Dining within European halls already respected a universal sequence and culture by 1100, which was further homogenized by institutions such as the fostering abroad of adolescent males and the lavish entertaining of the mobile tourneying society of France and the western Empire. The conduct of the table at dinner was the central ritual of courtly society and generated a considerable instructional literature across the continent. It was also a major stress point in society, with reputations of hosts depending on their lavish hospitality and the efficiency of their servants, while the social fortunes of their guests depended on confident performances at table as guests, raconteurs and entertainers. Dangers included overindulgence in alcohol, gauging the degree of deference, the control of body and posture, as well as any failure in contributing to general entertainment.
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