Menander’s comedy The Bad-Tempered Man [aka Dyskolos] was lost for centuries until discovered in the 1950s. A pivotal episode is a pilgrimage to the shrine of Pan at Phyle on a hillside in what is now Athens, where a sacrificial meal will cooked to appease the god.

The offering is meant to help Sostratus, a wealthy young man, successfully woo the Girl (she has no other name), the daughter of Kemon, the bad-tempered man. Comic relief is provided by Sikon, a cook who is carrying a live sheep while trudging up a mountain. He continually and bitterly complains that their roles are topsy-turvy because the sheep’s hooves cut him. Servants carry rugs and other gear, but they do not have sufficient pots and pans for cooking.

Sikon the Cook.and Kemon, the Bad-Temopered Man. Courtesy of

The episode may be characterized as a picnic in the country. Some modern translators such as E.W. Handley, Maurice Balme, and Robert Lloyd call the meal a picnic, but this may be due to contemporary linguistic familiarity with picnicking.

Meander is skimpy on details, but it seems logical that the party would have lugged a carpet or cloth and cushions with the pot and pans and eating paraphernalia.

Featured Image: Pan’s shrine as it looks today.

See  Maurice Balme. Menander, The Plays and Fragments, Oxford University Press, 2001; E. W. Handley. Menander, the Dyskolos of Menander. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965; Eugene Vanderpool. “Pan in Paiania a Note on Lines 407-409 of Menander’s Dyskolos.” American Journal of Archaeology 71, no. 3 (1967)