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Behind the façade of the tavern, which borders on Via dell’Abbondanza and is covered all over with election propaganda, we can see a masonry counter which contained four terra-cotta vessels for storing cooked meals. At the rear of the tavern are the remains of the staircase which led to the guest rooms on the upper floor. The graffiti on the walls of these rooms suggests that customers could also enjoy the company of Asellina’s waitresses. The tavern-keeper Asellina as well as Zmyrina, Ismurna and Aegle were influential women who used to sign electoral propaganda to support candidates in the elections for high municipal offices.
Cooked, shelled prawns (the original recipe uses scallops, but you can use and seafood)
Pinch of pepper
Liquamen (or soya sauce)
Black pepper to taste
Mash the peeled prawns in a bowl. Add the pepper, Liquamen, cooked spelt and the beaten eggs. Mix well and shape into patties. Roll in seasoned flour and fly gently in oil until browned on both sides.
Love was a common topic of conversation in Pompeii. Feelings, passions, poetic love, sex, homosexuality, prostitution and so forth were all part of daily life and not a source of prejudice. The concept of “obscenity” seems to have been unknown. Love and sex were considered earthly practices of a man’s life that were encouraged by the benevolence of Venus. The thousands of examples of graffiti found on the town’s walls are unequivocal proof of what the people of Pompeii thought about love and sex.