James Howell's Lexicon Tetraglotton (1660) frontispiece,
Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
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Lectus is usually to be understood in Livie for the bed whereupon they laid themselves at ease when they tooke their refection, and Triclinium is taken for Conclave, i. the parlour where they were woont to sup, because the usuall manner was to set three such beds or pallets together: (wherof the roume had the name) and a table raised somewhat higher from the floore, & placed so, as it served all three pallets, and was open at one side for the servitours to come unto it, and either set meat thereupon, or to minister what was called for. Vpon each of these beds there sate or leaned ordinarily three persons: so as nine was the ful number of guests at the bourd, according to the rule, NO FEWER THAN THE GRACES, NOR MORE THAN THE MUSES. For Horace in this verse, Sæpe tribus lectis videas cœnare quaternos, seemeth to glaunce at the niggardise of him that would rather want meat than guests, and so set twelve at the table which was but for nine, wherby also they were pent up together too streight.
Livy, The Roman History Written by T. Livius (1600)

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