Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, by James Davidson, paperback (good/very good)
A brilliantly entertaining and innovative history of the ancient Athenians’ consuming passions for food, wine and sex. This fascinating book reveals that the ancient Athenians were supreme hedonists. Their society was driven by an insatiable lust for culinary delights – especially fish – fine wine and pleasures of the flesh. Indeed, great fortunes were squandered and politicians’ careers ruined through ritual drinking at the symposium, or the wooing of highly-coveted, costly prostitutes.
James Davidson brings an incisive eye and an urbane wit to this refreshingly accessible and different history of the people who invented Europe, democracy and art.