Courtesans and Fishcakes: Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

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9780006863434: Courtesans and Fishcakes: Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians' consuming passions for food, wine and sex. Sex, shopping and fish-madness, Athenian style. This fascinating book reveals that the ancient Athenians were supreme hedonists. Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights - especially fish - 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 of highly-coveted, costly prostitutes. James Davidson brings an incisive eye and an urbane wit to this refreshingly accessible and different history of the people who invented Europe, democracy and art.

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Desire is a dangerous thing, and the relationship between the citizens of ancient Athens and their desires was a complex and troubled one. James Davidson's Courtesans and Fishcakes is a brilliant and kaleidoscopic examination of daily life in classical Athens, and the life he reveals is simultaneously more alien and more familiar than we might have imagined. From fish-guzzling gourmands to the ambiguous eroticism of vase paintings, the cradle of Western culture is artfully, and frequently amusingly, anatomized. Davidson believes that many historians, under the influence of Foucault, are guilty of imposing modern views of desire, and particularly sexuality, on Greek culture, resulting in a simplistic interpretation of what was an extremely complicated issue. He refutes the prevailing opinion that sex in Athens was a simple binary opposition of penetrator and penetrated, drawing on a remarkable number of sources to show how sexuality was a slippery commodity rooted in intricate social negotiations, a characteristic shared with many other objects of desire, from eels to undiluted wine. Davidson sometimes assumes a little too much knowledge on the part of his audience--some basic information about the size of the Athenian population would have been helpful--but in spite of this Courtesans and Fishcakes is both accessible and provocative, offering a fascinating portrait of the private and public lives of ancient Athenians. --Simon Leake

About the Author:

James Davidson lectures in ancient history and the classical languages at the University of Warwick. He was previously a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.

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Davidson, James
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians consuming passions for food, wine and sex. Sex, shopping and fish-madness, Athenian style. This fascinating book reveals that the ancient Athenians were supreme hedonists. Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights - especially fish - 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 of highly-coveted, costly prostitutes. James Davidson brings an incisive eye and an urbane wit to this refreshingly accessible and different history of the people who invented Europe, democracy and art. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006863434

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians consuming passions for food, wine and sex. Sex, shopping and fish-madness, Athenian style. This fascinating book reveals that the ancient Athenians were supreme hedonists. Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights - especially fish - 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 of highly-coveted, costly prostitutes. James Davidson brings an incisive eye and an urbane wit to this refreshingly accessible and different history of the people who invented Europe, democracy and art. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006863434

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Book Description 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 26mm. Paperback. 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 auster.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 400 pages. 0.292. Bookseller Inventory # 9780006863434

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