Separation from Society
Symposia are known for their subversion of the regular order of society (Kurke 1997). They include the coming together and celebration of fraternity and equality among a small group of men, which exists outside of day-to-day social interactions. Many traditions contribute to the conscious separation from normal society, and few do it more effectively than hetairai (Kurke 1997; 111).
Hetairai, for instance, allow the upper echelons of male society to separate themselves from the rising mercantile class that pays money for sex (Kurke 1997; 110). Hetairai are more sophisticated companions not only present for sex, but for their companionship itself. They were often depicted as reclining on couches and taking part in the symposium. They could both provide entertainment in the form of music and dancing, or they could play an active role in conversation (Kurke 1997). They even took part in the same games like kottabos that male symposiasts did. These, often lower class, women associated and reclined with upper class men on almost equal footing, further subverting the rules of normal society and contributing to a complex interactive form of entertainment.