The references to Crassus as a host of, and a guest at, dinner parties in the Life of Crassus suggest
a complex persona. Three references appear in the early chapters, followed by the description
of the symposium at the Parthian court at the end of Life. This paper examines these four
passages. It argues that the simplicity of Crassus’ repasts are carefully positioned by Plutarch
to contrast sharply Crassus’ reputation as Rome’s most famous plutocrat, and the debauched
Parthian symposium redeems partially Crassus for his failure as an imperialist.