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B. Ya. Stavisky


Site in Uzbekistan, on the right bank of the Amu River, 18 km east of Termez. In 1932 the accidental discovery of a stone relief with the busts of three musicians against a background of acanthus leaves (see Central Asia, §I, 3, (ii), (a)) led the following year to the excavation by M. Ye. Masson of a further seven reliefs of the same type. In the 1960s–70s excavations by G. A. Pugachenkova and B. A. Turgunov revealed a settlement that dated from shortly before the time of Christ and flourished during the Kushana period (1st–4th century ad), when it formed an oasis extending 2.5–3.0 km along the river bank without planned layout or defensive wall. Several archaeological sites have been uncovered in the area of the settlement. The largest mound, which occupied the western part of the site, was enclosed by a wall and was probably a fortified citadel or acropolis. Excavations in ...


Thorsten Opper

[Gr.: ‘drinking together’]

Highly ritualized drinking party that developed in Archaic and Classical Greece. Initially restricted to aristocratic circles, participants were exclusively male; women, if they attended at all, attended in subordinate roles as servants, dancers, musicians, prostitutes or more refined courtesans (Gr. hetairai). A symposion took place in specially constructed room, the andron (men's room), fitted to accommodate a series of klinai (dining couches) along the walls and usually recognizable in the archaeological footprint of a house through its off-centre doorway. Food was a secondary element; it was offered first and served on small, low tables standing in front of the couches. After the meal and a sacrifice, the drinking began. Revellers elected one of their number as symposiarch, or master of proceedings, whose task it was to decide the pace of drinking and ratio of wine to water to be imbibed (Greeks always diluted their wine; drinking it undiluted was considered barbaric); he would also determine a topic for conversation. Symposia could range from highly philosophical discourse (as immortalized in Plato's famous dialogue, ...