Courtesans and Fishcakes has ratings and 51 reviews. Cooper said: James Davidson’s plus rather dense pages about the ancient Athenians can be bo. J. N. DAVIDSON: Courtesans and Fishcakes: the Consuming Passions of Classical Athens. Pp. xxvi + , map, pls. London: HarperCollin. Cased,? Athenians, the richest and most powerful of the Greeks, were as Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens.

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The writing, when Cougtesans has the discipline to eschew the cute, is strong and the argument that the Greeks, lacking the clear cardinal directions of the proscriptive Judeo-Christian moral compass, were extremely anxious about moderation and self-control – nothing radically new for the most part solid, but the book feels bloated.

Courtesans and fishcakes James N.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

The topic was language: About Contact News Giving to the Press. James Davidson’s Courtesans and Fishcakes provides an “extracurricular” view of ancient Greek ways, manners, and mores. Same thing with drinking: The way Athens was run Excessive drinking was scorned, but Demostheses was criticized for drinking water.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, Davidson

In most literary references, tyranny is not associated with restrictive policies but the lifestyle of the tyrant. The Greeks were obsessed with fish eating. Small fishes that added to diet were affordable by everyone including workers, and the courtesans may just have been cheap enough for slaves to afford them. You are made to understand that current morality does not apply to the subject matter of ancient Greece.


Davidson’s book opens a door into a classjcal approach to history. All of this is supported by numerous quotations from Classic Greek literature – theatre, philosophical treatises etc.

Start reading Courtesans and Fishcakes on your Kindle in under a minute. His constant contradictions of his own research makes it hard to take him seriously.

Just be warned that he likes to write in omegas and taus and stuff. All sorts of information.

Courtesans and Fishcakes

This book is dense but fun and once things really get going, it’s easy to fly through it provided you have no distractions. Most books about the Ancient Greeks focus on the origins of courtesahs theatre, democracy and mathematics. The new laws were then literally chiseled in stone, and the stone tablets placed prominently in public. Moreover, he claimed there was a special dispensation that eel-sellers and eel-fishers should pay no tax.

Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism Cathy Gere. It worked for them though. The best way to explain what this book is like to read, is this: Did this culinary equality lead to political equality? My library Help Advanced Book Search. The specifics of eating go down to the very fingers used to eat – children were taught to use one finger for kept fish and two for fresh fish. The dustjacket might lead you to believe that this is a fun bit of pop history come for the sex, stay for the fish!


Jul 01, Stephanie McGarrah rated it really liked it Shelves: In other words, James Davidson writes, he reflected the culture of ancient Greece in which he lived, a culture of passions and pleasures, of food, drink, and sex before—and in concert with—politics and principles.

Not to mention all kinds of interesting tidbits about drinking-parties, taverns, escorts, and street-walkers. Hetaeras freaking crack me up. Even if you are just a reader of historical fiction, your enjoyment level will be doubled by your encounter with this remarkable piece of scholarship.

About a month ago, in a thread chronicling the adventures of Governor Spitzer, the following editorial comment was quoted: It is a work both enlightening and maddeningly unfocused having sources including the writings from ‘theatre’ and ‘traditional’ authors known for their more cerebral works. Well, there were always the common street whores, who hung out by the city gates and charged fixed rates for different positions.

It fell outside of the normal food categories in that there was no sacrifice to the gods involved and no ceremonial partitioning of the food, as opposed to butchered meat, for instance.