Symposium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nude guest wear wreaths, play kottabos, and recline on couchees and pillows while a female slave plays the aulos

A symposium (plural: symposia) was a drinking party in Ancient Greece. Guests were males. Well bred women did not attend. Boys or slave girls served the food and drink, danced, juggled, played music, or otherwise entertained the assembly. These servers were usually nude. The symposium was an aristocratic institution often held to celebrate a young man's entry into adult society, an athletic victory, or a poetic achievement. It was an occasion for male conversation and debate. Party-goers reclined on couches and pillows. Guests played a game called kottabos, wrestled, and held song contests. A symposium is described in Plato's The Symposium. The party is attended by Socrates and the young, drunken, and nearly nude Alcibiades.