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What Taverns Say about Ancient Workers & Ourselves

A beer cave in Iowa City
University of Iowa
A beer cave in Iowa City

This week, Monmouth College students will learn what working class Romans, Dubliners, and Midwesterners have in common. Tomorrow, University of Iowa Professor, Sarah Bond, and Tom Keegan, from the university's Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio, will present "The Local: Mapping Real and Imagined Taverns, Pubs, and Breweries from Antiquity to Modernity."

Bond is driven to uncover the secrets of ordinary people who lived in places like Pompeii during Roman rule. People who worked hard and drank beer.

For example, in ancient Pompeii, 96 public houses served about 20,000 people. Since most of them were illiterate, the pub was where to go for the news. And empowerment.

It's also where you meet people who do what you do and form what we would call labor unions or guilds. It's a place where you get together as brewers or construction workers.

Keegan will discuss the role of pubs in James Joyce's Dubliners,  and they'll teach the audience about the role of beer caves in Iowa City during prohibition.

Bond and Keegan will present Mapping Real and Imagined Taverns Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Monmouth College's Center for Science and Business. It's sponsored by the Classics Department along with the Western Illinois Society of the Archeological Institute of America.

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