Athenaeus (Ancient Greek Ἀθήναιος Nαυκράτιος - Athếnaios Naukratios, Latin Athenaeus Naucratita; fl. ca. AD 200) was a Greek author. He is also called Athenaeus of Naucratis, since he was born and lived in Naucratis, Egypt. Little is known about him, except what can be gathered from the text of his surviving work. Athenaeus wrote at least two works that do not survive, but is remembered primarily for his compilation Deipnosophistae (The Deipnosophists or Banquet of the Learned, Δειπνοσοφισταί ), written in the form of a dialogue in which a variety of characters debate a wide spectrum of topics. Luxury, diet, health, sexual relationships, music, humour and Greek lexicography all come under discussion, but the focus is on food, wine and entertainment. Without the works of Athenaeus much valuable information about the ancient world would be missing, and many ancient Greek authors (including Archestratus) would be entirely unknown. Book XIII is an important source for studies of sexuality in classical and Hellenistic Greece.

The most valuable recent publication about Athenaeus and The Deipnosophists is Athenaeus and his world edited by David Braund and John Wilkins, (2000). The book is a collection of 41 essays by literary specialists and historians upon various aspects of the work.

See also Deipnon


  • Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists ed. and tr. C. B. Gulick. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1927-41. 7 vols.
  • Athenaeus and his world: reading Greek culture in the Roman Empire ed. David Braund, John Wilkins. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000.

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