Mid-September for the feast of Cyprian

A market festival occurred there every year in mid-September for the feast of Cyprian, the martyred Christian bishop of Africa in the third century. This was the greatest market of the year, drawing merchants and buyers from Campania to Calabria and over to Apulia, virtually all of southern Italy. Some sellers erected stands and tents throughout the spreading meadows to display and protect their merchandise, while others cobbled together a temporary camp of shelters from tree branches to provide hospitality for all the visitors. It was a veritable city without buildings. Elegant clothes and handsome livestock, to say nothing of agricultural produce (it was harvest time, after all), were the great sellers, but the royal letter writer from whom we know of the event takes pains as well to describe and prettify something horrific: a brisk trade in children whose impoverished parents sold them into slavery. People could think it was better for children to be slaves in town than to live w