We are set in the Rome of the 70dc, which is bursting with excitement by the news coming from the overseas. Titus Flavius Vespasian, the Emperor Vespasian’s son, has beaten, after seven years of war, the so-called revolt of the Jews. After this triumph, he devastates and plunders the second temple of Jerusalem, and in its place he installs the Legio X Fretensis headquarters. There is honour and money for the needing coffers of the Empire’s capital. With their work done, the accomplishment and the highest honours, Titus Flavius sails from Alexandria to Rome where his father prepares a godly welcome.
Those of you who will be in Tarragona’s amphitheatre on Friday the 5th or Saturday the 6th of August will be able to enjoy a live show related to the historical re-enactment of ‘A Triumph in Rome: The celebration of a military victory‘ which is going to be starred by local groups as Projecte Phoenix, Nemesis Arq and Thaleia accompanied by the principal research music group, the Italian Ludi Scaenici. ‘A triumph in Rome‘ is the main novelty and the highlight of this edition of Tarragona Living History.
But what was the Triumph about? The Triumph was the solemn arrival of a victorious general in Rome, who wanted the country to reward their efforts, recognize and prize their achievements. It is itself a religious festival, an official act of thanksgiving to the Maximum Optimal Jupiter winner, the patron of the city.
However, the survival of this triumph is still alive in our culture. Isn’t Barça’s parade a triumph, when it wins the Champions League? Even the popular procession of Santa Tecla’s festivities is an evolution of the Roman triumph.
Did you know that there is a documented list of triumphs, from the archaic age until the 19 BC?. This list, called fasti Triumphalis, was exposed to the travellers on one of the walls of the region (Maximum Pontiff’s home). The list is still being preserved today in the current Palace of the Conservatives at the Capitoline Museums of Rome.
The triumphal parade (the pump):
What was it like, the triumphal pomp? Did it follow any guidelines at all?
On the day agreed by the Senate or the Emperor, the victorious general, who had been waiting (sometimes for months) at Campus Martius with his army, entered Rome which had been embellished with all the traditional ceremony’s elements. The parade began entering Rome by the so-called Triumphalis door, the position of which is unknown, but that would probably be the oldest door in the city. Then the procession continued to the Circus Flaminius, Boari Forum, the Circus Maximus, the Via Sacra, crossing the Roman Forum and ended up at the Capitol in front of the temple of Jupiter.
Every single spot in the city: the streets and squares, were decorated with garlands, the temples were open and all the platforms raised towards the sky, clambered by columns of incense.
The Delegation was headed by many senators and judges who were representing the Senate and Rome’s inhabitants, who thus followed a band of trumpets. Then, there came the wagons –carrying spoils and the booty taken from the enemy–. This demonstration of strength and power was accompanied by banners with a list of the cities and territories which had been conquered, followed by wreaths bearers and gold bidders offered to kings and peoples allies.
The following Command in the parade were the bulls and animals which had to be slaughtered. Bulls should be white or with a white spot on their heads. They wore golden horns and a triangle representing an eagle, the Jupiter’s symbol. And, after the animals, there were the enemy leaders and other prisoners who, once arrived at the Capitol, were executed the first ones, and sold as slaves the second ones.
Then there came the lictors with the fasces, the vase bearers, some ‘pebeters’ with their perfumes, and musicians, who preceded the car of the winner –drawn by four white horses–. This one was dressed up in palmate tunic (a purple tunic with golden palm patterns) and the toga picta (a golden geometric gown with stars). On their heads, they wore a laurel wreath (the symbol of Mars) on their left hands, they carried a branch of laurel, and on their right hands a sceptre with an eagle, the symbol of Jupiter. Their faces and hands were painted orange, after the colour of the original terracotta statue of Jupiter and the immortal’s colour. All this was known as the ‘’ornatus jovis’’ or as the ‘’ornatus triumpahlis’’; and once the pump was returned to the temple of Jupiter, it was safely kept.
The soldiers closed the pump with its distinctive decorations and laurel wreaths on their heads. The legionnaires went on shouting: Io triumphe! (Here the victory!).
Once the pump was over at the Capitol, the victor sacrificed the victims (bulls) and then a banquet was offered to their guests, one for the senators and magistrates, and another for their soldiers, friends and the inhabitants in general. While the festival initially lasted one day, to increase the spoils of the war, the victor could extend general celebrations.
The victory that will be recreated on the 5th and the 6th of August at Tarragona’s amphitheatre does not refer to anything in particular, although a large part has been taken from the Arc de Triomphe –built in honour to the emperor Titus for his victory over the Jews and the texts of Flavi Josep (“The Jews’ war”)–. Will you dare to miss it?
PROGRAM OF TARRAGONA HISTÒRIA VIVA
Eleven restaurants in Tarragona will offer over 100 Roman cuisine dishes for 17 days, between 13 and 29 May. The event is the 19th edition of the so-called “Tàrraco a Taula” gastronomic workshops, which are part of the Tarraco Viva, the most important Roman festival in the world. These food creations –true delicatessens– will be presented in the form of plates and portions, set menus and Roman-style mussels’ tastings (500g), together with two glasses of wine or beer.
As a matter of fact, one of the new additions to the 19th edition of the festival will be the presentation of two official drinks for the workshops: on the one hand, Rositvm, elaborated by Rosita using orange tree honey; on the other hand, Celler El Mèdol, which created a special natural wine for the occasion.
As for the establishments, both Alhambra and El Cortijo taverns will offer dishes and portions that cost from 3€ to 6€, while Almosta, Cócvla, El Llagut, Entrecopes, Palau del Baró, Sadoll and Txar3Verd restaurants will create 25€ menus. Besides, El Terrat will offer a 35€ menu. Restaurants offering the 500g mussels’ tasting –plus wine or beer– are Alhambra, Cócvla, El Llagut and Txar3Verd, all of which will use their own cooking techniques.
Another tasting event will take place prior to the beginning of the workshops, the so-called “Convivium”, due on 11 May (8pm) in Casa Canals. The Comvivium in fact, will work as the official presentation of the “Tàrraco a Taula” gastronomic workshops, as part of the Tarraco Viva festival. The event will be presented in the form of a free buffet, during which the following dishes will be served: Pernae (pork shank with vermouth and dry peaches), by El Cortijo; Botellus sanguineus triticum in cocvla (spelt cocvla with spinaches, black pudding and green olives), by Cócvla; Ostrea (Delta oyster in pickled oil), by El Llagut; Gadus (cod with dates), by Txar3Verd; Lacertvs conditi sinapi (pickled oil mackerel and mustard salad), by Almosta; and for a dulcia domestica, apple, mint and red wine mousse, by Palau del Baró.
The buffet will cost 25€ and tickets are available in all three Tourism offices (carrer Major 37, Rambla Nova s/n, i Camp de Mart) and the 6 restaurants taking part in the Convivium.
Tarragona will become –between 16 and 20 March– a small New Orleans, due to the Dixieland International Festival. This year’s programme is simply stunning, with over 100 live performances by groups, bands and artists coming from, besides Catalonia and Spain, Austria, France, UK, Italy or Germany. This 22nd edition will bring melodies and sounds that go from the so-called manouche jazz (aka gipsy jazz) music, to the Berlin cabaret, plus music by Renato Carosone and the unmistakable American Dixieland and swing music.
The 22nd Festival will kick off with the manouche jazz and the music by Quintette du Hot Club de France. This vitalist music style is still a reference genre within jazz music. The interpretative style of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli is still inspiring guitarists and violinists of all ages.
The 2016 Dixieland Festival will also provide us with the work by Kurt Weill, which goes from the opera and Berlin cabaret to the Broadway musicals. His repertoire has been popularised by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holidays, Nina Simone or Frank Sinatra, among others. The Berlin singer Juliane Heinemann will actually present, in collaboration with the 22nd Dixieland International Festival, a new extensive journey across this essential German composer.
On the other hand, the show Carosones will pay tribute to Renato Carosone, who worked on the Neapolitan music and jazz on such a singular and successful way; the sound of Mediterranean swing music. Songs such as Tu vuò fà l’americano or Torero –which topped the USA music charts for 14 weeks– have been adapted from the moment they were created on a number of languages and music styles.
The purest Dixieland and swing music will be performed by Marina & The Kats, Matthieu Boré, the Sant Andreu Jazz Band and Potato Head Jazz Band, from Granada, –possibly the best Spanish Dixieland music band–, which will introduce their latest show with the incredible dancer Ksenia Parkhatskaya.
The 22nd Dixieland International Festival will also gather a number of local musicians and bands that grew and made the festival grow in the recent years.