Afternoon Thermal Bath
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

Afternoon Thermal Bath
Page 131

Wealthy Roman Society

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 urging the aristocracy to take in the poor and needy and feed them. He wrote, "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." Saint Paul wrote 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 luxury to be able to go to a hot afternoon thermal bath and to begin their meals in mid-afternoon. This was in contrast to their poorer clients or slaves who were unable or lacked either the time in the afternoon or the resources even to bring their own food. Geoffrey Hugo Lampe, (1912-1980) a British Biblical scholar, gave us 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." So the poor would miss out on the food and the rich would gorge themselves.✞

"Afternoon Thermal Bath"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

^Top Page Next Previous