By companies (sumposia sumposia). Distribution expressed by repetition as in Mark 6:7 (duo duo) instead of using ana or kata. Literally our word symposium and originally a drinking party, Latin convivium, then the party of guests of any kind without the notion of drinking. So in Plutarch and the LXX (especially I Macca.). Upon the green grass (epi twi clwrwi cortwi). Another Markan touch. It was passover time ( John 6:4 ) and the afternoon sun shone upon the orderly groups upon the green spring grass. See on "Mt 14:15". They may have been seated like companies at tables, open at one end.