By Alice-Mary Talbot
Eat, Drink and be Merry (Luke 12: 19): Food and Wine in Byzantium, edited by L. Brubaker, K. Linardou (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007)
Introduction: This study will outline some of the ritual practices associated with mealtime in monasteries, the dietary regulations that reflected the weekly and annual liturgical cycle, expectations of behaviour, and punishments for infractions of the rules. In short, I hope to describe what might be termed the ‘culture of the refectory’ in the Middle and Late Byzantine periods. I shall draw extensively on such sources as the monastic regulations now conveniently assembled and meticulously indexed in the five-volume Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents recently published by Dumbarton Oaks, with the reminder that these are normative documents, and I shall also make use of saints’ lives, penitentials, satirical essays and poetry.