Wednesday, August 04, 2004
In ancient Greek, a potluck was an 'eranos', and the individual contributions were 'symbolai'. The guest who arrived without a contribution was said to be 'asymbolos' (Latin 'immunis').
Here is a poem from the Greek Anthology (11.35, tr. W.R. Paton) by Philodemus giving orders to his slave for a potluck:
Artemidorus gave us a cabbage, Aristarchus caviare, Athenagoras little onions, Philodemus a small liver, and Apollophanes two pounds of pork, and there were three pounds still left over from yesterday. Go and buy us an egg and garlands and sandals and scent, and I wish them to be here at four o'clock sharp.