But the ancients were not acquainted with the fashion of bringing on paunches, or lettuces, or anything of the sort, before dinner, as is done now. At all events Archestratus, the inventor of made dishes, as he calls himself, says that [p. 169] pledges in drinking, and the use of ointments, are introduced after supper—
And always at the banquet crown your headBut Lynceus, describing the banquet given by Lamia, the female flute-player, when she entertained Demetrius Poliorcetes, represents the guests the moment they come to the banquet as eating all sorts of fish and meat; and in the same way, when speaking of the feast given by Antigonus the king, when celebrating the Aphrodisiac festival, and also one given by King Ptolemy, he speaks of fish as the first course; and then meat.
With flowing wreaths of varied scent and hue,
Culling the treasures of the happy earth;
And steep your hair in rich and reeking odours,
And all day long pour holy frankincense
And myrrh, the fragrant fruit of Syria,
On the slow slumb'ring ashes of the fire:
Then, when you drink, let slaves these luxuries bring—
Tripe, and the boiled paunch of well-fed swine,
Well soak'd in cummin juice and vinegar,
And sharp, strong-smelling assafœtida;
Taste, too, the tender well-roast birds, and game,
Whate'er may be in season. But despise
The rude uncivilized Sicilian mode,
Where men do nought but drink like troops of frogs,
And eat no solid seasoning. Avoid them.
And seek the meats which I enjoin thee here.
All other foods are only signs and proofs
Of wretched poverty: the green boil'd vetch,
And beans, and apples, and dried drums of figs.
But praise the cheesecakes which from Athens come;
And if there are none, still of any country
Cheesecakes are to be eaten; also ask
For Attic Honey, the feast's crowning dish—
For that it is which makes a banquet noble.
Thus should a free man live, or else descend
Beneath the earth, and court the deadly realms
Of Tartarus, buried deep beneath the earth