The Meat-Market At Corinth (1 Corinthians 10:25) -- By: David W. J. Gill

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 43:2 (NA 1992)
Article: The Meat-Market At Corinth (1 Corinthians 10:25)
Author: David W. J. Gill

The Meat-Market At Corinth
(1 Corinthians 10:25)

David W.J. Gill


The presence of a meat market at Corinth may be ascertained by a pair of Latin inscriptions. They record the gifts of the building by a member of the local social elite probably in the Augustan period. A third Greek graffito sometimes associated in modern literature with the macellum is irrelevant to the debate. The layout of the Corinthian market can be deduced from the similiar situations in the Roman empire.

I. Introduction

The identification of the meat-market (macellum) at Corinth has long been of interest to scholars as it was here that Christians were buying food which had been offered in sacrifice.1 Paul in his discussion of food offered to idols describes food being acquired ἐν μακέλλῳ the hellenised form of the Latin macellum. The Greek form of the word had been noted from Greek inscriptions in Asia Minor and Greece itself.2

II. The Macellum Inscriptions

During the American excavations at Corinth, there was some anticipation that remains of the structure would be found. F.J. de Waele, for example, argued that the macellum was probably situated in the area of the peribolos of Apollo beside the Lechaion Road.3 Part

of the excitement had been aroused by the discovery of a fragmentary marble inscription in 1898 which seemed to refer to the structure.4

The inscription reads:

Q(uintus) Co[r]nelius [.] f(ilius) [A]em(ilia) Secundus [et]

Maec[ia Q(uintus)] f(ilia) vxor [eius] [.] [Cornelius Secundus M]a[e]cianus f(ilius) Q(uintus) Corn[elius]

Secu[nd]us f [Co]rn[elia Secunda f eius vxor Q(uintus) M]a[e]ci Q(uintus) l(ibertus) Cleogen[is]

macellv[m ---------------- cum ------] et pi[scario ------]

inea loc [----------------]

West, followed by Kent, took this pair of inscriptions to refer to a separate Macellum Piscarium. The crucial penultimate lines of the inscriptions read:

macellu[m --- cum ---]et pi[scario ---]

[macellum ---cum pi]scario et bilac ---

However this interpretation has been challenged.5 Nabers has argued that it is unlikely that the Cornellii would provide two...

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