Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Triclinium

The traditional dining area in a Graeco-Roman home centered on the triclinium, a three-sided raised platform where diners reclined on their left elbow while eating. This photo is from Herculaneum. For more photos from this site, click here.

At banquets, guests were placed according to their social rank, descending to the right. According to Dennis Smith in a 2004 article for Biblical Review entitled Dinner with Jesus and Paul, says that according to Greek tradition women did not recline at dinner. However, as Roman custom began to dominate, women began to attend banquets and to recline as did the men.

If Christian worship followed the custom of religious meals/banquets, diners would have reclined at the meal. However, 1 Corinthians 14:30 seems to indicate a sitting posture at worship. Were all sitting or only some?

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