The Ancient Library

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ivory or tortoiseshell, and covered with cloth <of gold. Next they laid down to eat '(Hor. Sat. i. 4. 39), the head resting on the left elbow -and supported by cushions. (Mart. iii. 8.) There were usually, but not always, three on the same couch (Hor. Sat. i. 4. 86), the middle place being esteemed the most honourable. Around the tables stood the servants (ministri) clothed in a tunic (Hor. Sat. ii. 6. 107), and girt with napkins (Suet. Cal. 20): some removed the dishes and wiped the tables with a rough cloth (gausape, Hor. Sat. ii. 8. 11), others gave the guests water for their hands, or cooled the room with Jfans. (Mart. iii. 82.) Here stood an Eastern youth (Juv. Sat. v. 55) behind his master's couch, 'ready to answer the noise of the 'fingers (digiti crepitus, Mart. vi. 89), -while others bore a large platter (mazonomum) of different kinds of meat to the guests. (Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 86.)

Whatever changes of fashion had taken place . since primitive times, the coena in 'Cicero's day (ad Att. ix. 7) was at all events an evening meal. It was raual to bathe about two o'clock and dine at three, 'hours which seem to have been observed, at Jeast by the higher classes, ;long after the Au­gustan age. (Mart. iv. 8. '6', xi.'53. 3 ; 'Cic. att Fam. ix. 26 ; Plin. Ep. iii. L) When Juvenal mentions two o'clock as a dinner hour, he evi­dently means a censure on the luxury of the person named (Sat. i. 49, 50),

** Exul ab octava Marius 'bibit."

In the banquet of Nasidienus, about the same hour is intended when Horace says to ;Fundanius,

" Nam mini quaerenti convivam dictus here illic De media potare die."

Horace and Maecenas useft to dine at a late hour about sunset. ('Hor. Sat. ii. 7. 33, Ep. i. 5. 3.) Perhaps the various statements of classical authors upon this subject can only be reconciled by supposing that with the Romans, as with ourselves, there was a great variety of hours in the different ranks of society.

Dinner was set out in a room called coentftio or diaeta (which two words perhaps conveyed to a Roman ear .nearly the same distinction as our dining-room and paflour). The coenatio, in rich men's 'houses, was fitted up with great magnificence, (Sen. -E,p. 90.) Suetonius (Nero, 31) mentions a sapper room in the golden palace of Nero, con­structed like a theatre, with shifting scenes to change with every course. In the midst of the coenatio were set three couches (triclinia}, answer­ing in shape to the square, as the long semicircular couches (sigmata) did to the oval tables. An account o'f the disposition of the couches, and of the;place which each guest occupied, is given in the -article trjclini vm.

"[The Greeks and Rdnttms were accustomed, in •later times, to recline at their meals ; though this ^practice could not have been of great antiquity in Greece, since Homer never describes persons as reclining, but always as sitting, at their meals. Isidore of Seville (Orig. xx. 11) also attributes the same practice to the ancient Romans. Even in the time of the early Roman emperors, children in families of the highest rank used to sit together at an inferior table, while their fathers and elders r.e.cline.d on couches at the upper part of the room. . Ann. xiii. 16; Suet. Aug. 65, Claud. 32.)


Roman ladies continued the practice of sitting at table, -even after the recumbent position had become common with rthe ot'her sex. (Yarro, ap. fsid. Orig. xx. 11 ; 'Val. Max. ii. L § 3.) It ap­pears to have been -considered more decent, and more agreeable to the-severityand purity of ancient manners, for women'to sit, more especially if many persons were present. :But, on the other hand, we find cases of women reclining, where there was conceived to be nothing bold or indelicate in their posture. In some of the bas-reliefs, representing the visit of Bacchus to Icarus, Erigone, instead of sitting on the couch,'reclihes upon it in the bosom of her father. 'In 'Juvenal (Sat. ii. 120) a bride reclines at the 'marriage supper on the bosom of her husband ; which is illustrated by the following woodcut, taken from Montfaucon (Ant. Eocp.SuppL iii. 66).

It seems intended to 'represerit *a scene'of ^perfect matrimonial felicity. The husband and wife re­cline on a sofa of rich materials. A three-legged table is spread with viands before them. Their two sons are in front of the «ofa, one 'Of them sit­ting, in the manner 'above described, -on --a low stool, and playing with the dog. Several females and a boy are performing a piece of music for the entertainment of the married pair.

It has been already remarked that, before lying-down, the shoes or sandals were taken off. In all the ancient paintings and bas-reliefs illustrative of this subject, we see the guests reclining with naked feet; and in those of them which 'Contain the

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