On the weekend of 24 and 25 April, Alhama de Murcia will be holding its first Roman Market since the Romans left some 1600 years ago. The Market will be held in the Plaza de la Constitución where stands the Town Hall. As the Market has “a touch of Asterix and Obelix”, there will be – apart from the Romans – Gauls, druids and slaves as well as a complete Roman market with stalls selling foods, trinkets and all that is necessary for the most refined Roman household.
The stalls open on the Saturday morning at 11 am. As Amata (the same association that was in charge of the medieval market, last year) is organising the whole event, visitors can be sure that all the merchandise is made by hand by the people at the stalls. Wonderful presents for the next dinner party or seminar, just the thing to bribe a senator or two or obtain the favours of a noble lady. Silver, glass, wood, ceramics, leather, fabrics – all beautifully crafted to suit the refined taste of any patrician.
And then there are stalls with food to suit the most jaded appetite. Perhaps no lark tongue paté or wolf nipple crackers, but noble cheeses, delicious sausages and dried fruit for those long journeys into the barbarian lands as well as beer, wine, pancakes and sizzling barbecued meat to restore the inner man or woman. Drink from beakers and eat with your fingers – the Romans had no table manners and nor do we, but we do provide paper napkins.
Sit down at one of the rude benches and enjoy the spectacle of Gaulish soldiers and musicians, a Roman priest making an offering at mid-day, beggars, thieves and a senator or two. You might even encounter Asterix and Obelix. A dancing bear on a chain (on loan from Circus Maximus) will be there to amaze the gawking crowd with his skills, but there is no need to go and complain to the RSPCA: it’s not a real bear! There will also be a man-powered merry-go-tound and some workshops for the children.