Drinking Alfresco: The Erotics of the Pastoral Sympotic Mode

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University Club, Room 212
@ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Closely-cropped portrait image of Kristen Ehrhardt wearing a dark shirt and glasses

Monday Seminar:

Kristen Ehrhardt

Robert J. Reinhold Dissertation Fellow (2009-2010)

Classics, UW-Madison


The institution of private drinking parties, symposia, played an important part in the cultural and political lives of Greek men in the archaic and classical periods, to the extent that the symposium itself became a common motif in literature and art. Later Greek and Roman artists and poets combined this motif with that of pastoral, setting sympotic drinking in a locus amoenus. This paper explores how artists played with this mixed mode: what happens when the menacing eroticism that lurks in pastoral seeps into the (arguably) safer world of the symposium?


Kristen Ehrhardt is a doctoral candidate in Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a Ph.D. minor in Art History. Her research interests include Greek and Latin poetry, the interplay between art and text, and representations of symposia from the eastern influences on early Greek symposia to later Roman adaptations of feast scenes.