In ancient Greece, the symposium was a part of a banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation.
The Greek symposium was a key Hellenic social institution. It was a forum for men of respected families to debate, plot, boast, or simply to revel with others. They were frequently held to celebrate the introduction of young men into aristocratic society. Symposia were also held by aristocrats to celebrate other special occasions, such as victories in athletic and poetic contests. They were a source of pride for them.
Symposia were usually held in the andrōn, the men’s quarters of the household. The participants, or “symposiasts”, would recline on pillowed couches arrayed against the three walls of the room away from the door. Due to space limitations, the couches would number between seven and nine, limiting the total number of participants to somewhere between fourteen and twenty seven. If any young men took part, they did not recline but sat up. However, in Macedonian symposia, the focus was not only on drinking but hunting, and young men were allowed to recline only after they had killed their first wild boar.
Food and wine were served. Entertainment was provided, and depending on the occasion could include games, songs, flute-girls or boys, slaves performing various acts, and hired entertainment.
A Symposium is the setting for the Ancient Greek Murder Mystery “Who killed Callimachos?”, one of the best things to do in Athens Greece.