|The Caupona of Legio XX Valeria Victrix|
|News as of June 14,2004!||Roman Days 2006!
School Demo at Virginia Run Elementary in Fairfax County, February 8, 2002
Legio XX and the Caupona at the University of Pennsylvania Museum Opening, March 16, 2003
Roman Days, June 12 and 13, 2004
|As part of the Roman reenactment group, the Washington,
D.C. based Legio XX Valeria
Victrix, we have expanded our displays to include the civilian side
of Roman culture. We have researched the reconstruction of a 'caupona',
or tavern from an actual caupona in Pompeii owned by a woman named Asellina,
and we used this and other finds from Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia as
a starting point.
There were many types of small taverns, bars, snack shops, and inns, and the distinctions overlap. What we are building is a mobile tavern that can be carried to our events. This 'set' is actually built using theatrical flats, a mockup of which you can see in the photo.
Roman Days, June 12 & 13, 2005. Compare with the image below. Three women of Legio XX staffed the caupona and represented different skills and backgrounds. Note the changes on the wall to the actual Caius Lollius election notice, and some of the actual graffitti from Pompeii. Note also the tripod trivet identical to one at Asellina's, and the iron grill that is typical of Roman cooking.
|Places to eat in the Roman world went by various
names. Below are some as used in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The above Latin menu is actually:
Here is a sample of Pompeii graffitti thanks to Tarantalla (Legio XX's Linda Thompson)
The following election graffitti, reproduced on the caupona, is from Asellina's tavern as you can see below (though this quote is on the right side of the doorway). The non-Roman punctuation is from the search site. Note that Caius Lollius is in the accusative case, as the "women of Asellina's" are asking you to vote for him. "NEC SINE" means 'but especially'.
C(aium) Lollium / Fuscum IIvir(um) v(iis) a(edibus) s(acris) p(ublicis) p(rocurandis) / Asellinas(!)rogant(!) / nec sine Zmyrina
|Consisting so far of ten 3' x 6' 5" panels (but expandable),
this caupona has a counter similar to those in Pompeii and Herculaneum,
that is, with a dolia or counter top with built-in bowls for wine,
soups, etc. We did not add chairs due to time constraints, but maybe next
The only problem foreseen by our Legio XX commander, Quintus, is that now the legionaires will abandon the military event and go hang out at the bar (NB: as you can see in the photo, they actually do hang out there). This only means assigning guard duty etc, so we rotate in and out. Let's just hope the realism does not extend to latrine duty!
Above is the exterior of Asellina's caupona: many thanks to Ron Kenat of Legio XX.
Contents of Asellina's in Naples Museum: 1920's photo of Asellina's during excavation, minus counter objects
|The idea for the caupona came from my wife Allison, who
has been attending Legion events but been frustrated since these are centered
around soldiers. With her extensive theater experience, including set construction,
she conceived of the idea and thought it would enhance the Legion's efforts.
Our goals with this project are to be:
|Our display includes excellent reproductions of glass and samian ware (see Univ of Penn event photos).|
|Links to Roman Sites||Links to sites about caupona|
|Legion XX Valeria Victrix||A Pompeiian Caupona|
|RMRS Civilian Side (click on 'civilian')||Aedificia Herculanei|
|An Index of Roman Culture and Civilization||Dining in Pompeii|
|Thermopolium of Scintilla|