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Roman market in Seville

November 19, 2012 – 1:32 pm

The statues of Caesar and Hercules, on the Alameda de Hercules in Seville

Seville, like the rest of Andalucia, has a rich history which started many thousands of years ago. One of its most fascinating eras was the Roman, when it was called Hispalis. You can see Roman ruins, including exquisite mosaics, in the Antiquarium under Metropol Parasol – they are in situ, exactly where they were unearthed.

The city is proud of its Roman past, with many references to Hercules who, according to local lore, founded Seville. So it was appropriate that last weekend a Roman market was held in the Alameda de Hercules, the broad avenue which forms the heart of Seville’s most bohemian district.

Everyone knows how much the Spanish like to dress up, and these chaps on a cheese stall were no exception!

Roman-dressed lady in her Roman-decorated stall, which had...

one of the most Roman objects in the market!

The weather wasn’t kind on Saturday, with intermittent bouts of torrential rain, but on both Friday and Sunday the sun shone. We went yesterday, and although the stalls had much the same stuff you see in medieval and other markets (cheese and meaty products, sweets, bread, handicrafts, ethnic clothes), the stalls looked quite Roman with their banners and the stallholders had dressed up in tunics. We even found some swords, and impressive Roman helmets.

Chariots like this always bring to mind Asterix.

A basic wooden game which kept the kids happily entertained.

As well as a chariot and some games, which may or may not have been Roman in inspiration or origin, but which delighted my son and his dad, there were musicians and dancers. While the belly-dancers, wearing flamenco skirts in a cross-cultural costume moment, wiggled their hips, they were accompanied on drums and bagpipes.

Roman musicians who accompanied the belly dancers.

Again, I cannot attest to the veracity of these instruments as correct for the period, but it was all good fun and my daughter insisted on following them around as the walked/danced through the market, attracting amused looks from the public. We never did see the gladiators advertised on the poster, although there were some birds of prey which you could be photographed holding on your wrist.

Banners in Roman colours - red and gold - helped to create the atmosphere.

These markets take place throughout the year in towns and cities around Spain, whether medieval or Roman or from some other historical period. Whatever your view of them, they are free entertainment – if you’re a parent, you just have to resist your children’s entreaties to buy you whatever takes their fancy. Keep an eye out on our Events listing for a markets in Andalucia near you.

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