Afternoon Thermal Baths
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Wealthy Roman Society 131

Witty Sarcastic Manner

Leaves for DinnerLucian of Samosata (125-180 AD) who was a Greek novelist noted for his witty and scoffing nature, wrote a satirical letter in Greek, "Tell them [the rich], moreover, to invite the poor to dinner, taking in four or five at a time, not as they do nowadays, though, but in a more democratic fashion, all having an equal share."

Problems at Feasts

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11.20-22b, "When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord's Supper. For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?"

Elite and Poor

Only the elite had the leisure to go to hot afternoon thermal baths and to begin their meals in mid-afternoon, a contrast to their poorer clients or slaves who lacked either the time in the afternoon or the resources to bring their own food. Geoffrey Hugo Lampe, (1912-1980 AD) a British Biblical scholar, gives an outline of Greco-Roman meals and suggests how they might have structured the Corinthian Eucharist. The "First tables," (the afternoon meal), began around 3 pm, but the poor and some slaves would arrive only in time for "second tables."

"Afternoon Thermal Baths"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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