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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Julius Caesar: A Novel: Free On Kindle

In old age and in exile Servilia, mother of Marcus Brutus, awaited the suicide order from the Emperor Augustus, Caesar’s heir, who put to death all of Julius Caesar’s enemies. But instead he asked her to return to Rome and advise him as she once advised his predecessor, whose mistress she was. He wanted her to help raise the daughter of her old enemy Cleopatra, whom he brought back from Egypt after the death of the Serpent of the Nile: “Rome … that great maw of cites, the eater of men that ground and chewed up lives as if they were mere sandy grit between its teeth and then spat them out again. Through endless cycles of the seasons, revolutions, civil wars, and lives always the same. Did I have enough strength in this feeble body to war with her again? The child looked up at me. The answer was on my lips.”

See what you think of this historical thriller from the point of view of Servilia, Julius Caesar’s lifelong friend and mistress. She provides her own perspective on the colossus among men caught between the Republican faction of old Rome and those longing for empire. But hurry! This offer won’t be repeated this year.

If you liked this novel you might want to try other titles by Dora Benley including Minotaur, Cleopatra’s Stone, Helen of Troy, Medea the Witch, and Book of the Dead. They are all offered on Amazon Kindle.

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