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May 4, 2012     Post-Gazette
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Page2 POST-GAZETTE, MAY 4, 2012 Stir ep_e_ by Prof. Edmund TurieUo Nostra of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. During the last three is- sues we examined the an- cient Roman marriage rites and their attitude toward matrimony. This week I'd like to look into their inns. I guess this makes me a peep- ing Tommasino. A Roman wayside inn for the reception of travelers was called a "caupona" or "taberna," and these were located along all the great roads in Italy. They were built for speculation by neighboring property owners and either leased to an inn keeper or managed by their own slaves. A "stabulum" (stable) was usually attached to one end of the caupona. Where the traffic was great- est, several of these inns were usually built close together. Some historians say that the increase in the number of travelers made the inns necessary while others claim that more people traveled because the accommodations were avail- CAUPONA able. Persons from nearby provinces flocked to their "Ludi" or national games and this alone required great numbers of suitable facili- ties in the city as well as on the highways. In the earlier ages of Rome, there was no provi- sion for the entertainment. of travelers and the duty of the innkeeper to provide hospitality was standard practice. This was a charac- teristic feature of most coun- tries and was of a twofold nature: It was practiced between individuals and also between the provinces. A stranger who appeared with no hostile objective was treated as a friend in need, under the special protection of the gods and was kindly received. The quality of the accommodations that were provided could never be termed luxurious and the attitudes of the land-lords often left much to be desired. Some innkeepers were ac- cused of gouging the public, adulterating their food and wine and in extreme cases, even murdering their guests and stealing their valuables. The higher classes used these inns as little as pos- sible, however, when other accommodations were not available they sometimes were forced to use them to transact diplomatic business along with the lodging (I'll have to remember that one). The man who kept a caupona was called a "caupo" or "copo" and a female was called a "copa." The name caupona generally referred to an inn where travelers obtained food and lodging, however, the name was of- ten given to shops which served wine and dressed meat. This is in direct con- trast to some of the estab- lishments of today which serve wine and undressed meat, NEXT WEEK: Divortum Project Bread - The Walk for Hunger Street Closings for the 2012 Walk for Hunger Project Bread's Walk for Hunger is Sunday, May 6, 2012. Walkers will enjoy a 20-mile route weaving through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown and Cambridge, and will be provided with entertainment and free snacks along the way. This year, more than 40,000 participants will raise nearly S4 million in pledges to help fund over 450 emergency programs, schools, summer food programs, com- munity health centers, farmers' markets, community suppers, home care organizations and other programs that protect the individual and strengthen our community food security. Reg- istration is from 7:00 am- 9:00 am on the Boston Com- mon. For further information, call 617-723-5000 or visit www.projectbread.org. Take the T to Park Street! The MBTA provides FREE RIDES to anyone traveling with a Walk Guide or online registration certificate be- tween 6:00 am and 8:00 am on Walk Day. To see sched- ules and parking informa- tion, please visit MBTA.com. BOSTON Charles St., between Boyl- ston and Beacon, will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6:00 am-6:00 pm. Park- ing on Charles St. will also be restricted. In addition, Boylston St. East- and West- bound feeding into Charles St. will be closed. Traffic on Charles St. S. will be diverted at Park Sq. Commonwealth Ave. out- bound, from Arlington St. through Kenmore Sq., will "be closed from 6:00 am- 11:00 am. TraffiC will be diverted at streets leading to The Agency for all your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking Commonwealth, including Charlesgate E. and W. Traf- fic on Commonwealth in- bound at Kenmore Sq. will also be diverted. Arlington St., between Beacon and Commonwealth Ave., will be closed from 6:00 am - 11:00 am. Beacon St. between Charles and Arlington Sts. will be closed from 7:00 am -12:00 pm. Expect traffic delays Bea- con St. outbound from Ken- more Sq. to Park Dr. between 7 am - noon. Traffic outbound at the intersection of Beacon St. and Park Dr. will be di- verted from 7:00 am - noon. Drivers are asked to use extreme caution on Massa- chusetts Ave. at the intersec- tion with Commonwealth Ave. where Walkers will be crossing from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm. Charlesgate West at Bea con Street closed 7:00 am - 11:30 am. Charlesgate East at Commonwealth Ave. in- bound closed from 7:00 am - 11:30 am. Expect delays along Commonwealth Ave. from Charlesgate E. to Arlington St. from 11:00 am -7:00 pm. ,  (Co]atilued on Page...15) Res Publica by Davfd "ImuU Viva Mexico/ Congress wanted to commemorate the holiday Cinco de Mayo, but they could not agree on the date. -- Humorist Mark Russell at the 2011 Robert Benchley Society Annual Awards Dinner. All joking aside, Congress could be forgiven for being confused about Cinco de Mayo. Often mistaken, in America, for Mexico's Fourth of July (Mexico's Indepen- dence Day is, in fact, cel- ebrated on September 16th), it commemorates the Battle of Puebla, where, in 1862, about 4,000 poorly equipped Mexican soldiers defeated an invading French army of twice that size. It isn't a big holiday in most of Mexico; rather it is local to the City of Puebla in central Mexico. In other words, Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican equiva- lent to Bunker Hill Day or perhaps Patriots' Day, a lo- cal celebration of a local battle that had national importance. Cinco de Mayo is now ob- served throughout the U.S., where it is a much bigger holiday than it is in Mexico. Some U.S. celebrations now extend to honoring Hispanic ancestry and culture of all origins -- North American, Central American, South American and Caribbean -- not solely Mexican. American love of Mexican, cuisine and of :the distinctly Mexican liquor, Tequila, has helped spread enjoyment of Cinco de Mayo, as has, frankly, the commercial in- terest of food and beverage vendors. Never one to pass on an excuse for a party, I'll be celebrating Cinco de Mayo, although perhaps with Bourbon rather than Tequila, the 5 falling on the first Saturday in May, which makes it Kentucky Derby Day. The Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, may have been as significant for American history as it was for Mexico. It was during the American Civil War and many histori- ans believe that France was on the verge of coming to the aid of the Southern Con- federates. The French de- feat at Puebla put an end to such plans, if any. Who knows, had Mexico not de- feated the French that day the United States might be several States fewer today. That's if the Union survived at all after a Civil War with foreign involvement. So, per- haps it is fitting that Cinco de Mayo is a bigger holiday north of the border ,- Viva Mexico! i IBO NTS 1 iii!i!iiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i!i!!iiiiiiiiiiii ........ iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!iiiiiii!i!!!iiii Boston Publi  ill colld compost ents' yard waste Four wksi Ail 30 - May 25 ON YOUR REECLING DAY. paper t I ,   I I I kl I r  I 1