The Last Supper of Jesus Didn't Happen at a Table

And the menu was a little better than bread and wine
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2016 1:13 PM CDT
The Last Supper of Jesus Didn't Happen at a Table
Mosaic of the Last Supper of Jesus by Giacomo Raffaelli.   (Shutterstock)

The image of the Last Supper as famously painted by Leonardo Da Vinci—Jesus and his followers seated around a large table, bread, wine—is a lasting one. It's also entirely inaccurate, according to two Italian archeologists. Discovery reports Generoso Urciuoli and Marta Berogno studied Jewish writings, ancient Roman works, catacomb paintings, descriptions of other meals from the Bible, and more to figure out what was for dinner and how it was eaten in the Jerusalem of Jesus' time. "The Bible discusses what happened during [the Last Supper], but it doesn't detail what Jesus and his 12 dining companions ate," Urciuoli says. In addition to unleavened bread and aromatized wine, Jesus' final meal before he was crucified likely included lamb, bean stew, herbs, olives, and fish sauce.

Instead of a large rectangular table, the Last Supper was almost certainly eaten while reclining on cushions placed on the floor with the food on a low table. It's probable the plates and bowls used were made of stone. Urciuoli says famous images of the Last Supper, including Da Vinci's, got it so wrong because they were based more on symbolic meaning and influenced by centuries of Catholic rituals. As for that wine served with the meal, the Mother Nature Network cites a religious expert who guesses it was something like today's Amarone, an Italian red. You can try to replicate it, but you'll need some tree resin or pomegranates. (We probably have the day of the Last Supper wrong, too.)

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