Essay about Book Review: Courtesans and Fishcakes

1240 Words Jun 6th, 2014 5 Pages
Courtesans and Fishcakes written by James Davidson explore the ancient Greek culture of the Athenians and elaborate on not only the desire for sex, but the appetites of life. Author James Davidson is a professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. In his biography, it says that he is a regular contributor to the London Review of Book and the author of the award winning The Greeks and Greek Love. Courtesans and Fishcakes is divided into four parts: Feasts, Desire, The Citizen, and The City. Within each part of the book, there are multiple sub-sections that go into depth about the particular section of each ‘chapter’. In Part I: Feasts, Davidson goes into some background of the ancient Greek …show more content…
Davidson also argued that there was a possibility in Athens that one day, their infant democracy could be tainted by public excess and that moderation would soon be left behind. In supporting his argument/thesis he provides more than enough examples from the ancient Greek Athens and it is almost as if I was there in this time period. The way that Davidson is able to go in depth about each behavior and mannerism allows me, the reader, to fully grasp the desires of the Athenians. Davidson not only provided me with the inside look into the desires, but gave me a reason as to why it was important to check the desires and to ensure moderation. Throughout Courtesans and Fishcakes, Davidson emphasizes the word ‘desire’. He does this by explaining three important desire of Athenian culture. First, he explains the importance of eating fish. He uses a line from the great Socrates, “And can we say, my friends,’ he began, ‘for what kind of behavior a man is called an opsophagos?” In context, the situation is a feast where Socrates is fascinated by the way the boy was eating. The word ‘opsophagos’ is given to those people who have a predilection to eating fish. Davidson uses this line to highlight how moderation was something of importance. Like I stated in the introduction paragraph, this inability to eat moderately raised concern because it showed

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