History – The Symposium in Athens

History – The Symposium in Athens

The Symposium in Athens

In this article we will see: The Symposium in Athens, history, the chronicle of human civilization, serves as a window to the past, illuminating the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies over millennia. Through the study of historical events, we unravel the complexities of our collective heritage and gain insight into the forces shaping our present and future.

Summary : History – The Symposium in Athens

The Symposium, a hallmark of Athenian social life, epitomized the fusion of intellectual discourse, conviviality, and cultural refinement in ancient Athens. Originating as a gathering of elite Athenian men to discuss philosophical ideas over wine, the Symposium evolved into a multifaceted event, blending music, dance, poetry, and philosophical debate. As a quintessential expression of Athenian hospitality and camaraderie, the Symposium provided a platform for the exchange of ideas, the celebration of art, and the cultivation of social bonds, shaping the fabric of Athenian society.

History – The Symposium in Athens

When the guests had finished with the main courses, the slaves would carry away the tables, only to return shortly after laden with various desserts: cakes, nuts, olives, and seasonal fruits. Then the wine was served in grandeur. As it was strong and almost as thick as syrup, it was usually diluted with water. Servants would mix this concoction in a large bowl before filling delicate terra cotta cups, as fine and delicate as porcelain.

The main entertainment of the evening, the symposium, would begin… Firstly, the host would empty three cups of wine in honor of the gods of Olympus, the heroes, and Zeus. He would wish good health to his guests, and they would reciprocate the gesture. Then, he would signal the start of the festivities: young and beautiful slaves would dance and play the flute. During important feasts, jesters, acrobats, and jugglers would spice up the program. However, Athenians never got bored among themselves.

They were far too witty for that. Each possessed a personal stock of songs and good stories. And then, there was conversation… When the lantern light began to flicker and the guests started to nod off, a final toast would be raised to Hermes, the messenger of the gods and protector of travelers. Then the guests would bid their host goodnight. Outside, in the street, slaves awaited their masters to escort them home by torchlight. However, at the first cockcrow, everyone had to be up to reconvene at the marketplace.

In summary, it was a very pleasant existence. And if an Athenian did not own a beautiful home, all they had to do was look towards the Acropolis to admire the most magnificent monuments in the world, built on the orders of Pericles. Pericles had enlisted the services of Greece’s most famous architects. He asked one of his personal friends, the great sculptor Phidias, to draw up plans for the temples and create models of the statues. When the work began, almost all the artists and skilled workers of Athens participated. But the Athenians never used teams.

Things were done differently: each worker was hired to complete a specific portion of the immense project. For example, a stonemason was commissioned to carve only one column, barely roughed out; the owner of a large cart was asked only to transport a specific number of marble blocks. Each person managed with the few slaves or free men they had on hand to help. When the temple columns were erected, carpenters were needed to build the wooden roofs.

Then Phidias’ students began sculpting the relief figures that would adorn the marble plaques at the top of the columns. In their workshops, metal casters were busy casting large bronze statues. Goldsmiths, dyers, upholsterers, ivory sculptors—all were busy adorning the new temples of their gods. Each person also competed in skill to outdo their neighbor. Never before had there been such a massive production of masterpieces.

Phidias himself crafted the colossal bronze statue of Athena that was to stand at the entrance to the Acropolis. For the goddess’s temple, the artist created another, in ivory, even more marvelous. This second Athena seemed alive: her skin was satin-like, and the folds of her golden cloak fell so naturally around her that they seemed to quiver in the breeze.

Never before had Greek statues come so close to reality. In the age of Pericles, sculptors like Phidias began to have serious knowledge of anatomy, which greatly aided them in their art. The new statues were more harmonious and closer to life than the old ones. Upon seeing them, the people immediately thought of the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with the statue of Galatea he had just made, and who begged Aphrodite to animate the beautiful marble so he could marry her.

Every Greek artist took pride in producing something perfect. It was his way of resembling a god a little. Thus, the architect who drew the plan of a temple ingeniously gave it a shape that was impossible to change without making it less beautiful.

Once the construction of the Acropolis temples was completed, a crowd of foreigners from all over the world continued to flock to Athens to admire the wonderful beauties of the Acropolis, whose fame had crossed the seas. When their boat entered the port of Piraeus, the travelers already had a glimpse of what awaited them: in the distance, the gigantic bronze Athena—Phidias’ work—stood eight kilometers away. When they arrived in Athens and climbed the steps of the Acropolis, they began by passing through a monumental entrance with superbly decorated columns: the Propylaea.

To its left, the visitor had a gallery of paintings, and to its right, a charming little temple dedicated to the goddess of victory. Beyond the gigantic portico stretched rooms, then a large open space flooded with sunlight. Beyond that stood the famous bronze Athena. However, after paying homage to the goddess, the foreigners’ gaze turned to the right… to the most wonderful of all Greek temples.

Last word about : History – The Symposium in Athens

In essence, the Symposium encapsulates the essence of Athenian intellectual and social life, embodying the spirit of inquiry, creativity, and conviviality that characterized the golden age of Athens. Through its fusion of philosophical discourse, artistic expression, and social interaction, the Symposium fostered a sense of community, stimulating intellectual exchange and inspiring cultural innovation. As we reflect on the enduring legacy of the Symposium, we gain insight into the rich tapestry of Athenian civilization, where the pursuit of knowledge, the appreciation of beauty, and the joy of fellowship converged in harmony.

Training platforms

Zadibridge is a very recent website which contains many diverse and varied articles, its articles cover many aspects of life, including sciences, cuisine and folklore and various cultures.

At the same time, Zadibridge site offers three educational platforms, two of which are free. To access the educational platform on YouTube, please click (here). This channel contains free products, most of which are videos that do not give teachers the benefit of tracking their learners. We also offer our documentaries: to access the documentary channel on the Zadibridge, please click (here). And, if you wish to access our training platform which offers different courses in French, English and Arabic, please click (here), our training platform is a targeted platform, its products are professional and their prices are very competitive.

Similar Posts:

Other Posts:

A final word

We hope that this article helped you to get a better understanding of History. For more articles related to mankind History in specific, or scineces; in general, please visit our Home Page.