In a traditional Ancient Greek banquet, particularly among the aristocratic society, following the meal a symposium, meaning “to drink together” would be conducted wherein drinking was accompanied by music, recitals, dancing or conversation. An exclusively male affair, the symposium was an important tradition for hosting debate, celebration, plotting or otherwise convene and converse. It is the setting of several literary works including Plato’s symposium and this intellectual subtext is cause for the words modern usage. Participants would recline on couches, though it was proper for young men to sit upright. The proceedings of the symposium would be overseen by a symposiarch who would decide how strong the wine would be depending on the intentions of the group fro serious discussion or otherwise. Given the centrality of drinking to the symposium, the symposium was a popular subject for Greek pottery a chief function of which would have been for use in a symposium, especially the amphora used to hold wine, such pieces may also depict Dionysus or other scenes of drinking or celebration.

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