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Literary Banquets of the Imperial Era

Literary Banquets of the Imperial Era

Sponsored by the International Plutarch Society. Organized by Jeffrey Beneker, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Zoe Stamatopoulou, Washington University in St. Louis.

Though its origins date back to Classical Athens, sympotic literature was quite popular during the Roman imperial period and was produced by a diverse group of authors, including Plutarch, Athenaeus, Aulus Gellius, and Lucian, in both Greek and Latin. Several scholarly works published in the past decade, such as The Philosopher’s Banquet edited by F. Klotz and K. Oikonomopoulou (OUP 2011), J. König’s Saints and Symposiasts (CUP 2012), and Y. Scolan’s Le convive et le savant (Les Belles Lettres 2017), have drawn attention to the complexities of Imperial sympotic literature. This panel aims at furthering the study of literary banquets and sympotic conversations authored by prose writers of the Early and Late Empire, including early Christian writers.  To this end, we welcome papers on the form, content, and context of literary banquets, on the development of sympotic literature and/or its relationship with miscellany and non-sympotic dialogues. We encourage panelists to focus on comparative studies or works of particular authors, as well as papers that deal with the intersection of sympotic literature with philosophy, rhetoric, law, religion, poetry, ancient literary criticism, and ancient medicine. Some preference may be given to papers that shed light on Plutarch’s aims and methods, but our primary goal is to assemble a collection of papers that explore various aspects of the sympotic literature of this period.

Abstracts should be sent electronically, in MS Word format or PDF, to Jeffrey Beneker ( In preparing the abstract, please follow the formatting guidelines for individual abstracts that appear on the Society for Classical Studies web site, and plan for a paper that takes no more than 20 minutes to deliver. Abstracts will be judged anonymously. Membership in the International Plutarch Society is not required for participation in this panel, but all presenters must be members of the SCS. The deadline is March 1, 2019.

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