The Learned Banqueteurs or The Deipnosophists? About the Anti-Philosophical Significance of Athenaeus’ Dialogue

Marian Andrzej Wesoły

In recent translations of Athenaeus the title is rendered as The Learned Banqueteurs, thereby it loses the traditional sense of a controversy between sophists and philosophers. However, the deipnosophists were learned men or scholars neither in the ancient nor in the modern understanding of the term. Unfortunately, almost all translations erroneously render the instructive remark of the Byzantine Epitomator that “Athenaeus imitates Plato in his dramatization of the dialogue” (see below the motto). As a matter of fact, the Epitomator refers to the fact that Athenaeus jealously competes with Plato’s mimetic dramatization and aims completely to overcome it. We may, therefore, highlight here the entire anti-philosophical message of this spectacular and sophisticated dialogue.


Keywords: Atenajos · sofiści · antyplatonizm · Deipnosofiści · filozofia starożytna

Marian Andrzej Wesoły – Professor ordinarius in the Institute of Philosophy at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. His area of research is ancient philosophy both Greco-Roman and Byzantine. An author of over 200 scholarly and scientific publications in this field (in various languages) and a translator of numerous Greek philosophical texts. He has cooperated extensively with diverse international academic institutions and centers (predominantly in Italy, Greece and Germany). A co-founder and co-editor of the “Peitho. Examina Antiqua” journal (leading, peer-reviewed journal devoted to investigation of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine thought).   »  

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