed sons of a most excellent father,And a little further on, he says—
I, as you see, have quite a fancy for you:
For, by the gods I swear, that not in Caria,
Nor in fair Rhodes, nor royal Lydia,
Have I e'er eaten so superb a supper;
Phœbus Apollo! what a feast it was.
And the boy brought us round a scanty cupAnd presently afterwards, he says that philosophical disqui- sitions were carried on during the entertainment—
Of wine that might be worth five pence a bottle-
Awfully flat; and then that cursed thing,
That hang-dog lupin, danced upon the board,
A fitting meal for parasites and beggars.
And for dessert,It is also related that those who met in this way very often kept on conversing to such a time that “the bird which calls the morn still caught them talking, and they were not yet satisfied.”
We had some learned conversation.