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Grecian Customs

Grecian Customs image
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In the very early ages of Greece, n breakfast and ameal after labor formed the diet of a day ; but four meals were taken in later times, the principal one being three or four hours after noon. - The bath was al most universally used before meals ; and the nnointing which followed, often performed by women, as amongthe Jews, was most probably to close the pores, or preserve the skin from roughness. The guests were offered all these conveniences by the host previous to an entertainment. At table they sat occasionally upon chairs with inclined acks but much more freqnently upon couche?, as did also the Romans. It was at firstan honor to beallowed theluxury of the couch. In Macedonia, no man was allowed so to sit until he had killed a boar by the prowess of hls arm,s. The manner of lying at meat was thls - the able was placed in the centre, and around t the couches covered with tapestry, upon which the guests lay, leaning upon heir left arms, with their limbs stretched out at length. In Greece, three, four and five persons lay on one couch, the egs of the first being stretched out beïind the second, and the head of the latter in front of the former's breast, and so on. This custom was decidedly of eastern origin. That it prevailed among Jews, may be inferred from the posilion of the beloveddisc-ple resting on the bosom of our Saviouratthe celebration of the Passover. In Persia and other eastnrn countries, a similar mode of sitting at table prevailed from the earliest times. The place of honor at these entertainments was not every where the same. - In Persia and Rome, the middle place was the place of honor; in Greece, the first or nearest the table. Men were cúreful of precedency in Greece ; andatTinv on's famoua dinner, we find a haughty noble retiring because no place was fit for him. Couches, made for individuals, were a refinement of the Romans. Bolh in Greece and Rome, tables were usually made either round or oval, and the couches curved tosuit them. The table was accounted a very sacred thing, and the statues of the gods were placed upon it. Before any portion of the food was tasted it was universnlly the custom to offer a pat l to the gods as the first fruits j and even in the heroic ages, Achules, when roused suddenly would not eat till the oblation was made. In Greece, all the guests at a par!y were apparelled in white ; in Rome, the same cuttom was prevalent ; and Cicero charges il as a sin against Yerres that he appeared atsupper in black, ihree courses, the hrst consisting of light herbs, eggs, oysters, and such like food ; the second of the soiid meatsj and ïhe third of the desert, formed the repast, which being dor.e, the gods were thanked, and the great after business of the entertainment was drinking; Tor any food taken afterwards wasscarcely to be called a meal. That the Greeks drank deeply, many historians prove ; and, above all, is the fact cstabüshad in the annalsof the Alexander the Great. That conquero? himself pledged his friend Proteas in a cup containing two congii (somewhat less than'a gallon) nnd Proteasdid the same. It was in atternpting to repeat the pledge that Alexander, it is said, caught his fatal illness.