The death of Alexander #10 - Athenaeus

This moderated forum is for discussion of Alexander the Great. Inappropriate posts will be deleted without warning. Examples of inappropriate posts are:
* The Greek/Macedonian debate
* Blatant requests for pre-written assignments by lazy students - we don't mind the subtle ones ;-)
* Foul or inappropriate language

Moderator: pothos moderators

Post Reply
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 734
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 am

The death of Alexander #10 - Athenaeus

Post by Alexias »

Athenaeus: The Deipnosophistae Book X The Loeb edition © 1930

Taken from ... /10C*.html
No desire is more insistent than the desire to drink…. Hence also Sophocles says: 'Though you offered a thirsty man all sorts of wise conceits, you could not give him greater joy than by giving him a drink.'… Proteas of Macedon, also, drank a very great deal, as Ephippus says in his work On the Funeral of Alexander and Hephaestion, and enjoyed a sturdy physique throughout his life, although he was completely devoted to the practice of drinking. Alexander, for example, once called for a six-quart cup and after a drink proposed the health of Proteas. He took the cup, and when he had sung the king's praises he drank, to the applause of everybody. A little while afterwards Proteas demanded the same cup, and again drinking, pledged the king. Alexander took it and pulled at it bravely, but could not hollowed out; on the contrary, he sank back on his cushion and let the cup drop from his hands. As a result, he fell ill and died, because, as Ephippus says Dionysus was angry at him for besieging his native city, Thebes. Alexander also drank a very great deal, so that after the spree he would sleep continuously for two days and two nights. This is revealed in his Journals, written by Eumenes of Cardia and Diodotus of Erythrae. Menander says in The Flatterer: BIAS. In Cappadocia, Struthias, I drank up three times a golden beaker holding ten half-pints. STRUTHIAS. Then you have drunk more than King Alexander. B. Not less, that's certain, by Athena! S. It's a good deal, to be sure.' and Nicobulê, or whoever ascribed to her the compilations, says that when Alexander was dining with Medeius of Thessaly he pledged the health of everyone at the dinner, there being Tarentum in all, and accepted the same number of toasts from all; he then left the party and soon after went to sleep. °But the sophist Callisthenes, according to Lynceus of Samos in his Reminiscences and Aristobulus and Chares in their Histories, pushed aside the cup of unmixed win when it came to him at Alexander's symposium, and when somebody said to him, 'Why don't you drink?' he replied, 'I don't want to be in need of one of Asclepius's cups after drinking from one of Alexander's.'

".. For Persians learn to dance just as they learn to ride horseback; and they think the motion incident to this practice is very suitable for getting exercise to develop bodily strength.' Alexander carried his carousing to such a point, according to Carystius of Pergamum in Historical Notes, that he even went revelling in a chariot drawn by asses; the Persian kings did this too, Carystius says; perhaps, therefore, it was for this reason that he had no appetite for sexual indulgence; for Aristotle, in his Physical Problems, says that the semen of such persons becomes watery; Hieronymus, in his Epistles, quotes Theophrastus as saying that Alexander was not in good condition for sexual commerce. Olympias, Aristotle, and Philip were aware of this, and actually caused the Thessalian courtesan Callixeina, who was a very beautiful woman, to lie with him; for they feared he might prove to be a womanish man, and Olympias often begged him to have intercourse with Callixeina.

"Philip, Alexander's father, was another drink-lover, as Theopompus records in the twenty-sixth book of his Histories. And in another part of the story he writes: 'Philip was a madcap and inclined to rush headlong into danger, partly by nature and partly because of drink; for he was a deep drinker, and was often drunk when he sallied into battle. And in the fifty-third book, after relating the events at Chaeroneia, and telling how Philip had invited to dinner the Athenian ambassadors who had arrived, Theopompus continues: 'When they had withdrawn, Philip immediately sent for some of his boon companions, and told them to summon the flute-girls, Aristonicus the harp-singer, Dorion the flute-player, and all the rest of the crowd accustomed to drink with him; for Philip took such persons with him everywhere, and he was always equipped for many tools for a drinking-bout and a party. Being, in fact, a drink-lover and quite dissolute in character, he also had many coarse fellows in his train, as well as many who were versed in music or who could say funny things. And so, after drinking the whole night through, and getting very drunk and committing every folly, he dismissed all the rest of the company and made them withdraw, while he, as dawn was coming on, went to revel with the Athenian ambassadors.' So Carystius in his Historical Notes says: 'When Philip made up his mind to get drunk, he used to say, "Now we must drink; for it is enough that Antipater is sober." And once when he was throwing dice, and someone announced that Antipater had arrived, he debated for a while and then pushed the gaming -board under the couch.'
Post Reply