Greek grammarian and author of Deipnosophistai ("The Gastronomers"), a work in the form of an aristocratic symposium, in which a number of learned men, some bearing the names of real persons, such as Galen, meet at a banquet and discuss food and other subjects. In its extant form the work is divided into 15 books, although its original form was probably longer. The first two books and the beginning of the third have survived in an epitome, or summary. The value of the work lies partly in the great number of quotations from lost works of antiquity that it preserves and partly in the variety of unusual information it affords on all aspects of life in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Nearly 800 writers are quoted, including lyric poets, comic dramatists, and Hellenistic historians.
Learn more about Athenaeus with a free trial on Britannica.com.