NYT: UC professor explains ancient Greeks' drinking parties

Classics professor Kathleen Lynch will give public lecture on Greek symposium

Long before "Sex and the City" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" popularized day drinking, there was the ancient Greek symposium — a gathering of men who discussed the issues of the day over the finest vintages.

University of Cincinnati Classics professor Kathleen Lynch will give a public Zoom lecture on the topic at 1 p.m. Thursday, April, 15, to the Archaeological Institute of America. Titled "A Toast to Ancient Greek Wine Drinking," the lecture will explain the social customs of the symposium. 

"The ancient Greeks took their wine drinking seriously," Lynch says in her lecture description. "The symposium was a drinking party for men with rules and expectations. They kept the group small so that all could participate in a single conversation, and the wine flowed, but watered down so that the drinkers stood on the edge of tipsy and drunk."

The New York Times publicized the event in its Food section's popular Front Burner column this week.

The lecture is free, but registration is required here.

Lynch is the author of the 2011 book “The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House Near the Athenian Agora,” winner of the prestigious James R. Wiseman Book Award. In it she examines pottery from the Athenian agora or marketplace, including the vessels used during the symposium.

“Each person had his own cup. Everyone drank in rounds so nobody got more drunk than their neighbor,” she said. “The whole point was to get everyone to that happy, tipsy level where tongues are loosened and good times are had but not go over the edge.”

Read more about Lynch's research in UC News.

Featured image at top: UC Classics professor Kathleen Lynch. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

Kathleen Lynch sits in her office.

UC Classics professor Kathleen Lynch will give a lecture to the Archaeological Institute of America on Thursday, April 15 at 1 p.m. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

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