How to Plan a Roman Banquet

Written by hayley pangle
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How to Plan a Roman Banquet
Modern banquets are very similar to Roman banquets. (some appetizing food at banquet table image by Aleksey Kondratyuk from

A Roman convivium, or banquet, was a highly extravagant affair centred around succulent food and high society. Plan and set up your own party styled around a traditional Roman banquet. Use rich fabrics and vines as decorations and centre the menu on meats and vegetables. Adjoin this to a toga party or a Halloween theme party to prolong the fun.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White paper
  • Coffee
  • Cotton balls
  • Ribbon
  • Hot wax (optional)
  • Various meats
  • Various vegetables
  • Grape vines, real or fake

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  1. 1

    Type a message to invite your friends to your Roman banquet. Use a basic Latin greeting such as "Salveta omnes," which means "greetings everyone." Specify the location and time of the party. Require a dress code, such as togas and sandals, if you want. Use an archaic or ancient font to add to the theme.

  2. 2

    Print your invitations on decorated paper that suits your party theme or personalise them yourself. Brew a few cups of coffee. Pour into a bowl and allow it to cool. Scrunch your invitations into loose balls. Unroll and lay the on a cookie rack. Dip a cotton ball into the coffee and paint it over the invitations. Let them dry, preferably overnight. This gives them an antique look.

  3. 3

    Roll the invitations into a scroll and tie both ends with ribbon. Take it further and pour melted wax to seal the paper and mark with a design.

    How to Plan a Roman Banquet
    Add rips and tears to the edges of your invitation scrolls. (scroll image by Kit Wai Chan from
  1. 1

    Plan your menu according to a Mediterranean Roman diet. Serve meats and vegetables for the "coena," or first course. Romans usually had wild boar, hens and various shellfish for their meats. Have olives and lettuce as side dishes.

    How to Plan a Roman Banquet
    Olives continue to be a delicacy in the Mediterranean. (green olives image by Freeze-frame Photography from
  2. 2

    Grill asparagus, peppers and other vegetables as side dishes for the second course. Romans typically served birds during this course, from flamingo to pheasants, but you can serve chicken and turkey as substitutes. Another option is to make venison dishes.

  3. 3

    Serve nuts and fruit for the dessert course. Fruit was usually served fresh but dried dates and raisins were also popular.

    How to Plan a Roman Banquet
    Serve fresh fruit to cleanse the palette. (fruit image by Leonie Pratt from
  1. 1

    Drape grape vines and other leafy plants around the room. Set lounge couches around the perimeter of the room. Drape velvet fabrics over the couches.

    How to Plan a Roman Banquet
    Buy grape vines at local farmer markets. (Rote_Traube1 image by Christoph Holthuysen from
  2. 2

    Place a low coffee table in the middle of the room. Add height on the coffee table with stable boxes and drape velvet over them. Place some candles on the table. Lay punch bowls and dinner platters on the table. Surround these with more vines and leaves.

    How to Plan a Roman Banquet
    Serve wine and punch in goblets. (Goblet and Bottle, Medieval Style image by Astroid from
  3. 3

    Allow your guests to lounge on the couches and pick their food from the coffee table in the traditional Roman style. You can also have servers dressed as Roman slaves. Place some dishes with rose water on the table for the guests to rinse their fingers between dishes.

Tips and warnings

  • The choice beverage for these banquets was wine. You can serve wine if you prefer.

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