In The Learned Banqueters, Athenaeus describes a series of dinner parties at which the guests quote extensively from Greek literature. The work (which dates to the very end of the second century AD) is amusing reading and of extraordinary value as a treasury of quotations from works now lost. Athenaeus also preserves a wide range of information about different cuisines and foodstuffs; the music and entertainments that ornamented banquets; and the intellectual talk that was the heart of Greek conviviality. S. Douglas Olson has undertaken to produce a complete new edition of the work, replacing the previous seven-volume Loeb Athenaeus (published under the title Deipnosophists).
One of the main advantages of Olson's new edition is that it is reader-friendly. When The Learned Banqueters quotes from a known author, Olson follows the text of, and gives the reference to, the best modern edition, making it easy for the reader to look up the citation in its original context...Olson's translation is largely excellent, and captures the spirit of the different authors quoted.
S. Douglas Olson is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota.