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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Catalonia, The Roman Empire, and a Novel:

I am glad to hear that the effort is doomed to fail. I am glad that the US, EU, UK, France, and Germany all agree that they will not recognize a separate Catalonia. As you know, I have no sympathy for break away provinces, regions of countries, etc.

History shows that is not the way to go. Big and united means prosperous. Think of the Roman Empire. Small and divided means poor. Think of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. One of the primary reasons Germany is the head of Europe is that there are no separtist movements afoot. Germany even held together during two world wars which it lost.

Spain’s constitution does say that you are not allowed to secede from Spain. So the Prime Minister of Spain is only upholding the constitutional law when he dissolves the government of Catalonia and calls for new elections. He is not acting like a dictator. He is acting in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln.

The hero of my historical thriller, Caesar’s Lost Legions, Caelius Antonius, has embarked on a mission to map the rest of Greater Germania on an expedition to the Elbe River near modern day Hamburg, Germany. The Romans under the Emperor Augustus want to make this region part of the province of Germania and add it to the greater Roman Empire.

But traitors such as Arminius have other ideas. Arminius has learned Roman ways while being tutored in Rome. He turns them against the Romans and massacres three legions in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It turns out to be one of the most decisive battles in all of history.

The Romans get their revenge five years later under Germanicus. But the Roman Empire is forever stopped from adding the territory around the River Elbe to Germania, centered around the Rhine River and Trier. Just think of how different history could have been if Arminius had not existed! The Roman Empire could have been bigger and better. And the “German question” might have been forever solved.

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Pliny: A Novel Has A New Cover:

In Pliny: A Novel the grandson of the hero of Augustus: A Novel, Caius Antonius — who is also an ancestor of the hero of the Edward Ware Thriller Series, Colonel Sir Edward Ware — is working for Pliny the Elder in 79AD. Pliny is the Roman governor of Germany and is residing in Trier on the Moselle River. Suddenly a German warrior attacks the governor’s residence and throws a warning into his reflecting pond. It is payback time for the Romans. The Germans want revenge.

The Germans kicked the Romans out of their province in 9AD in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. But Germanicus returned five years later to make the Germans pay. What will happen next? That is up to Caius to discover, or the German warriors may push Pliny and the Romans out of Germany all together. This time they may even follow them all the way back to Italy in Pliny: A Novel, part 2 of Augustus: A Novel, coming soon from Cheops Books, LLC. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thriller Series.

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At the end of The Far Pavilions, M.M. Kaye’s mystery thriller novel about the British in India and Afghanistan, the hero and heroine leave India behind and escape into Afghanistan. The British never prevailed in Afghanistan I think for all sorts of reasons including geography. I don’t know how the US will prevail there either given present circumstances. Trump is right not to quit though. This tendency to think you can quit and back out of wars is definitely contemporary and not something the Romans could have done. Weird mind set. But I wouldn’t trust the Taliban further than you can throw them. Aren’t they the same ones who were allied with Osama bin Laden in 2001? I thought you weren’t supposed to make deals with terrorists?

As far as NOT exporting American notions about government to Afghanistan and leaving it to the Afghans to decide and then praising India in the same speech as being the world’s largest democracy, that is absurd. And that is what Trump did in his speech. How does he think that India got to be the world’s largest democracy anyway? It was the British, stupid! They exported not only their language but their own notions of government to India and helped to reform the religion as well. Think of suttee. If it weren’t for the British, widows in India would still be burning themselves alive on their husband’s pyre.

But I think traditionally where you had empire building and were really influencing places like India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, you had to bring economics into the formula. The military by itself doesn’t cut it. America would have to send businesses to Iraq and Afghanistan to hire people and build roads, infrastructure, restaurants, etc. They would no longer have to make money on bribes, terrorist camps, and illegal drugs. Then you would really, really get progress. You would have fewer terrorists and rebels all over the world. Ultimately no one would want to be a terrorist if he could find employment doing something else.

Cheops Books LLC publishes historical thrillers such as the upcoming Cherusci Plot, Vesuvius Plot, and Inn at the Crossroads.

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