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The Deipnosophists, or the Banquet of the Learned. : Book I.—Epitome.
ATHENAEUS is the author of this book; and in it he is discoursing with Timocrates: and the name of the book is the Deipnosophists. In this work Laurentius is introduced, a Roman, a man of distinguished fortune, giving a banquet in his own house to men of the highest eminence for every kind of learning and accomplishment; and there is no sort of gentlemanly knowledge which he does not mention in the conversation which he attributes to them; for he has put down in his book, fish, and their uses, and the meaning of their names; and he has described divers kinds of vegetables, and animals of all sorts. He has introduced also men who have written histories, and poets, and, in short, clever men of all sorts; and he discusses musical instruments, and quotes ten thousand jokes: he talks of the different kinds of drinking cups, and of the riches of kings, and the size of ships, and numbers of other things which I cannot easily enumerate, and the day would fail me if I endeavoured to go through them separately. And the arrangement of the conversation is an imitation of a sumptuous banquet; and the plan of the book follows the arrangement of the conversation. This, then, is the delicious feast of words which this admirable master of the [p. 2] feast, Athenæus, has prepared for us; and gradually sur- passing himself, like the orator at Athens, as he warms with his subject, he bounds on towards the end of the book in noble strides.
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