Apelles' table. A pictured table, representing the excellency of
sobriety on one side, and the deformity of intemperance on the other.
Tables of Cebes.
Cebes was a Theban philosopher, a disciple of Socrates, and one of
the interlocutors of Plato's Phædo. His Tables or Tableau supposes him to be placed before a tableau or panorama
representing the life of man, which the philosopher describes with
great accuracy of judgment and splendour of sentiment. This tableau is
sometimes appended to Epictetus.
Table of Pythagoras.
The common multiplication table, carried up to ten. The table is
parcelled off into a hundred little squares or cells. (See Tabulae.)
Knights of the Round Table.
A military order instituted by Arthur, the “first king of the
Britons,” A.D. 516. Some say they were twenty-four in number, some
make the number as high as 150, and others reduce the number to twelve.
They were all seated at a round table, that no one might claim a post
The Twelve Tables.
The tables of the Roman laws engraved on brass, brought from Athens
to Rome by the decemvirs.
Turning the tables.
Rebutting a charge by bringing forth a counter-charge. Thus, if a
husband accuses his wife of extravagance in dress, she “turns the
tables upon him” by accusing him of extravagance in his, club. The
Romans prided themselves on their tables made of citron wood from
Mauritania, inlaid with ivory, and sold at a most extravagant price - some equal to a senator's income. When the gentlemen accused the ladies
of extravagance, the ladies retorted by reminding the gentlemen of what
they spent in tables. Pliny calls this taste of the Romans mensarum
It is also used for “audi alteram partem,” and the allusion
is then slightly modified - “We have considered
the wife's extravagance; let us now look to the husband's.”
“We will now turn the tables, and show the hexameters in all their
vigour.” —The Times.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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