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A popina (Latin: popina) was an ancient roman drinking establishment. Popinas were small spaces where food (olives, bread, as well as hot dishes) and wine were served, often with music playing. Despite the outward similarity to a caupona, in essence, a popina was significantly different as it did not provide accommodation for guests and was therefore considered a less respectable establishment. In written sources, a popina is often described as a place for drunkards, fights, and songs. Popinas were mainly frequented by lower-class representatives — slaves, freedmen, foreigners. Food was most often consumed standing up, and only occasionally were guests offered the opportunity to dine at tables on chairs.

Prostitutes often offered their services in popinas. Inscriptions from Pompeii and testimonies from Roman authors suggest that "barmaids" and "waitresses", and sometimes even the hostesses of the establishment, were also engaged in prostitution.

Drinking establishment in Pompeii

Related topics

Thermopolium, Caupona


Roman Pompei: space and society