The Convivium Septem Sapientium contains a series of references to human-animal relationships
which, when read in the order of their appearance, move from a position in which animals are
seen as subservient to humans to one in which animals are presumed to be capable of morallysignificant
behavior, illustrated in the rescue of the singer Arion by dolphins. Plutarch’s references
to animals in the dialogue closely mirror his pronouncements on animal intellect and behavior
in his animal-related treatises. Viewed in the light of the civilized and elevated debates that
constitute the subject manner of the Convivium, the references to animals potentially capable of
rational and ethical behavior add a thought-provoking parallel narrative to the dialogue.