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Comp Lit 04.30.09 - 1 Symposium( a Literally:drinkingparty...

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1. Symposium (the Context of today’s poetry readings) a. Literally: drinking party b. Pino-drink, posis- a c. Goals of the party i. Brought together aristocratic youth and adults ii. Tightly knit group of companions (hetairoi) iii. Socialization of the youth through homo-erotic bonds with older men 1. Evidence: cups of imagery of boys 2. Possibly a gift offered to the youth by the older man 3. P.103, 357  a. Invocation to Dionysus b. Asking God to make young boy accept love of the speaker. d. Setting i. Andron-dining room ii. Set up so guests do not meet females during the party iii. Door is off-centered: so that the room can accommodate more couches 1. 7 to 9 couches, 14-27 participants  2. Relatively small group iv. P. 157 -Xenaphones 1. Care-taking of the room 2. Bringing cups, wreaths, garlanding the heads of the participants, perfume 3. The symposium would start with a libation to the gods e. Interesting combo of release and constraint i. Drinking, but civilized ii. Release: space for role playing and fantasy 1. Participants tell jokes 2. Play games--throwing the leftover wine as far as possible (kottabos) 3. When wine finished--confronted by image of Medusa/grim face iii. Constraint 1. P. 157--drink but be able to get home unaided.  2. Would be presided by some person/leader 3. P. 133--499-502 a. Individuals who lose control, not wise b. Gold and silver tested by fire, quality and characteristic of man tested by wine. c. A time when coinage was introduced; testing purity of gold and silver using fire d. The way someone handles wine is a test of his character f.
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