Ancient Roman Saturnalia in Dora Benley Novels:
The Saturnalia was the ancient Roman Christmas and New Year’s season. It was held in honor of the god Saturn from December 17 to December 23 as marked by the Julian calendar. He was the god of seed and sowing, and it was now the end of that season with the approach of the winter solstice on December 25 of the Julian calendar.
It might not exactly be Christmas, but it sounded like it. Romans put up trees in their houses and might even have decorated them. They exchanged gifts. Charity to the poor was emphasized as well as role reversals such as slaves sitting in the master’s chair and visa versa. It was a time of charity and good will to men. The Forum in Rome must have been very busy with all the shopping that went on.
The festival called the Saturnalia does not take place in the historical romantic thriller Julia: A Romance. That novel takes place in the summer time. By December Julia would be a bride of about six months in her new household. But the festival figures in the historical romantic thriller by Dora Benley entitled Cleopatra’s Stone. It takes place right before the hero of the novel, Lucius Antonius, flees with his bride to Roman Britain where he sets up the dynasty that will eventually lead to Edward Ware, the hero of the Edward Ware Thriller Series.
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The Roman Banquet In Classical Times:
The second day of the Roman wedding was often a Roman banquet or reception for the guests which meant feasting. What did the Romans eat?
You might be likely to find them gathered on the couches and sofas around the banqueting table devouring a pork roast the way you would associate with Henry VIII. For the Roman aristocracy liked pork as much as the later day English aristocracy. But alas they did not have forks, which were an invention of later times. They had to content themselves with only spoons and knives. And more than their modern counterparts they ate with their hands.
If they were not serving pork they would probably be serving fish, which was a favorite of Romans. They had their own favorite fish sauce, too. It was called either garum or liquamen. It has often be compared with American ketchup in its popularity.
And what about dessert for the Roman banquet? For the wedding banquet you were not likely to be served a wedding cake. In fact in the aristocratic form of marriage that was reserved for the bridal couple only during the ceremony and was fed to them by the priest in a ceremony resembling what later became the Roman Catholic wedding ceremony. But they were likely to enjoy fruit, honey, and nuts mixed up in some kind of custard or even cookies. And while they ate they were likely to be entertained by jugglers, musicians, acrobats, and actors.
In Julia: A Romance by Dora Benley, and soon to be published by Cheops Books LLC, you will find a full-scale banquet after the wedding ceremony. This all takes place before Julia and Marcus Sisenna, the groom, depart for a mysterious honeymoon trip to Greece where they will meet untold adventures.
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