Articles from the
Oxford Classical Dictionary
Athens | topography of Athens | Attica | tyranny | Athenian democracy | Delian League | Peloponnesian War | Thirty Tyrants | Alexander the Great | Cleisthenes | Erechtheus | Pericles | Pisistratus | Solon | Theseus | Academy | Areopagus | Ceramicus | Eleusis | Erechtheum | Laurium | Long Walls | Panathenaea | Parthenon | Piraeus | Pnyx | Propylaea | Ictinus | Phidias | Athena | Poseidon
This book provides an exploration of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, where the god Apollo was believed to speak to inquirers through his priestesses. In particular it examines the use made of the oracle by the city of Athens in the period of the democracy (c. 500-300 BC). It shows how important communication with the gods was for the ancient Athenians, and concludes that far from being the first example of a secularized western democracy, classical Athens was always most concerned to do the will of the gods.
As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before—and in concert with—politics and principles. Athenians, the richest and most powerful of the Greeks, were as skilled at consuming as their playwrights were at devising tragedies. Weaving together Greek texts, critical theory, and witty anecdotes, this compelling and accessible study teaches the reader a great deal, not only about the banquets and temptations of ancient Athens, but also about how to read Greek comedy and history.