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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Τρεῖς Ταβερναί , Graecized from the Latin Tres Tabernce), a station on the Appian Road, along which Paul traveled from Puteoli to Rome (Acts 28:15). The Roman Christians went, in token of respect, to meet Paul at these places, having been probably apprised of his approach by letters or express from Puteoli (Acts 28:13-15) one party of them resting at the Three Taverns, and the other going on to Appii Forum. When the apostle saw this unequivocal token of respect and zeal, he took fresh courage. There is no doubt that the Three Taverns was a frequent meeting place of travelers. A good illustration of this kind of intercourse along the Appian Way is supplied by Josephus (Ant. 17:12, 1) in his account of the journey of the pretender Herod Alexander. He landed at Puteoli (Dicaearchia) to gain over the Jews that were there; and "when the report went about him that he was coming to Rome, the whole multitude of the Jews that were there went out to meet him, ascribing it to Divine Providence that he had so unexpectedly escaped." (See PAUL).
The word ταβέρνα is plainly the Latin taberna in Greek letters, and denotes a house made with boards or planks; quasi trabena. Wooden houses, huts, etc., are called tabernae. Thus Horace, "Pauperum tabernas regumque turres" (Carm. 1, 14,13). Hence the word also means shops, as distinguished from dwelling-houses. Horace uses it for a bookseller's shop (Sat. 1, 4, 71), and for a wine-shop (Ep. 1, 14, 24). The shops at Pompeii are booths, connected in almost every case with dwellings behind, as they were in London three centuries ago. When eatables or drinkables were sold in a Roman shop, it was called taberna, tavern, victualling house. Grotius observes that there were many places in the Roman empire at this time which had the names of Forum and Tabernae, the former from having Markets of all kinds of commodities, the latter from furnishing wine and eatables. The place or village called "Three Taverns" probably, therefore, derived its name from three large inns, or eating-houses, for the refreshment of travelers passing to and from Rome. Zosimus calls it τρία καπηλεῖα (2, 10).
Appii Forum appears to have been such another place. Horace mentions the latter, in describing his journey from Rome to Brundusium, as "differtum nautis, cauponibus atque malignis" stuffed with rank boatmen, and with vintners base (Sat. 1, 5, 3). That the Three Taverns was nearer Rome than Appii Forum appears from the conclusion of one of Cicero's letters to Atticus (2, 10), which, when he is traveling south- eastwards from Antium to his seat near Formiae, he dates "Ab Appii Foro, hora quarta" from Appii Forum, at the fourth hour; and adds, "Dederam aliam paulo ante, Tribus Tabernis" (I wrote you another, a little while ago, from the Three Taverns). Just at this point a road came in from Antium on the coast, as we learn from the same letter of Cicero (Att. 2, 12). The Itinerary of Antoninus places Appii Forum at forty-three Roman miles from Rome, and the Three Taverns at thirty-three; and, comparing this with what is observed still along the line of road, we have no difficulty in coming to'the conclusion that the Three Taverns was near the modern Cisterna (see Smith, Dict. of Greek and Romans Geog. 2, 1226 b, 1291 b). In the 4th century there was a bishop of Three Taverns, named Felix (Optatus, lib. 1). It has been stated by some that the place still remains, and is called Tre Taverne. Thus, in Evelyn's time (1645), the remains were "yet very faite" (Diarie, 1, 134). -But recent travelers have been unable to find more. than a few unnamed remains on the spot indicated (Chaupy, Maison d'Horace, 3, 383; D'Anville, Analyse de D'Italie, p. 195; Westphal, Ronm. Kampagne, p. 69; Fleck, Wissenschaft. Reise, I, 1, 375). (See APPII FORUM).