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The flax, Ma’am, just the flax.

In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, Miriam describes a scene when she and Judah were in their dining room:

Our couch, flanked by ebony lamp stands, was positioned to face the marble fountain in the courtyard. The low ivory table before us was draped in a bleached linen cloth laden with trays of stuffed olives, boiled eggs, and candied almonds; a platter of the cook’s specialty, thin slices of grilled lamb in a fragrant mint sauce; and a salad of dandelion greens, berries, and melon balls.

The first western use of the tablecloth seems to have appeared in Roman times during the first century CE, that is, during Miriam’s time. It was usually made of linen, a textile from the fibers of the flax plant, which grew along the Nile.

Once harvested, the flax was soaked in water until soft. The softened flax was then separated into fibers which were beaten before being spun into thread and woven into cloth.

The Greeks called this fabric linón. This word has given rise to not only the term “linen” but some other words in English, most notably “line,” from the use of a linen (flax) thread to determine a straight line.

Some of the words in THE DEADLIEST THIEF, may scare you, but the ending will surely surprise you. Click here for a hint.

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