MATRO PITANEUS, Symposium Atticum fr. I, 18–21 (O.-S.): echini

A fragment of Matro of Pitane preserved by Atheneus of Naucratis and conventionally entitled the “Attic Dinner-Party” is a masterpiece of epic gastronomy parody of 4-th c. BC. Th is article is devoted to interpretation of vv. I.18–21 where a narrator says that at the dinner-party he throws the sea-urchins down onto the fl oor and they roll among the feet of slaves like Patroclus’ helmet among the feet of horses. Th e long spiny hairs are pulled out from their head by the roots. Th e problem is why the narrator throws the urchins, whether he eats them or not, and who pulls out the spines of urchins: the narrator in order to make them edible or servants or the seaurchins themselves. I intend to prove that the narrator eats the sea-urchins with a great pleasure and throws their empty shells down. One of the arguments of my interpretation is ancient mosaics in technique of Asarotos oikos showing the picturesque dinner garbage. I think that the passage impresses better, if the point is that the sea-urchins themselves tear out their spines (I.21) like the Homeric Agamemnon does his hair (Il.10.15). Some inconveniences of verses I.18–21 could be explained by a technique of cento.

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