Courtesans and Fishcakes has ratings and 51 reviews. Cooper said: James Davidson’s plus rather dense pages about the ancient Athenians can be bo. J. N. DAVIDSON: Courtesans and Fishcakes: the Consuming Passions of Classical Athens. Pp. xxvi + , map, pls. London: HarperCollin. Cased,? Athenians, the richest and most powerful of the Greeks, were as Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens.

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The book brings a strange, foreign people to life. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Well, try this on for size: Jul 01, Stephanie McGarrah rated it really liked it Shelves: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. He decided to shift the debate in a new direction: I consumijg have numerous reasons to question many of my beliefs of Greek as only pugnacious and terribly staid scholarly chaps.

Davidson will frequently back up a point with six to eight evidentiary quotes, which ends up feeling more insecure than thorough. Some men would throw away their patrimonies in pursuit of a hetaera. It’s difficult to find books on Ancient Greece that have a new or different slant, but Davidson’s book is full of classsical facts about how the Ancient Athenians ate and drank and how it tied into their social and political life. In this cultural history of Athens in its heyday, ie the High Classical period, Davidson explores what drove the Athenians.

Our ideas about fluid sexuality are charmingly provincial 4. As any reader of the Symposium knows, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates conversed over lavish banquets, kept watch on who was eating too much fish, and imbibed liberally without ever getting drunk. Intense devotion to such women betrayed a want of self-control.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, Davidson

They put down the shuttle and got down to bidness. The book is written in an acessible language without being condescending or dumbed down, and the author shows signs of good common sense and a sense of humor, two attributes that are often sadly lacking in history books.


What clssical him was the table-manners of another guest, a young man who was taking no part in the discussion, too much engrossed in the food in front of him.

The Epic of Gilgamesh. If you enjoy cultural history, then being able to learn passionss the motivations of the Athenians during this period is something you will enjoy. My library Help Advanced Book Search. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life.

This book is probably my chief go-to book for my own stories set in the same era specifically for the “useless” or arcane factoid–if I had to study it for its own sake or, heaven forbid, and exam or big paper, it would not be fun. Aug 13, Meredith rated it really liked it.

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You are made to understand that current morality does not apply to the subject matter of ancient Greece. I reviewed this book for the journal, The Ancient World, but cannot find a digital text version of consumkng.

Courtesans and Fishcakes

Jun 07, Fade rated it really liked it. So, seeing prostitutes or even being a prostitute wasn’t so bad as long as one could control one’s spending on such hedonistic pleasures. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. Fishcaks rebuts Foucault’s contention that the fear of penetration was a major stimulus in the Athenian psyche, positing instead that it was a fear of desire—unleashed, unrestrained, uncontrollable—that the average A Courtesans and Fishcakes is a really fascinating, lively and original look at the world of Ancient Greece.

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

Want to Read saving…. Well, there were always the common street whores, who hung out by the city gates and charged fixed rates for different positions. And of course it’s about politics, since it’s about Athens. There’s something there to come back to, I think.

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The book is about pleasure, but it’s not a light read. Feb 27, Rk Wild rated it liked it Shelves: It fell outside of the normal food categories in that there was no sacrifice to the gods involved and no ceremonial partitioning of the food, as opposed to butchered meat, for instance. The flavour of this yearning is easily sampled in the work of Archestratus of Gela in Sicily, from whom the eulogy of the boar-fish is taken.

The primary point that Davidson seems to be dancing around the entire time is that Athenians were mainly concerned with losing control of one’s appetites, and this was what they found threatening. I went into this book thinking it would be about recipes and gossip but instead it’s more of a study of what luxury actually MEANT to the ancient Greeks.

Conspicuous consumption — not so much. While it’s true to say that we can’t map 19th or 20th century preoccupations with class tensions onto the largely agrarian world of ancient Attica, I don’t think that means that such tensions were absent—particularly when I can’t remember Davidson acknowledging that the sources from which he worked were all written by men, and almost exclusively by men with the means and leisure to support their writing.