Guest post by Don Lesser
The kylix was a flat drinking vessel used for drinking wine while reclining at symposia -- men's after-dinner drinking parties -- in ancient Greece. The bottom on the interior was often decorated with images that appeared only when the wine was finished. While a symposium today is a more stolid affair, apparently the originals were somewhat livelier, featuring a variety of entertainments. The conversations that took place, often about specified topics, and lubricated it seems, by the wine ("three bowls and no more"), are most famously recorded in Plato's Symposium.
The symposium depicted by Pietro Testa in 1648 shows a much more serious affair that has been interrupted by a drunken Alcibiades stealing Agathon's thunder. Still, for better or for worse, wine is an integral part of the process.