Greece Plays A Role In Julia: A Romance:
Sulla conquered Athens in 87 and 86BC. A stream of slaves was sent to Rome to fill the houses of the patricians with tutors, governesses, and secretaries. For the Greeks were known to be better educated than other slaves from other countries. And in fact Greek was considered a prestigious language that only aristocratic Romans spoke. To have a higher education back then meant to go to Athens and enroll in a school of philosophy or rhetoric.
But the Greeks were troublesome and likely to create plots and revolutions, too. Marcus Sisenna, Sulla’s right-hand lieutenant and political ally in Julia: A Romance, must help to ferret out the origins of a Greek conspiracy rife in Rome at the time of his dictatorship. Delphi becomes a hotbed of rebellion along with the island of Crete and the Palace of Knossos. Who knows where it ends? Look for Julia: A Romance next year from Cheops Books LLC.
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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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Preparations For A Roman Wedding:
The bride wore a white woolen dress with a translucent flame yellow veil very much like a Vestal Virgin to show off her virginity. A young boy relative would light the torch of Ceres to guide the wedding procession to the house of the groom. The bride carried a copper coin to give to the Lares of her new neighborhood to show that she would soon be part of it. The bride was greeted by a torch bearer from the groom’s household. Then the bride was carried over the threshhold by her attendants. She was greeted by the groom. They exchanged vows, “Where you are Gaius, I am Gaia.” Frequently a sacrifice took place. The bride and groom held hands. That night the wedding would be consummated. The next day the groom would hold a banquet for his friends.
There was also a confarreatio Roman wedding ceremony reserved for the highest nobility about which we know very little except that it was somehow more religious. It was presided over by the Flamen Dialis and the Pontifex Maximus with ten witnesses present. The bride and groom shared a cake made of spelt.
In every Roman wedding a big deal was made of the date which had to be approved by augurs to make sure that it was lucky. It could determine how the whole marriage would turn out in the future.
Julia: A Romance is an upcoming historical romantic thriller by Dora Benley to be published by Cheops Books LLC. It incorporates a full-scale, lavish Roman wedding.
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A Whole New Ending Julia: A Romance
Dora Benley is busy at work writing a whole new ending for the popular historical romance novel, Julia: A Novel. It is almost like a series. Did you like the first ending? You will like the second ending even better. The new title? Julia: A Romance, of course! And the authoress promises it will be even more romantic than before.
Julia has every reason to wish that she had not been born the daughter of a Roman senator during the Roman Civil Wars of Marius and Sulla. Her father, Rufus, is trying to escape the proscriptions lists and save his life by betrothing his only daughter in marriage to Marcus Sisenna. Marcus Sisenna is the right hand man of Marcus Sulla, one of the leading men of Rome of the day. Rufus needs his armies and the protection both Sulla and Sisenna can provide. But Julia does not want to marry a man who has already had five wives and who is just marrying her for her father’s money and estates. She does not want to be added to his collection of trophies.
Julia wants personal happiness despite the time period into which she has been born. Her father thinks only of keeping his wealth and estates together. Her divorced mother is interested only in her own lovers. To whom shall Julia turn for assistance? The answer may surprise you. For it is obviously just the opposite of what the desperate Julia might expect.
If you liked Julia: A Novel you will like Julia: A Romance even better! Dora will keep you posted. And meanwhile you might try a few of her other historical romances such as Caesar and Cleopatra: A Novel, Cleopatra’s Stone, Curse of Egypt, Helen of Troy, and Salisbury Plot.
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