Dining and drinking rituals in the ancient world have been the subject of much recent discussion, and the significance of these rituals, particularly for males, has been extensively studied. Scholars have often slighted the topic of women's part in the history of ancient Greek dining and drinking parties, however, and the broad generalization ‘Citizen women were never present at Greek symposia’ is not uncommon. Admittedly, women other than hetairai, slaves, hired entertainers, etc., are not conspicuous in the evidence from which we must draw our history of ancient Greek symposia. The evidence, however, both written and visual, was created and preserved predominantly by males. Also, the
view that there was a fairly narrow participation of women often seems based largely on evidence taken from fifth and fourth century B.C. Athens. Yet the roles of women at Greek dining and drinking partieschanged over time and place. This paper provides a survey, with examples, of the variety of women's dining occasions from the Homeric through to the Hellenistic age. The aim of this survey is to emphasize the value of paying closer attention to the female side of wining and dining in our discussions of occasions of commensality in the ancient Greek world.