Mr "Hot Sex": the full story
One of the real stars of "Meet the Romans" has been the innkeeper Lucius Calidius Eroticus ("Mr Hot Sex") along with his wife, Fannia Voluptas ("Madame Gorgeous"). We took a quick look at their tombstone.. and wondered about what the names (trade names, pretty obviously) said about ancient pub culture.
We didn't have time to look at the rest of the stone, which has more to tell of story. You can see the whole thing at the top. At the bottom, there is a little sculptured scene of a man with a mule (or whatever... small equid). He's dressed in a travellers cloak with a hood, and he's handing over cash to a man on the left, who's presumably Eroticus.
And between the names at the top and the picture at the bottom, there is a little dialogue of 'life in the bar'. A customer (the guy in the cloak) is settling his bill. It goes like this . . .
Customer: "Innkeeper. Let's work out the bill"
Innkeeper: "You've got a sextarius of wine there, that's one as <'as'= small unit of Roman currency>. Bread, one as. And the dips, two asses."
Customer: "That's right"
Innkeeper: "You had a girl. That's eight asses"
Customer: "That's right too."
Innkeeper: "And hay for the mule. Two asses."
Customer: "That mule will be the ruin of me"
It's another nice glimpse of the jokey culture of the Roman bar.
This is how the Latin goes:
L. Calidius Eroticus sibi et Fanniae Voluptati vivus fecit.
‘habes vini sextarium unum, panem asse uno, pulmentarium assibus duobus.’
‘puellam, assibus octo.’
‘et hoc convenit.’
‘faenum mulo, assibus duobus.’
‘iste mulus me ad factum dabit.
One tricky word is "pulmentarium". I translated it "dips". Not quite right: it means "what goes with bread". The dictionary says "relishes"... my American friend says "sides".
The original is from Aesernia (in South Italy), but now in the Louvre. Its epigraphic reference is CIL IX, 2689.