In his work On Proverbs, Clearchus writes that “the solution of riddles (griphoi) is not alien to philosophy, and the ancients used to make a display of their knowledge by means of them. For in propounding riddles in their drinking-bouts they were not like the people of today who ask one another, what is the most delightful form of sexual commerce, or what fish has the best flavour”. Symposiac riddles were in fact a very popular sub-literary genre, as is witnessed by some epigrams of the Greek Anthology (book 14) and by the Latin Aenigmata Symposii or Symphosii, but in order to find the “philosophical riddles” mentioned by Clearchus we must turn to literary banquets. The topics dealt with in Plato’s and Xenophon’s Symposia (the praise of the god of Love; the definition of the most beautiful thing in the world) are in fact philosophical questions (what is love? What is the most beautiful thing in the world)? This paper deals with Plutarch’s position regarding the riddles (griphoi and aenigmata) banqueters were asked to solve in real symposia and the questions (problemata) banqueters addressed in literary symposia; particular attention is devoted to two of Plutarch’s works, the Quaestiones convivales and the Convivium septem sapientium.

Beta, S. (2009). Riddling at table: trivial ainigmata vs. philosophical problemata. In Symposion and philanthropia in Plutarch (pp.97-102). Classica Digitalia.

Riddling at table: trivial ainigmata vs. philosophical problemata

BETA, SIMONE
2009

Abstract

In his work On Proverbs, Clearchus writes that “the solution of riddles (griphoi) is not alien to philosophy, and the ancients used to make a display of their knowledge by means of them. For in propounding riddles in their drinking-bouts they were not like the people of today who ask one another, what is the most delightful form of sexual commerce, or what fish has the best flavour”. Symposiac riddles were in fact a very popular sub-literary genre, as is witnessed by some epigrams of the Greek Anthology (book 14) and by the Latin Aenigmata Symposii or Symphosii, but in order to find the “philosophical riddles” mentioned by Clearchus we must turn to literary banquets. The topics dealt with in Plato’s and Xenophon’s Symposia (the praise of the god of Love; the definition of the most beautiful thing in the world) are in fact philosophical questions (what is love? What is the most beautiful thing in the world)? This paper deals with Plutarch’s position regarding the riddles (griphoi and aenigmata) banqueters were asked to solve in real symposia and the questions (problemata) banqueters addressed in literary symposia; particular attention is devoted to two of Plutarch’s works, the Quaestiones convivales and the Convivium septem sapientium.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11365/22284
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