Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ancient Roman Concession Stands

SJ: During our week in Rome we went to see the Colosseum. As we walked through the arched passageways and up the stairs, I could not help feeling a slight bit like I was walking to an Aggie football game. Even centuries after the Colosseum was built in 80 A.D., it still has an energizing effect on visitors. In addition to game day spirit, we also found in some of the displays, evidence of concession stands during ancient games. Today, we often have processed foods, and soft drinks for snacks during games, but the viewers of the gladiator fights and mock sea battles had peaches, olives, pine nuts, cherries, walnuts, melons, plums, dates, and grapes for their game day snacks. Already, many of these crops had spread outside of their origin. Many originated in Asia, but others such as the olive originated closer to Rome in modern day Turkey. As people moved, they brought with them familiar crops as food and as trade, so all of these crops provided the Romans nourishment during the games. Seeds and pits of these different fruits were somehow preserved through the centuries and found by archaeologist today, along with glasses, plates, and spoons used to consume their snacks. Much like mountains of styrofoam cups and wrappers are left after the crowds leave modern stadiums, the romans also left their trash in the stands which has provided great insight into the games from the people’s perspective.

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