Athenaeus (Ancient Greek Polytonic|Ἀθήναιος Nαυκράτιος - Athếnaios Naukratios, Latin Athenaeus Naucratita), of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century A.D. The Suda only tells us that he lived "in the times of Marcus (sc. Aurelius)"; but the contempt with which he speaks of Commodus (died 192) shows that he survived that emperor.

Athenaeus himself states that he was the author of a treatise on the "thratta"—a kind of fish mentioned by Archippus and other comic poets—and of a history of the Syrian kings. Both works are lost.

We still possess the "Deipnosophistae", which mean "dinner-table philosophers" or perhaps "authorities on banquets", in fifteen books. The first two books, and parts of the third, eleventh and fifteenth, are only extant in epitome, but otherwise we seem to possess the work entire. It is an immense store-house of information, chiefly on matters connected with dining, but also containing remarks on music, songs, dances, games, courtesans, and luxury. Nearly 800 writers and 2500 separate works are referred to by Athenaeus; and one of his characters (not necessarily to be identified with the historical author himself) boasts of having read 800 plays of Athenian Middle Comedy alone. Were it not for Athenaeus, much valuable information about the ancient world would be missing, and many ancient Greek authors such as including Archestratus would be almost entirely unknown. Book XIII, for example, is an important source for the study of sexuality in classical and Hellenistic Greece.

The Deipnosophistae professes to be an account given by an individual named Athenaeus to his friend Timocrates of a banquet held at the house of Larentius, a wealthy book-collector and patron of the arts. It is thus a dialogue within a dialogue, after the manner of Plato, but the conversation extends to enormous length. The topics for discussion generally arise from the course of the dinner itself, but extend to literary and historical matters of every description, including abstruse points of grammar. The guests supposedly quote from memory. The actual sources of the material preserved in the Deipnosophistae remain obscure, but much of it probably comes at second-hand from from early scholars.

The twenty-nine named guests include individuals called Galen and Ulpian, but they are all probably fictitious personages, and the majority take no part in the conversation. If the character Ulpian is identical with the famous jurist, the Deipnosophistae may have been written after his death in 228; but the jurist was murdered by the Praetorian guards, whereas Ulpian in Athenaeus dies a natural death.

The complete version of the text, with the gaps noted above, is preserved in only one manuscript, conventionally referred to as A. The epitomized version of the text is preserved in two manuscripts, conventionally known as C and E. The standard edition of the text is Kaibel's Teubner. The standard numbering is drawn largely from Casaubon.

The most valuable recent publication about Athenaeus and "The Deipnosophistae" is "Athenaeus and his world", a collection of 41 essays on various aspects of the work.


* Aldine, 1524 (editio princeps)
* Casaubon, 1597-1600
* Schweighäuser, 1801-1807
* Dindorf, 1827
* Meineke, 1859-1867
* Kaibel, 1887-1890
* Gulick, 1927-41 (Loeb Classical Library; 7 vols.)
* Olson, 2006- (new Loeb Classical Library; projected 8 vols.)


* "Athenaeus and his world: reading Greek culture in the Roman Empire" ed. David Braund and John Wilkins. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000. ISBN 0859896617.
* "Athéneé et les fragments d'historiens. Actes du colloque de Strasbourg (16–18 juin 2005)". Lenfant, Dominique (ed.). Collections de l'Université Marc Bloch - Strasbourg. Études d'archéologie et d'histoire ancienne. Paris: De Boccard, 2007. ISBN 270180230X. Pp. 474.

External links

*" [ The Deipnosophists] ", translated by C. D. Yonge, at [ The Literature Collection]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ATHENAEUS — I. ATHENAEUS Cosmographus Graecus. Item Peripateticus Philosophus e Sedeucia Ciliciae, Augusti temporibus, Princeps aliquandiu patriae suae, deinde contractâ amicitiâ cum Muraena, qui contra Augustum conspiraverat, cum illo aufugit, captusque cum …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Athenaeus — Athénée Pour les articles homonymes, voir Athénée (homonymie). Athénée, en grec ancien Ἀθήναιος Nαυκρατίτης / Athếnaios, né à Naucratis, en Égypte, vers 170 ap. J. C., mort au IIIe siècle, était un érudit et grammairien grec …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Athenaeus — /ath euh nee euhs, nay /, n. late 2nd century A.D., Greek philosopher and rhetorician at Naucratis in Egypt. * * * ▪ Greek grammarian and author flourished AD 200, b. Naukratis, Egypt       Greek grammarian and author of Deipnosophistai (“The… …   Universalium

  • Athenaeus, S. — S. Athenaeus, M. (31. März). Griech. Αϑηναῖος = ein Athener, aus Athen gebürtig etc. – Der hl. Athenäus war ein Martyrer, der bei den Griechen verehrt wird. S. S. Theophilus …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon

  • Athenaeus — /ath euh nee euhs, nay /, n. late 2nd century A.D., Greek philosopher and rhetorician at Naucratis in Egypt …   Useful english dictionary

  • Athenaeus (disambiguation) — Athenaeus can mean:*Athenaeus, of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian. (2nd and beginning of the 3rd century A.D.) *Athenaeus (son of Pericleidas), was a Spartan who lived during the Peloponnesian War and signed the Peace of… …   Wikipedia

  • Athenaeus of Seleucia — Athenaeus of Seleucia, was a philosopher of the Peripatetic school who lived in the 1st centuries BC/AD. He is mentioned by Strabo [Strabo, xiv.] as a contemporary. He was for some time the leading demagogue in his native city, but afterwards… …   Wikipedia

  • Athenaeus of Attaleia — /at l uy euh/ Greek physician in Rome, fl. A.D. c40 65. * * * …   Universalium

  • Athenaeus of Attaleia — /at l uy euh/ Greek physician in Rome, fl. A.D. c40 65 …   Useful english dictionary

  • АФИНЕЙ —    • Athenaeus,          Άθήναιος,        1. механик, родом из Сицилии, современник Архимеда; из сочинений его сохранилась статья περι μηχανημάτων, об устройстве и употреблении военных машин;        2. грамматик и софист, родился в Навкратиде в… …   Реальный словарь классических древностей

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.