Three Taverns (Latin: Tres Tabernae; Greek: Τριῶν Ταβερνῶν, Triōn Tabernōn) was a place on the ancient Appian Way, about 50 km from Rome, designed for the reception of travellers, as the name indicates.
Tres Tabernae originated as a post station on the Appian Way, around the 3rd century BC.
Here, the Christian saint Paul of Tarsus, on his way to Rome, was reportedly met by a band of Roman Christians (Acts 28:15). The "Tres Tabernae was the first mansio or mutatio, that is, halting-place for relays, from Rome, or the last on the way to the city. At this point three roads run into the Via Appia, that from Tusculum, that from Alba Longa, and that from Antium; so necessarily here would be a halting-place, which took its name from the three shops there, the general store, the blacksmith's, and the refreshment-house...Tres Tabernae is translated as Three Taverns, but it more correctly means three shops".
The Encyclopædia Britannica 1911 edition identifies it as "an ancient village of Latium, Italy, a post station on the Via Appia, at the point where the main road was crossed by a branch from Antium. It is by some fixed some 5 km southeast of the modern village of Cisterna di Latina just before the Via Appia enters the Pontine Marshes, at a point where the modern road to Ninfa and Norba diverges to the northeast, where a few ruins still exist (Grotte di Nottola), 53 km from Rome. Others believe that it stood at Cisterna itself, where a branch road running from Antium by way of Satricum actually joins the Via Appia. However, excavations, that took place at km 58.1 of the Via Appia Nuova between 1993 and 2001 revealed a bath plant and some further buildings.
Around the 3rd century AD, the area was invaded by marshes, and the inhabitants of the nearby Ulubrae likely moved to Tres Tabernae, which grew of importance and became a Christian episcopal see with a Palaeo-Christian cathedral dedicated to St. Paul. In 307, emperor Flavius Severus was assassinated (or forced to commit suicide) here by Heraclius, by order of other emperors Maximian and Maxentius. The barbaric invasions in Italy caused a further expansions of the marshes[clarification needed], and Tres Tabernae declined so that, in 592, pope Gregory I united its diocese to that of Velletri. Later in the high Middle Ages, Tres Tabernae was ravaged several times by the Saracens, until it was completely destroyed in 868.
The position of the Tres Tabernae is also shown in the Tabula Peutingeriana in a location south of Rome.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tres Tabernae". Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Easton, Matthew George (1897). "article name needed". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.