Governor of the Feast

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Among the Greeks, at all formal feasts, there was a “symposiarch,” who was one of the guests, and was selected to take charge of the feast. It was his duty to preserve order, to maintain liveliness among the guests, to assign each one his proper place, to decide what proportion of water should be mingled with the wine, and how much each of the company was to drink. Among the Romans was a corresponding officer who was called rex convivii or arbiter bibendi. It is thought by many that the ἀρχιτρίκλινος or “governor of the feast” mentioned in the text, was an officer of the same kind. This, however, is denied by other authorities, who assert that the ἀρχιτρίκλινος was not a guest, but a servant hired for the purpose, whose business it was to take charge of the other servants and see that they properly performed their work. He had some duties in common with the symposiarch, among which was that of tasting the wine before it was offered to the guests. Thus when Jesus had miraculously changed the water into wine, he directed the servants to take some of it to “the governor of the feast.”