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In the beginning the symposium must have been a drinking party which expanded in ancient greece to involve entertainment and music but ultimately intellectual discussions and lectures.These people, owing to their inability to carry on a familiar conversation over their wine by means of their own voices and discussions—[347d] such is their lack of education—put a premium on flute-girls by hiring the extraneous voice of the flute at a high price, and carry on their intercourse by means of its utterance.But where the party consists of thorough gentlemen who have had a proper education, you will see neither flute-girls nor dancing-girls nor harp-girls, but only the company contenting themselves with their own conversation, and none of these fooleries and frolics—each speaking and listening decently in his turn,…” There were many religious festivals, but it is not clear that these should be considered entertainment.The most important form of entertainment was that provided by bards.Next in importance was music, provided by the flute and the lyre.
The symposia were parties for men where they ate, drank, conversed on intellectual subjects, and listened to music.Women could be part of the entertainment and probably were the servants. The symposium had its religious aspect as reported by Plato in his , page 175e, “So Socrates drew up and had his dinner with the rest of them, and then, after the libation and the usual hymn and so forth, they began to turn their attention to wine.” That the symposium is also an instrument of intellectual pursuits is revealed later in the same work by Plato, page 176e, “Very well, then, said Eryximachus, since it is agreed that we need none of us drink more than we think is good for us, I also propose that we dispense with the services of the flute girl who has just come in, and let her go and play to herself or to the women inside there, whichever she prefers, while we spend our evening in the discussion of a subject which, if you think fit, I am prepared to name.” Symposia were an important mechanism for the development of intellectual pursuits that have proved so beneficial for the later development of philosophy, science, and literary arts that owe such a large debt to the ancient Greeks.A symposium was a convivial meeting for drinking, music and intellectual discussion among the ancient Greeks. Plato, Protagoras [347c] “For it seems to me that arguing about poetry is comparable to the wine-parties of common market-folk. Flute girls and hetarae became a constant fixture of these parties but they did not seem to diminish the intelletual pursuits and in many cases enhanced them.For the ancient Greeks philosophy was a form of entertainment and women were involved with philosophy in ancient Greece.
The most important were Arete of Cyrene, Aristoclea, Axiothea, Damo, Diotima, Elpinice, Hipparchia, Leontium, Perictyone, Theano, and Theoclea.