Symposium, Physical and Social Health in Plutarch's <i>Table Talk</i>

Maria Vamvouri Ruffy

in The Philosopher's Banquet

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588954
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728907 | DOI:
Symposium, Physical and Social Health in Plutarch's Table Talk

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This chapter deals with the therapeutic effects of an ideal symposium, as it is defined by the narrator of Table Talk and his circle, for the body and for the social group. The relationships between physiology, medicine, the banquet and social life appears in the recurrence of key words such as kairos, metron, and athorubos, all seen as contributions of philosophical practice to the symposium. Timely musical entertainments, timely logos, and the absence of turmoil (thorubos) help to maintain or restore both the equilibrium of the banquet and the well-being of the guests. The equivalence between the realm of the symposium, and the physiological, medical and social realms is also highlighted through parallels between the ideal leader of the symposium (sympostarch) and the Hippocratic physician. Ultimately, participating in an ideal symposium – or reading about ideal symposia – has positive effects on the individual and on the social group.

Keywords: symposium; medicine; philosophical practice; kairos; logos; symposiarch; thorubos; Hippocratic physician; therapeutic effects

Chapter.  11756 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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