A group of long-standing friends gathers together at a seaside cottage: Arpagos (‘the Plunderer': Kazantzakis), Petros (Sikelianos), Kosmas (Ion Dragoumis), Myros (Myron Gounalakis or, according to Elli Alexiou, Michele Gounalakis, a long-standing friend of Kazantzakis from Switzerland). After dinner, they ask Arpagos to speak to them of his God. He sings the praises of Kosmas, gently criticizes Petros' poetry and goes on to describe his personal trials and the path of his spiritual evolution. He ends by revealing to his audience that he has found deliverance in the Dionysian affirmation of life.

Writing history

In a letter Kazantzakis wrote to his friend E. Papastefanou, we learn that he wrote the Symposium in Berlin in 1922. According to Prevelakis he may have been further preoccupied with the same work in 1924, while in Heraklion; he may well have rewritten it then, since the published text differs from the outline Kazantzakis describes to Papastefanou.

Greek editions

  • N. Kazantzakis, Simposion, edited by E. C. Kasdaglis, Athens: Eleni Kazantzakis 1971

Foreign editions & translations

  • Nikos Kazantzakis, Symposium, translated into English by Theodora Vasils - Themi Vasils, New York: Minerva Press 1974. New York: Crowell 1975
  • Nikos Kazantzakis, Simposio o el banquete, translated into Spanish (from English) by Lucila Benítez, Madrid: Felmar 1974, 1977, 1978
  • Niko Kazantzakis, Simposio, translated into Spanish (from English) by Delfín Leocadio Garasa, Buenos Aires: Carlos Lohlé 1978
  • Nikos Kazantzakis, Simposi, translated into Catalan, with a prologue and notes by Alexis Eudald Solà and an epilogue by Josep Bigordà, Barcelona: La Llar del Llibre 1990
  • Nikos Kazantzakis, Ascetica, de redders van God and Symposium, translated into Dutch by Bert Groen and Hero Hekwerda, Groningen: Styx 1997