Chapter Twenty-Six. The Culture of the Symposion

  1. Kurt A. Raaflaub Professor Director2 and
  2. Hans van Wees Professor3
  1. Oswyn Murray Fellow

Published Online: 17 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444308761.ch26

A Companion to Archaic Greece

A Companion to Archaic Greece

How to Cite

Murray, O. (2009) The Culture of the Symposion, in A Companion to Archaic Greece (eds K. A. Raaflaub and H. van Wees), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444308761.ch26

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Brown University, USA

  2. 3

    University College London, UK

Author Information

  1. Balliol College, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631230458

Online ISBN: 9781444308761



  • culture of the Symposion;
  • study of the Symposion;
  • symposion was, together with the gymnasium - circuit of international festival games;
  • “Drinking Greek style” (Graeco more bibere) - adopting a specific set of customs regarded as quintessentially Greek;
  • rituals of consumption;
  • entertainments - other forms of luxury part of sympotic culture;
  • social functions, Spartan army in Herodotus (1.65) - based on sympotic drinking groups;
  • The symposion - remaining a characteristic social practice among Greeks throughout the classical period


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Study of the Symposion

  • The Evidence

  • Basic Rules

  • Origins

  • Rituals of Consumption

  • Entertainments

  • Social Functions

  • Decline