Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2021


This multi-disciplinary project demonstrates that the archaic and classical Greek symposium was a moralizing and educative space that governed the consumption of wine through the social protocol of the metron “measured restraint.” In Chapter One, I investigate sympotic drinking behavior contextualized within this concept of the metron as described by Theognis. Utilizing literary evidence and art historical representations of drinking at the symposium, I argue that a specified drinking protocol encouraged the community to benefit the male aristocratic citizen and ultimately their place in the polis. The symposium was an educative and moralizing space that encouraged communal harmony and discouraged base behavior and selfish endeavors, including excessive drinking. These ideals are particularly well-expressed in the Theognidea and scenes of sympotic events on drinking vessels. Chapter Two explores how excessive drinking separates an individual from the larger community. Textual evidence demonstrates that these overly intoxicated individuals and their behaviors are disparaged within the sympotic community, while the art historical evidence often depicts the excessively drunk individual physically separated from the group of symposiasts.


symposium, ancient Greek drinking culture, Theognis, wine, drunk, intoxication

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Monica Cyrino

Second Committee Member

Lorenzo Garcia Jr.

Third Committee Member

Osman Umurhan