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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Symposium originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together") but has since come to refer to any academic conference, whether or not drinking takes place. The sympotic elegies of Theognis of Megara and two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium all describe symposia in the original sense.

Hetaera at the symposia

Unmarried adult women had more freedom in Ancient Greece, but often had to sell their favors to survive. Besides the common prostitutes there was a class of highly educated and paid entertainers known as hetairas who frequented men's symposia, drank with them, debated politics and philosophy with them, and slept with them.

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