Table of Contents:
But concerning the banquet of the Phiditia, Dioscorides gives this account in his book entitled Tripoliticus. “In the first place, each individual has his supper put down separately before him, and he has no participation with any one else; and after that each has as much barley-cake as he pleases. And again, a cup is placed before each person, to drink whenever he pleases. And the meat is always the same for every one, being boiled pork; but sometimes they have no meat at all, except some little bit weighing at the outside about four minæ; and besides this, nothing at all except the broth which comes from it; which is sufficient for every one at the whole banquet to have some. And sometimes there may be some olives, or some cheese, or a few figs: and sometimes they have some small addition—a fish, or a hare, or a pigeon, or something of that sort: and then, after they have eaten very rapidly, the things are brought round which are called ἐπάϊκλα. And every one contributes to the phiditium about three Attic semimedimni1 of meal, and about eleven or twelve choes2 of wine; and in addition to this they contributed a certain weight of cheese and figs; and moreover, for purchasing meat, they gave ten Aeginetan obols.” 3 [p. 229] But Sphærus, in the third book of his treatise on the Lacedæmonian Constitution, writes—“The partakers of the phiditium do also themselves contribute the ἐπάϊκλα. And sometimes most of them make their contributions consist of what has been caught by them in hunting. Not but what the rich contribute also bread and whatever vegetables or fruits may be in season, in such quantities as are sufficient for one meal; thinking that to provide more than is just enough is superfluous, as it will not be eaten.” And Molpis says—“But after the supper is over something is always contributed by some one or other, and sometimes by many joining together; and the ματτύη, which they call the ἐπάϊκλον, is prepared by them at their own houses: but no one goes to any expense in buying what he contributes for this purpose. For they do not contribute it for the purpose of giving pleasure, or of indulging in any immoderate eating, but with the view of making a display of their own skill in hunting. And many also who breed flocks of sheep, give their produce very liberally. And this ματτύη consists of pigeons, geese, two hen-doves, thrushes, blackbirds, hares, lambs, kids. And the cooks always proclaim the name of him who has contributed each dish, in order that all men may see his devotion to hunting, and his eagerness to contribute to their enjoyment.” But Demetrius the Scepsian says, in the first book of his treatise on the Trojan Array, “that the festival of the Carnea among the Lacedæmonians is a representation of a military expedition. For that there are nine spots marked out; and they are called sciades,4 having something like tents in them; and in each of them nine men sup; and everything is proclaimed by the crier as if it were a military order. Now each scias has three phratriæ. And this festival of the Carnea lasts nine days.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.