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Thermopolium Courtyard

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Thermopolium Courtyard
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Photo Comments

View of an interior courtyard of a Fast Food establishment (thermopolium, popina, taberna) at Ostia. Note the round basin in the distance.  In th center is a square marble basin with a lea pipe for a vertical water jet.

Just above and to the right of center is the beginning of a staircase leading down to a cellar.  This building was constructed in A.D. 125.

Thermopolia were small cook–shops where hot and cold food was sold.  They were used primarily by the lower classes as the elites would dine in the luxurious surroundings of their own homes.  The houses of lower classes of people rarely had kitchens, thus they would eat at an establishment such as this, or they would "carry out" the food to take back home. These thermopolia were situated street side on the ground floor of apartment buildings and even elite houses.