For wine appears to have a very attractive influence in promoting friendship, as it warms and also melts the soul. On [p. 288] which account the ancients did not ask who a man was before drinking, but afterwards; as honouring the laws of hospitality itself, and not this or that particular individual. But the lawgivers, taking care beforehand of the banquets of the present day, have appointed feasts for the tribe, and feasts for the borough; and also general banquets, and entertainments to the ward, and others also called orgeonica. And there are many meetings of philosophers in the city, some called the pupils of Diogenes, and others, pupils of Antipater, others again styled disciples of Panætius. And Theophrastus bequeathed money for an entertainment of that sort. Not, by Jove, in order that the philosophers assembled might indulge in intemperance, but in order that during the banquet they might have a wise and learned conversation. And the Prytanes were accustomed every day to meet in well-regulated banquets, which tended to the advantage of the state. And it was to such a banquet as that Demosthenes says the news of the taking of Elatea was brought. “For it was evening, and a man came bringing news to the Prytanes that Elatea was taken.” And the philosophers used to be careful to collect the young men, and to feast with them according to some well-considered and carefully laid down law. Accordingly, there were some laws for banquets laid down by Xenocrates, in the Academy, and again by Aristotle. But the Phiditia in Sparta, and the Andrea, or man's feasts, among the Cretans, were celebrated in their respective cities with all imaginable care. On which account some one said not unwisely—
Dear friends should never long abstain from feasts,And Antipater the philosopher once assembled a banqueting party, and invited all the guests on the understanding that they were to discuss subtle questions. And they say that Arcesilaus, being once invited to a banquet, and sitting next to a man who ate voraciously, while he himself was unable to enjoy anything, when some one of those who were present offered him something, said—
For e'en the memory of them is delightful.
May it be well with you; be this for Telephus:for it so happened that the epicure by his side was named Telephus. But Zeno, when some epicure who was at the same party with him snatched away the upper half of the fish [p. 289] the moment that it was placed on the table, turned the fish round himself, and took the remaining portion, saying—
Then Ino came and finish'd what was left.And Socrates seeing a man once devouring dainties eagerly, Said—O you bystanders, which of you eats bread as if it were sweetmeats, and sweetmeats as if they were bread?