A Skelding Summary
Tables seem to be around 5000 years old and are still going strong. The originals were indeed very strong - (as they were made out of stone) and thus you would be guaranteed no wear or tear unless your barbecue was gatecrashed by an army looking for the beer.
Ancient examples of round stone tables on legs have been discovered in Egypt - your typical Ancient Egyptian family could have turned the table on its end, rolled the table down the road, had dinner in different locations, and also have simultaneously invented the wheel. At least they did better than the Greeks of whom no record of tables can be found. They must just have preferred picnics on the roof - liking their pillar table legs.
The Romans did have tables both of stone and of wood - which indeed could be folded.
As with chairs, tables were indicators of status. The head of the table symbolised the head of the family. The 'top table' is a term still used today. However King Arthur (or Merlin who was purported to have tipped him off) had a round table so that there would be no quarrels among his knights as to who was most important. The idea never caught on.
In the Middle Ages tables became altars. Any eating at the table had a strictly religious purpose and comprised wafers and wine which represented the body and blood of Christ. Later they were used for feasts and later still for family dining. Now the most lofty tables used by the commoners are used for meetings. Yet the board table shows who, in the modern age of finance, is king.
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Histories of Things