VI. (48) And perhaps some people may be inclined to approve of the arrangement of such entertainments which at present prevails everywhere, from an admiration of, and a desire of imitating, the luxury and extravagance of the Italians which both Greeks and barbarians emulate, making all their preparations with a view to show rather than to real enjoyment, (49) for they use couches called triclinia, and sofas all round the table made of tortoiseshell, and ivory, and other costly materials, most of which are inlaid with precious stones; and coverlets of purple embroidered with gold and silver thread; and others brocaded in flowers of every kind of hue and colour imaginable to allure the sight, and a vast array of drinking cups arrayed according to each separate description; for there are bowls, and vases, and beakers, and goblets, and all kinds of other vessels wrought with the most exquisite skill, their clean cups and others finished with the most elaborate refinement of skilful and ingenious men; (50) and well-shaped slaves of the most exquisite beauty, ministering, as if they had come not more for the purpose of serving the guests than of delighting the eyes of the spectators by their mere appearance. Of these slaves, some, being still boys, pour out the wine; and others more fully grown pour water, being carefully washed and rubbed down, with their faces anointed and pencilled, and the hair of their heads admirably plaited and curled and wreathed in delicate knots; (51) for they have very long hair, being either completely unshorn, or else having only the hair on their foreheads cut at the end so as to make them of an equal length all round, being accurately sloped away so as to represent a circular line, and being clothed in tunics of the most delicate texture, and of the purest white, reaching in front down to the lower part of the knee, and behind to a little below the calf of the leg, and drawing up each side with a gentle doubling of the fringe at the joinings of the tunics, raising undulations of the garment as it were at the sides, and widening them at the hollow part of the side. (52) Others, again, are young men just beginning to show a beard on their youthful chins, having been, for a short time, the sport of the profligate debauchees, and being prepared with exceeding care and diligence for more painful services; being a kind of exhibition of the excessive opulence of the giver of the feast, or rather, to say the truth, of their thorough ignorance of all propriety, as those who are acquainted with them well know. (53) Besides all these things, there is an infinite variety of sweetmeats, and delicacies, and confections, about which bakers and cooks and confectioners labour, considering not the taste, which is the point of real importance, so as to make the food palatable to that, but also the sight, so as to allure that by the delicacy of the look of their viands, {8}{the remainder of this section originally appeared in section 55. The material has been reordered to reflect the Loeb sequence.} they turn their heads round in every direction, scanning everything with their eyes and with their nostrils, examining the richness and the number of the dishes with the first, and the steam which is sent up by them with the second. Then, when they are thoroughly sated both with the sight and with the scent, these senses again prompt their owners to eat, praising in no moderate terms both the entertainment itself and the giver of it, for its costliness and magnificence. (54) Accordingly, seven tables, and often more, are brought in, full of every kind of delicacy which earth, and sea, and rivers, and air produce, all procured with great pains, and in high condition, composed of terrestrial, and acquatic, and flying creatures, every one of which is different both in its mode of dressing and in its seasoning. And that no description of thing existing in nature may be omitted, at the last dishes are brought in full of fruits, besides those which are kept back for the more luxurious portion of the entertainment, and for what is called the dessert; (55) and afterwards some of the dishes are carried away empty from the insatiable greediness of those at table, who, gorging themselves like cormorants, devour all the delicacies so completely that they gnaw even the bones, which some left half devoured after all that they contained has been torn to pieces and spoiled. And when they are completely tired with eating, having their bellies filled up to their very throats, but their desires still unsatisfied, being fatigued with eating. (56) However, why need I dwell with prolixity on these matters, which are already condemned by the generality of more moderate men as inflaming the passions, the diminution of which is desirable? For any one in his senses would pray for the most unfortunate of all states, hunger and thirst, rather than for a most unlimited abundance of meat and drink at such banquets as these.