The Peasant’s Banquet

Gluttony on the Move in the Greek Poetic Consciousness

EVAN I. LEVINE (Texas Tech University)

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Abstract: This paper proposes that there are certain thematic shifts within the Greek poetic corpus, mirroring the transition of verse from an Archaic and Classical popular art to a form of elite Hellenistic entertainment. These shifts are mapped through a survey  of gluttony and overindulgence as a poetic device from an Archaic Epic, Lyric, and Iambic means of attack and shame to a Hellenistic and New Comedic form of quasi-impolite comic endearment. Finally, a brief examination of late antique Greek verse exhibits that the implications of these themes continue to shift alongside larger social changes in the ancient world. As these poems began to be composed for an elite audience, gluttons take on new identities. No longer are they the Other, someone in the out-group to be attacked and ostracized, but elite members of the author’s own social circle, satirized but not shunned.

About the Author: Evan I.\:Levine is a graduate student in both Classics (M.A) and Geography (M.S) at Texas Tech University, specializing in Greek landscape archaeology, archaeological methodology, and the study of Archaic Greek epigram. His interests also include Greek poetics, especially Archaic iambos, Archaic lyric, and the Hellenistic reception of Archaic poetics. His Master’s thesis explores the spatiality and monumentality of Archaic inscribed epigram, through the use of GIS and photogrammetry. In terms of archaeology, he is currently a staff member of the Mazi Archaological Project (Brown University/Carleton University). He has previously held positions on the Binchester Excavation Project (Stanford University/Texas Tech University), and has excavated in Italy, Jordan, and the United States.