The Louisiana Classicist

January 29, 2014

advice from the Ancient Greeks – alcohol

Filed under: just for fun,link — Ann E. M. Ostrom @ 10:26 am
Tags: , , , ,

Youth krater Museum of Cycladic Art 781

I just came across this little tidbit of advice from Ancient Greece on drinking, via New Republic Magazine:

I mix three drinks for the temperate:
One for health, which they empty first,
The second for love and pleasure,
The third for sleep.
When these cups are emptied, the wise go home.
The fourth drink is ours no longer, but belongs to violence,
The fifth to uproar,
The sixth to drunken revelry,
The seventh to black eyes,
The eighth to the police,
The ninth to anger,
And the tenth to madness and the hurling of furniture.

A little late for New Year’s Eve parties, but still in plenty of time for Mardi Gras!  However I couldn’t let the quote from “Semele or Dionysus” go unverified, so a little digging turned up a reference to Eubolus, middle comic poet of the early 4th century BCE.  Then the rabbit hole led me to a lovely article on the website of BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), with a more literal translation of the section of the play (follow the link for Greek vocabulary too):

I mix three kraters only for those who are wise.
One is for good health, which they drink first.
The second is for love and pleasure.
The third is for sleep, and when they have drunk it those who are wise wander homewards.
The fourth is no longer ours, but belongs to arrogance.
The fifth leads to shouting.
The sixth to a drunken revel.
The seventh to black eyes.
The eighth to a summons.
The ninth to bile.
The tenth to madness, in that it makes people throw things.

Here’s to health, and not throwing things!


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