Ritual dining at Corinth
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Ritual dining at Corinth book
That dining was an important aspect of the ritual practised in celebration of Demeter and Kore at Corinth is shown by the many dining rooms that cover the lower zone of their sanctuary on Acrocorinth.1 At least 14 dining rooms are known to have existed at the end of the sixth century BC, accommodating a minimum of 101 people. By the late fifth century that number had grown to at least 25 buildings, or 30 rooms, with couches for a minimum of two hundred people (Fig. 3.1). More originally existed in the Archaic period but could not be fully investigated; furthermore, the east and west limits to the dining area were never found. Even with the number of rooms we do have, however, it is clear that dining within the sanctuary was not confined to the priestly staff but was practised by the celebrating population as well. This in itself is not an unusual feature, for ritual banquets were commonly held within the confines of sanctuaries at the culmination of a festival in order to reaffirm a sense of community through equal distributions of food. To date, however, no other sanctuary has yielded so many buildings devoted to that function, buildings whose purpose is clearly established by form, furnishings and contents.