SATIRISTS' USE OF 'DINNER PARTY' THEME
2,2, OFELLUS: simple food is enough to satisfy hunger
gluttony brings discomfort and ill-health
cost and appearance are irrelevant to taste and enjoyment
provenance of food isn't always known
snobbery and greed are obsessed with size
changing fashions in food: people are obsessed with novelty
BUT simple doesn't mean stingy
BENEFITS good physical and mental health
rich food is appreciated as an infrequent treat
lavish food is expensive~ money can be better spent
better preparation for hard times
ham, greens; chicken/kid; raisins, nuts; wine -HOME-PRODUCED
- Simple food = symbol of simple lifestyle, healthy and untroubled. Greed and extravagance in food and other aspects of life bring problems and anxieties.
- Makes fun of snobbery and foolish fashions.
2,6 HORACE: simple food at his farm: beans, cabbage, bacon (with friends)
fussy, contemptuous of country-diet; sophisticated mouse-about-town
rough but generous, satisfied with simplicity; enjoys city life and food but learns dangers outweigh pleasures.
- Food closely linked with home/friends/security.
2,7 DAVUS exposes H's hypocrisy over food: only favours simple diet when not invited out; H is as gluttonous as his own 'hangers-on'; 'slavery' to passions (including food) is in the mind even of a freeman.
- Food presents a temptation and threatens a life of calm reason. One of the 'pleasures of the flesh' which enslaves men.
2,8 NASIDIENUS' MENU:
boar , lettuces, turnips, radishes, skirret, fish-pickle
Caecuban/Chian wine (Falernian and Alban also available)
fowl, oysters, fish (plaice/turbot )
lamprey, prawns in sauce
bread crane, goose liver, hare's wings, blackbirds, pigeons
- 'Dinner party' theme satirises contemporary upstart(s):
- lavish variety and incidents characterise host as pretentious
anxious to please gullible
- olives, dormice, sausages, damsons, pomegranates * , figpeckers * (31 )
- hare *, fowl, sow's udders (36) +
- boar with dates and grapes (40) +
- pork (49) +
- veal (59) +
- whole fowls and goose's eggs (65)
- pastry thrushes * stuffed with raisins~ nuts~ quinces *
- pork shapes (69) *
- oysters and scallops (70) +
- Pretence * : dishes pose as something else ?= T posing as noble host
- Entertainment +: dishes are pre-arranged stunts by T to amuse and amaze guests
- Extravagant, larger-than-life quality of dishes = T. Lavishness of meal causes feelings of
disgust in narrator, as T does. (NB usual meal c.3 courses. All T's courses are
acceptable in themselves, but combination is excessive. )
- Satirising practices of Nero's court?
- Satirising wealthy, vulgar ex-slave(s)
- Characterising host and guests
VIRRO' S MENU
|CLIENT (TREBIUS)||PATRON (VIRRO)|
|WATER||inferior; poor service||iced|
|BREAD||hard, mouldy||white, fresh|
|FISH||1/2 egg; 1 prawn||large crayfish|
|FISH||eel; pike||mullet, lamprey|
|FRUIT||rotten apple||choice fruits|
- Characterises Virro as wealthy but mean, greedy and selfish;
- Satirises whole class of patrons: whole patron-client system is degrading to client
- Food is only one of humiliations inflicted on client (service,crockery, no opportunity to speak) and symbol of ill-treatment.
- Criticism of client for welcoming humiliating invitations which destroy his pride ( cf. Horace 2, 7 -but H is not destitute and M doesn't humiliate him
- Here the host is dominant and vindictive, guest is figure of contempt. In H and P the hosts N and T are objects of contempt to the guests, but do have redeeming qualities.