Talk:Symposium

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Etymology of symposium[edit]

Doesn't symposium mean "drink together" not "drink a lot"? Zajonc 17:56, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. I got in just slightly ahead of you. The article did say "drink a lot", but I changed it yesterday. Andrew Dalby 20:24, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

It's a cheap laugh, but do we want to contrast this with "Seminar" which comes frmo the combinatin of the words "Semi-" and "Arse" and has come to mean a forum for half-assed discussion? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 168.251.194.25 (talk) 14:07, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Problems[edit]

  • 1. If we're using the latin translation of συμπόσιον why is it presented as an exclusively Greek affair? Plutarch and Macrobius discuss them, Horace and Petronius satirize them.
  • 2. Why conflate the flute-girls who by the late 5th C. were more likely to be professional musicians with the hetaeria? Could it be because this article falsely presents the hetaeria as background props rather than participating symposasts in order to depict the symposium as an almost entirely homosexual gathering?
  • 3. The remark about naked servers is, I assume, garnered from the evidence of vase painting. These are not documentary photographs. Twospoonfuls 10:22, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

March 2007[edit]

  • I got rid of the LGBT banner till someone can legitimately prove that Greek pederasty is directly related to modern LGBT culture. Matthew Cadrin 03:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It isn't, but that is not the point. It does relate to LBGT studies from the point of view of the Symposium as a written story....but I think this article need to be edited down untill references can be proveded.--Amadscientist (talk) 15:48, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

'Nude male slaves'[edit]

Is it certain that the slaves were actually nude? I understood that on Athenian vase paintings slaves were frequently portrayed as nude to make it clear that they were slaves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.6.7.39 (talk) 21:29, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The nature of the servants[edit]

There seems to be a question of whether the wine servers at symposia were men or boys. The Oxford illustrated history of Greece and the Hellenistic world By John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray, on page 219, clearly delineates two complementary groups of participants (not exclusively, of course, as we all know that at times hetairae were employed). These groups are 1. the fellow drinkers, and 2. the slave boys. On that same page, the caption to the illustration tells us that "women attended only to entertain, boys to provide music or serve wine." This is in keeping with Greek aesthetics, where men would have derived pleasure from the sight of a naked boy, rather than a naked adult.

While some sources may use the term "young man" others do not, and we would do well to be consistent with ancient use as well as with the more authoritative sources. It would be hard to find a more authoritative source than Boardman and Murray, published by Oxford. I might add that one of the links that Ghreqphpur has contributed also uses the term "serving boy," and the Metropolitan Museum link specifies that "The mixture, usually three or four parts water to one part wine, was served by slave boys." So I do not see what the fuss is about, using the term "slave boys" in the article.

As for the insistent deletion of a valuable and comprehensive link in favor of links that only discuss one object, or none, I have nothing to say other than it shortchanges the reader. Haiduc (talk) 11:34, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Edit warring over external links[edit]

Two editors appear to be edit warring over the external links, as well as some wording of a paragraph in the body of the article.

While I won't comment on the edits to the paragraph ... I have looked at the external links. From what I can see, none of them provide images that are not already either in the article itself or already available via the existing link to Wikimedia Commons. As a result, I believe all of the links could be removed. Some of them may be useful as refs for text - but even that appears questionable as the links appear to be more about the artwork rather than about the actual Symposium illustrated by the art. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 19:29, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

It may be that all the material in the present link can be found on Wiki and could be put in a gallery in the article. If and when that takes place I would be happy to agree to the removal of any redundant material presently linked. As for the edit war, there is none. I simply have had to deal with a persistent vandal who did not respond to the talk page discussion. We all have to waste time with people mutilating articles, let's not add insult to injury. Haiduc (talk) 20:49, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Contributions of a banned editor[edit]

I came on this article while linking from another and I immediately recognized the fingerprints of the now banned editor Haiduc. The current pictures were chosen specifically by him to highlight pederasty, which has only an incidental association with this subject but which he constantly promoted within WP. The lead picture, showing the tomb of the diver, was pasted by him here. The picture showing the 'flutist' was pasted by him here but the 'flutist' was mis-labelled by him as a 'woman' and subsequently corrected to 'beautiful boy' by an anonymous contributor here. It fills me with a mixture of rage and despair that he was able to get away with these antics for so long. I intend replacing the pictures. McZeus (talk) 07:20, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

What kind of images are you looking for? I agree that pederastic scenes are not the way to illustrate "symposium," but (and you know where I'm coming from on this, as we worked on the accursed pederasty article together) the flute-player is a good-quality image. As I glance through Commons, here are some images I find. As a woman, I of course will dislike the first one, where the men recline and the woman, probably a slave or 'courtesan,' entertains them. I don't think the Etruscan one should go at the top, as a matter of WP:UNDUE — a Greek image needs to be dominant. The last is a little idiosyncratic, as it depicts a scene with dramatic content that makes the setting incidental. I"m genuinely sorry you're still having to deal with this. Cynwolfe (talk) 11:56, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi Cynwolfe! The banned editor was groping articles like this daily for years. Part of his problem was that he was editing articles that he wasn't really interested in except as a means of promoting pederasty so of course he didn't do the research. There is no lack of symposium scenes for those who want to spend time looking (and neither you nor I have much time to spare for this). I got all the following just with the word 'symposium', though it meant wading through pictures of the US navy (!). Please choose whichever pictures you want. Naturally I would like the groper's fingerprints to be removed. The 2nd last one in my list shows Persephone and Hades together (marital bliss?). The first one in your list looks good to me for the lede - she's a professional musician and, like all performers, she struts her stuff while the audience lounges. She was probably also a prostitute but that's only an inference.

Incidentally, I apologize for any upset I might have caused you in the past. McZeus (talk) 23:59, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Not at all! I've been made aware of how I can, er, sound in such discussions, and I'm quite sure I was impatient and rude. Although the other article still needs work, I always think of that page as a place where two "sides" had strong feelings, but serious perspectives about the article, and therefore the blunt discussions led to improving the article. Would that this were always so. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

I hadn't read the caption on "drunk man vomiting." Very amusing to think of why you'd want that on your cup — a reminder to remain temperate? This causes me to think the article could use a section on serving vessels, since these are such a part of Greek art and are a main source of how we perceive the symposium. I shall file this under "distraction." Kottabos is mentioned in the article, so it might replace the flute-player as a single-figure image, if the scene of the female flute-player goes at the top. I'll just try something here, and you can see what you think. One problem I have on Commons is the lack of information — the object is often not dated, nor described well enough to make it easy to look it up further. Also, as I read this for the purpose of choosing apt images, I see there are other issues with the article. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm a little confused. Is there something wrong with the way that the article is presented, or is this just another attempt to erase the contributions of a particular editor? I remember quite a long and ultimately unproductive battle over one of Haiduc's other articles a few months ago. Reading this article, I don't see anything particularly offensive or worrisome. I note that, contrary to the implications of the above discussion, Haiduc was not banned because of his area of interest or point of view, but because of repeated edit warring and personal attacks related to same. Just because he had trouble getting along with other editors does not mean that all of his substantial contributions are suspect or ought to be expunged. P Aculeius (talk) 02:09, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
And now I am a little confused. I checked the last version to which Haiduc contributed several months ago, and I see little difference between it and this version, so I'm not sure what you're talking about, P Aculeius (good to see you again). There had been changes along the way (subheads deleted for some reason), but nothing of substance that I see. I understood that "McZeus" thought the article should be illustrated with images chosen to complement its points; two of the three images appeared to have been chosen for content that could be framed as advocating pederasty in the caption. If I'd felt they were the most representative images of the symposium available, I would've argued for keeping one or both. But since the article doesn't discuss the symposium as a locus of homoerotic activity, I chose images solely on the basis of quality, relevance to the topics discussed, and variety. (I thought the debate at Pederasty in ancient Greece, if that's one of the troublesome articles you mean, was quite productive. Participants seemed satisfied that the revised article was descriptive and not advocating a lifestyle.) Cynwolfe (talk) 03:50, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I like the choices you have made, Cynwolfe. P Aculeius should look at my first post in this section - Haiduc smuggled in the picture 'beautiful boy' under false pretences and that's quite typical of his approach throughout WP. A fully researched article must of course include mention of pederasty, as well as hetaerae and drunkenness (a major problem in a big polis like Athens) and other issues too (the article is presently hardly more than a stub). BUT people need to have faith in the editing process. I had no faith in the process while Haiduc was active but I am beginning to have faith now that he is gone. History needs to reported as history, not as an advertisement for lifestyle choices. Incidentally, I'm wondering if the gods were imagined to have symposiums. If so, I'm sure the goddesses must have been invited too, and that opens another issue - the history of the Greek symposium must have been an evolutionary one and wives probably began to be included at some point (Christian symposiums?) The symposium is a huge topic. Again thanks Cynwolfe. Why is it always the girls who end up cleaning up the messes the guys make? McZeus (talk) 06:27, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Move?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved Danger (talk) 00:30, 15 September 2011 (UTC) Danger (talk) 00:30, 15 September 2011 (UTC)



SymposiumSymposium (Ancient Greek)

Hope you're volunteering to make sure all the links are sorted out as a result if this passes. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:11, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Red herring argument. The number of links that have to be moved is never an issue and as pointed out belonw, many of these links are wrong anyway. The proposed moves would leave them pointing to the dab page were there are tools to clean these up. Having them point to a real page means that they don't get cleaned up. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:31, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The problem is that symposium="scientific meeting" is a definition, and the name of that topic is academic conference. If someone says "I want to know more about the symposium/symposiums" in English, they're as likely to want to know about Greek symposia (or works of literature named for them) as anything else. If someone types this in the search box wanting conferences, they're probably using Wikipedia as a dictionary. Which is why I vote no change. I can't say I feel very strongly about it, but that's just because of the Plato/practice disambiguation issue. But I won't even consider this proposal because Symposium (Ancient Greek) does not have the look of the correct name for this topic, if a disambiguator were applied. Wareh (talk) 00:44, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see what you're saying about the "sort of scientific meeting," but that article is called academic conference, not "symposium"; the dab page directs the seeker of "symposium" = "academic meeting" to an article that isn't even named "symposium". The purpose of disambiguation is to distinguish article titles, and there's no confusion between the titles. I think there's a fair case to be made that the symposium of this article meets WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. The two other well-trafficked articles on the dab are the works by Plato and Xenophon, which depend on this sense of "symposium." "Symposium" is also used for similar gatherings among the Etruscans and Romans, so adding "Ancient Greek" would over-specify. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:12, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not strongly, but mainly because of Etruscans and Romans, as above. Sorry. In ictu oculi (talk) 14:20, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Symposium is the obvious and only term for the occasions mentioned here; it is not the obvious and only term for any particular kind of academic meeting. All other uses of the word derive from this one. The DAB link, already heading the page, is adequate for anyone who gets here by mistake. Andrew Dalby 09:16, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, same reasons as Cynwolfe, Wareh, and Andrew Dalby. --Akhilleus (talk) 14:59, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. I don't find the reasons cited above particularly valid per our usual naming conventions. Being "the original use" can give a modicum of weight to an ancient usage, but it's hardly definitive and shouldn't override predominant modern use. The fact that our article on modern symposia is at a different title is irrelevant; a primary topic can utilize a redirect, as is the case with Danzig. That's what the {{redirect}} template was made for. Powers T 13:23, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
The arguments here are not about original use; they're about WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. Symposium got 18,238 hits in August; I suspect that some or many visitors come here looking for Symposium (Plato), which had 11,680 visitors. I would expect both numbers to go up as the school year begins in earnest. By comparison, academic conference got only 4,453 hits in August, so even if all users who wound up at academic conference started here at symposium by mistake, they would've represented a relatively small portion of the total number of visitors to symposium. Nor are people scampering over to symposium (disambiguation) to find what they're "really" looking for: that page got 1,384 hits in August. There do seem to be a few articles that link here erroneously when they mean the academic conference, but a vast majority of the links are Greek-related. Traffic is just one indication that there's no need for the move. I'm open to other evidence. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:24, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, you kind of just made Powers' point for him. 18,238 vs 11,680+4,453+1,384=17,517, means that there is no clear primary topic, which is what's required. Often at primary topic RMs, for an article to be considered primary it has to be an order of magnitude more likely than the other option(s), not just a greater than 50/50 split. Jenks24 (talk) 21:53, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I was leaning towards support but decided to look at the inbound links before I decided. Of the first three I looked at, two were for academic conference and one was for Symposium (Plato). Hardily an endorsement for this page being about a drinking party as the primary use. In reading the oppose opinions, they seem to be arguing that the current setup is OK since academic conference is named that way and does not conflict for the name space and clearly can not be the primary use. But that ignores the fact that we recommend alternate names that don't need parenthetical disambiguation. If using academic conference is part of the confusion, then that needs to be moved to symposium as the primary use or renamed to symposium (conference) so that if this rename fails, the next time it comes up that particular argument has no weight. Using page hits in this case appears to be problematic and I wonder what would happen if the dab page was at the main name space with a dedicated team fixing the bad links. In reading the oppose opinions, it appears that issues with the proposed name is behind some of the reluctance to support this proposal. That tells me that the second part of the move really needs to happen and the question is where does the current article go? I don't have a issue with moving as proposed and then having a followup discussion on a better name. Trying to resolve multiple page moves in one discussion is commonly a recipe for disaster resulting in no consensus and failing to fix problems that it is agreed are there. So again move as proposed and then adjust in the future better names are found. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:41, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support per Powers and Vegaswikian. There is no clear primary topic here. Jenks24 (talk) 21:53, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
I see your point, but I would say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." What problem are we trying to fix? Last October, with the school year in full swing, symposium got 33,270 hits, while academic conference got 7,879. Above, I believe it was Wareh who made the point that WP is not a dictionary; "primary topic" is not the same thing as "frequency of usage in the English language." Now, I do think it likely that many of the visitors here are looking for Symposium (Plato), which had 22,819 hits. But there are clear ways to disambiguate the articles Symposium (Plato), Symposium (Xenophon), symposium (conference). If we can't find a workable title for this article, I see no point to moving it. Those who support the move don't seem familiar with the content issues; this article is also about (though the sections are underdeveloped) the Etruscan banquet and Roman convivium. The proposed move fixes no demonstrable problem, but does create one. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:41, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.