Courtesans and Fishcakes has ratings and 51 reviews. Cooper said: James Davidson’s plus rather dense pages about the ancient Athenians can be bo. A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians’ consuming passions for food, wine and sex. As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was.

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An amazing work of linguistic, historical and literary analysis that gives incredible insights into classical Athens. It worked for them though. Write a customer review. Courtesans and Fishcakes, make no mistake about this, is a textbook.

I’m not convinced about a few of his conclusions. It will broaden your understanding of Greek plays, the Peloponnesian wars, Greek democracy so very different from ours and Greek appetites, sexual and otherwise, of the ancients.

Finally realizing he is outclassed he scuttles off in the direction of the membradasthe anchovies or sprats. I will give him props for having the balls to assert, uniquely, I think, in my reading experience, that Foucault is wrong in this instance about the social ckurtesans in classical Attica of taking the passive role in sodomy.

Euthydemus, a writer on diet of the Hellenistic period, even wrote a treatise on the subject although the encomium of salt-fish, which fishvakes ascribed to Hesiod and quoted in support of his cause, was strongly cohrtesans of being a forgery. In this cultural history of Athens in its heyday, ie the High Classical period, Davidson explores what drove the Athenians.


Jun 07, Fade rated it really liked it. Where I did have a little trouble with what he was saying was his attempt to reconstitute traditional scholarly views on socio-economic class tensions by saying that degrees of luxury were available to everyone, thus negating the existence of an ‘upper’ class.

This marks a substantial divergence from the way animals are butchered today, with very careful differentiation of the cuts according to relative tenderness, sliced along or against the grain. Against this view, the scholar Aristarchus observed that, though he may have banned fishing and fish-eating from Troy, the author of the Iliad was not unaware of the existence of fishermen, or of the technologies of fishing, and used the imagery of angling and trawling in similes and metaphors.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Pleasure alone sorted out the most highly regarded species, the finest specimens, the most succulent parts, selected on their own terms according to the opsophagos ‘ taste. Conspicuous consumption — not so much.

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COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES by James Davidson | Kirkus Reviews

For once reading about economies had substance but wasn’t a complete bore. Eating meat was a religious duty, and ultimately indispensable.

By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Political history is great, but this cultural history actually allows you to see how the Greeks thought about their world by looking at a subject matter that remains relevant to us more than two thousand years later.


I will await his next volume. fihscakes

English Choose a language for shopping. The Fishcakees of Gilgamesh. I also have to give props for the catchy title, even if the book wasn’t as lively as I hoped it would be. If you enjoy cultural history, then being able to learn about the motivations of the Athenians during this period is something you will enjoy.

Looking forward to reading his book on Greek Love. Fish was a favorite opson, often affordable only by the very fishcaked or the not-so-rich-but-profligate.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens by James Davidson

Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism Cathy Gere. And isn’t it only when it’s well-supplied with fish that the agora brings about liaisons? What made fish funny for fishckaes Greeks goes some way towards explaining what made them so good to eat. There is nothing new under the sun.

His ideas don’t stop there Another parasite in Alexis’ Principal Dancer complains of the hard work involved in cadging an invitation to a fancy dinner; he would prefer to share a plate of sprats with someone who can talk in plain Attic.

It is no coincidence, perhaps, that fourth-century comedy is characterized both by its spoofs of mythological tales and its preoccupation with fish.