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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the posture used at table by the ancients. The old Romans sat at meat as we do, till the Grecian luxury and softness had corrupted them. The same custom, of lying upon couches at their entertainments, prevailed among the Jews also in our Saviour's time; for having been lately conquered by Pompey, they conformed in this, and in many other respects, to the example of their masters. The manner of lying at meat among the Romans, Greeks, and more modern Jews, was the same in all respects. The table was placed in the middle of the room, around which stood three couches covered with cloth or tapestry, according to the quality of the master of the house; upon these they lay, inclining the superior part of their bodies upon their left arms, the lower part being stretched out at full length, or a little bent. Their heads were supported and raised with pillows. The first man lay at the head of the couch; the next man lay with his head toward the feet of the other, from which he was defended by the bolster that supported his own back, commonly reaching over to the middle of the first man; and the rest after the same manner. The most honourable place was the middle couch—and the middle of that. Favourites commonly lay in the bosom of their friends; that is, they were placed next below them: see John 13:23 , where St. John is said to have lain in our Saviour's bosom. The ancient Greeks sat at the table; for Homer observes that when Ulysses arrived at the palace of Alcinous, the king dispatched his son Laodamas to seat Ulysses in a magnificent chair. The Egyptians sat at table anciently, as well as the Romans, till toward the end of the Punic war, when they began to recline at table.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Accubation'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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