La Passatella, the Ancient Roman game with wine... and too often knifes.
La Passatella has origins in the Ancient Rome, when the Romans they used to spend their dinners drinking in social way. In every convivium there was the master of the drinks... called Rex Vini... and we have notes of this ancient roman game from the Ancient Writers Cato and Horatius.
Many century later, the tradition of this social drinking game, with a master of the wine, becomes "La Passatella".
The Romans of the Rome of the Papal Empire, they used to spend a lot of time in the "Hostaria", cheap places where you could drink wine and bring your own food...
Here the Passatella was a very common way to spend time...
starting like a game between friends, very often could become a tragedy, ending at the Hospital.
Why? Let's discover together...
The aim of the Game:
the aim of the Passatella was to leave disappointed and enventually to laugh at one of the participants (the Ormo) that not always it accepted of good degree to then contribute to the purchase of the wine in order to see that wine drunk from others - in a period in which, often, the common people had difficulty to find the money demanded for a good wine glass - to its health.
Same Pope Sisto V, worried for the news of fights because of the game, is narrated, wanted try the Passatella with some of its Cardinals.
Once he became " Ormo " for various consecutive times hurled on those people (its Cardinals!) that they did not allow of drink and only thakns to the ready participation of some serving avoided that the test degenerasse.
The Rules of the Passatella:
The rules of the Passatella are enough complex to demand a sure practice for completely being able to be learned.
The personages protagonists are mainly four:
la Conta (draing straws)
il Padrone (the Master)
il Sotto (the Under)
l'Ormo (the Idiot... whonever drinks)
The total number of players must be, possibly, advanced to five... or more.
Through "la Conta" (draing straws) the fate establishes who must be "La Conta" that is that chosen personage from the case that will have to name "Under" and the "Master".
"La Conta", carried out the task, is withdrawn from an active role and assists to the various successive phases participating which player.
"La Conta" has straight to the first drink, that is master of the wine, being able to decide if drink it quite all the (wine amount that is used is of various liters) and in this case it must make all with just one shot (without taking a brake), or can drink just a single glass.
Before "la Conta" name the Master (il Padrone) of the wine, who has the right of drink like "La Conta", "la Conta must decide who will be the Under (il Sotto).
The Master can assign the drinks to the other participants and it will be able to make it on its own discrection but he will have to assign the glass, the drop the spoon or the bucket through the Under that is of interposed person.
The Under has the power to come to an agreement to allow the drink to the others or denied it.
He is the true head of the game.
The game must be clear in all its passages for this reason the Passatella game is a loud spoken game.
A phase of game could be following: the players have drained straws to decide who is "la Conta".
La Conta decide who is going to be the Under (il Sotto).
The Under he has the authority to decide if you can drink... So now "la Conta" ask to the Under:"Posso Beve?(can I drink?)
At this point the Under addresses to an other player - You are the Master... er Padrone-.
The Master, after to have practised its power to drink, it must send the other glasses of wine, but alwasu with the approval of the Under...
Master says:"This glass we give it to Caio", Caio takes the glass and he ask to the Under:" Can I drink? (posso beve?) -The Under answers, - Ok (va bene) - therefore Caio can drink.
Then the Master fills up a glass and says "this is for Nino" Nino takes the glass and asks the permission to the Under, "Can I drink?" - The Under answers, "No! You can smell it, look at it, but then the drink it goes to Mario!"
If that evening the Under denies all the the drinks to Nino, he will be made Ormo.
The player, except for the inferior or equal amounts to a glass, must drink all of a breath; the drinks cannot be yielded and if it is happen, all the tidy wine must be paid!
Now let's listen what happen in a real Passatella...