Few things were more important in Roman culture than socialising. Not only did a good party provide entertainment, but it also helped prominent families show off their belongings and social skills while cementing business and political alliances. A Roman-themed party today can be a classic affair with an eye to authentic detail or a fun, free-for-all.
No Roman party would be complete without guests milling about in togas, the national garment of Rome. While males were the only citizens allowed to wear the toga, women wore long, flowing dresses and elaborate jewellery. You can either ask guests to arrive dressed in their favourite toga or present each arriving guest with a large white sheet to design into a toga or evening dress. It might be fun to vote later in the evening, with one guest winning an award for "best design."
Romans were supremely conscious of their societal status. Because the parties they gave were designed to impress their contemporaries and to increase their own status, they went all out in their preparations. There are simple touches you can use in a Roman-themed party that will help create the atmosphere of ancient Rome. A rustic bowl filled with grapes, vine leaves draped on the walls, jugs filled with wine and beautiful wine goblets all make authentic-looking additions. You can even add inexpensive columns and pedestals made of lightweight polyresin to your room. Set the mood with lighting; candles, lanterns and Christmas lights will help create a festive atmosphere. Music should be light and purely instrumental.
Roman meals generally consisted of three courses, each meant to impress guests. Vegetables, salad or shellfish should constitute the first course, while meat and roasted vegetables provide a fine main course. Fruit or cake can round out the meal as dessert. Roman meals were never rushed and breaks were taken between courses to allow food to digest and further visit with friends.
The Importance of the Table
Socialising was every bit as important as taking nourishment at a Roman party. If you want to present an authentic Roman-styled get-together, pay special attention to the comfort provided around the dinner table. Ancient Roman tables were low to the ground and surrounded by low couches so that the men could lounge as they dined. You may not have access to a low dining table and sofas, but you can easily replace them with a coffee table surrounded by large pillows, or even make your own table by covering several crates with a piece of plywood and a tablecloth.
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