Courtesans & fishcakes : the consuming passions of classical Athens
The luxury of the ancient world is legendary. The opulence of Imperial Rome and the splendid wealth of Cleopatra and the Pharoahs are sharply contrasted by the apparent austerity of democratic Athens.
Eschewing all material indulgences, what did the inhabitants of this wealthy city-state do with all their money?
Were they really so spartan in their habits, so sensible and restrained in their outlook?
This book reveals the Ancient Athenians as supreme hedonists.
Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights, fine wine and pleasures of the flesh.
Indeed, great fortunes were squandered and politicians' careers ruined through ritual drinking at the symposium, or the wooing the highly-coveted prostitutes.
Examining overlooked ephemera of this ancient culture - pamphlets, forensic speeches, comic satires, recipes and menus - James Davidson brings an incisive eye to this history of the people who invented Europe, democracy and art.