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How to Have an Ancient Roman Party and Get Away with Murder

Updated on December 11, 2014

Host an Ancient Roman Party Game

Hosting an Ancient Roman Murder is a fabulous, fun-filled way to entertain your friends with an event they will talk about for ages.

Invite your friends for a Murder in Ancient Rome. Dress up as an Emperor, a rich Roman widow, a centurion or whatever you want, let your imagination loose

.Here's a lovely chance for a truly terrific party - with these first hand tips for costume suggestions and authentic ancient dishes for the modern kitchen.

In Rome, Murder is a Game

How to Host a Murder - Roman Ruins is a murder mystery game designed to keep party-goers guessing for hours as the layers of a complex murder are peeled away. Your friends assume the roles of the suspects, and clues guide them toward sniffing out the culprit in their midst.

You'll also have an absolutely wonderful time yourself!

How the Game starts

Having mentioned your name in his Roman epic, the renowned poet, Flabbius Corpus, invites you to a banquet for the premier recitation of his historical work.

When you arrive, you discover there's been a murder in the garden and a priceless statue is missing. You and your fellow guests must get to the bottom of this daring theft -- as well as a case of murder most foul.

Leave no mosaic unturned as you sift through the clues!

How To Host A Murder : Roman Ruins

You and your guests assume the roles of humorous suspects - each with a motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

The package has everything you need to bring a murder mystery to life - from detailed player guides, maps, and secret clues to costume suggestions and recipes tailored to the era featured in each episode.

Contents include a comprehensive Host Guide; eight invitations and envelopes; name tags; a CD which sets the scene and details the crime; and a diagram of the crime scene.

My Best Tips for Enjoying a Murder

Some people find it easier not to play the game as one of the characters, but to play another character altogether. You could wear the appropriate costume and play the part of, for example, the trusty family slave, a role which gives you ample opportunity to serve the food, take away used dishes, change the background music and to make sure the guests don't get bogged down in an obscure detail of the plot.

You can do this with great fun and much gusto if you insist on tasting the food served to the guests or, when you see the game stuck on a trivial clue, move over and whisper something in the ear of a guest while you ostensibly pour more wine or fan a heated face.

I prefer to play a character myself. I want to be in the game as well. The chance to overact when prompted by other guests is too good to miss.

* First, read through the game notes and familiarise yourself with the 'flow' of the game.

* Keep the game moving along, watch your guests and gently guide them to keeping on track if they get off course.

Dressing up in Costume

What should I wear?

You can go the whole hog and hire yourself a gorgeous ancient Roman (or ancient Greek) outfit. Or keep it simple and let your guests know to dress in readily available clothes which are appropriate attire for an evening out in Ancient Rome.

When you send the invitations, include a hand-written note on costume.

Women's Clothing from Rome HBO

Womens' Clothing from Rome HBO
Womens' Clothing from Rome HBO

What to Wear : Women

Roman women wore tunica and a loose stola over the top. There were two types of tunic, both adapted from Greek fashion.

The peplos was made from two rectangular pieces of cloth partially sewn together on both sides with the open sections at the top folded down in the front and back. It was pulled over the head and fastened with two large pins, forming a sleeveless dress. A belt was then tied over or under the folds.

More commonly, women wore a Greek-style chiton. This garment has sleeves and is made from two wide pieces of cloth sewn together near the top. Then it's pulled over the head and fastened with several pins or brooches. A belt is worn under the breasts, at the waist, or at the hips.

Married women were also required to wear the stola. This is a long sleeveless tunic, strapped at the shoulder, gathered in and tied at the waist.

How to make a Peplos

Make a peplos from two pieces of fabric. You may be able to pick up a length from a fabric shop, or you can use an old sheet.

The Peplos

How to make a Chiton

A much looser garment but still easy enough to make. This one is held on each shoulder by 4 brooches.

You can just use 2 pieces of fabric sewn together at the top and belted round the middle as long as you wear some under-garments. A tank top and shorts are enough where I live, but you may need a long sleeved spenser (a lacey or embroidered spenser) and tights if the weather is colder.

The Chiton

Dress like a Roman Woman of Fashion

To dress as a Roman lady, start with a basic draped gown. Wear anything long and loose and tie ribbons, or a sash, around your waist.

You will need a shawl, or a large rectangle of fabric to wrap over your gown and delicate sandals with thin soles or ballet slippers.

Wear rings on many fingers, dangly ear-rings, bangles and as many arm bracelets as will fit. The wealthy ancient Romans wore most extravagant jewels.

If your hair is long, put it up loosely, leaving tendrils around the face and neck. If your hair is short, wear ribbons and gold or silver braid.

Don't forget to wear bright eye makeup

Photo : Modern Fashion based on Ancient Rome from Vera Wang.

Wear Roman inspired Jewellery

Jewellery from the Thetford Treasure Set
Jewellery from the Thetford Treasure Set | Source

Bedeck yourself with Baubles, Bangles and Beads

Jewellery : Wear lots. Lots! Bedeck yourself with baubles, bangles and beads... the more the merrier for men and women. The ancient Roman women loved ornate necklaces, pins, earrings, bracelets and friendship rings. Pearls were favorites.

Ancient Roman Style Updo - Here's how to do it

A small Roman outfit

A small Roman outfit
A small Roman outfit

What to Wear : Men

Roman men generally wore two garments, the tunica and the toga.

The toga was specifically meant as a public display garment, the tunica was worn within the comforts of a private home. This is the handiest costume for your gentlemen guests.

The easiest tunica is a large oversize white Tee Shirt with a belt worn around the waist, giving the impression of a two piece garment.

Men may also like to drape a white sheet across one shoulder and wrapped loosely around the waist with a couple of safety pins.

It's also perfectly fashionable for men to wear a piece of ethnic clothing to demonstrate their prior military experience overseas. Or for merchants to show their cosmopolitan tastes. Short pants to the knee in checks and tartans is a concession to the clothing style of the Gauls and worn in much the same sense as I often wear a batik blouse from Indonesia.

The crowning touch for men is, in fact, a crown. A wreath of leaves. You should make up some wreaths yourself to present to male guests (in case they don't arrive with one). An old coat hanger, straightened out, bent and with rosemary branches tied around it is perfect. Any leaves will do, even plastic ones.

From a Sheet to a Toga

  1. Either raid the household linen press for a white sheet or buy 3 yards of cotton or poplin.
  2. Wear a white Tee or a sleeveless tank
  3. Hold the length of the sheet horizontally, and wrap the material around your waist.
  4. Pin the sheet around your waist with safety pins.
  5. Throw the rest of the sheet over either shoulder.
  6. Bring the sheet back to your waist and tuck it in, either with a belt, or coloured sash, and pin it again.
  7. Now - adjust the material to suit.

More Roman Accessories

Cloaks and Stoles : For women, the pulla was a sort of shawl to throw over the whole figure, and to be worn out of doors. Any large shawl or stole will do. Men can wear a sofa throw or car blanket as this photo demonstrates.

Foot-gear : Wear either sandals or slippers. The calceus was a sandal like shoe strapped to the foot, mainly for internal wear. The soleae was a full shoe completely enclosing the foot, much more similar to the modern shoe. Leather was by far the most common material and could be easily dyed to reflect position such as red shoes for patricians.

Head Coverings : Wreathes for men and an optional veil for women. Women often dyed their hair, usually golden-red and used false hairpieces to make their hair thicker or longer. Sometimes, Roman women wore their hair up, in carefully arranged styles, held with jeweled hairpins. Sometimes they wore it down, curled in ringlets. Parasols were used, or women might carry fans made of peacock feathers, wood or stretched linen.

So grab an umbrella and a fan!

Next - The Menu for your Roman Murder

Whatever you do, remember this is supposed to be fun! Don't worry about what to cook, keep it simple. You can serve up just about anything, and call it by a Roman name.

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

Leave a clue .... - Share your suspicions

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    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      This seems like a lot of fun to be able to host an Ancient Roman murder.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Fun times in a toga. Great ideas.

    • profile image

      mcooijman 3 years ago

      hmmm... maybe for my birthday

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I think that even I could manage to make the Chiton. How simple and easy it would have been for design and washing.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 3 years ago

      This sounds like a lot of fun. Great idea!

    • profile image

      RomeFan 4 years ago

      I like the idea of Hosting an Ancient Roman Murder. It's fun especially for kids and gladiator fanatics.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 4 years ago

      Well, this is news to me. I came over to your lens mainly because it had the "purple" star. I had no idea about there even being a game that one could play. Great idea for a party theme.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Some of the clothing looks loose and comfy. I could handle that! ;o) What a fun party idea!

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      What did they wear when it rained? Never seen any waterproof stuff or umbrellas in Ancient Rome.

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      What an ingenious idea! Very tempted to try this! :)

    • profile image

      Science-Fiction-Fan 4 years ago

      Bought this one and I'll follow your tips

    • goldenecho profile image

      Gale 4 years ago from Texas

      Hello! We are having a Roman themed Vacaction Bible School at our church this summer. I was wondering if you would mind if I used your illustrations of how to make peplos and chiton in the hand-out I'm giving to volunteers to help them create their costume. My e-mail is ecarian@yahoo.com or you can just reply here (I'll check back). Thanks so much.

    • renewedfaith2day profile image

      renewedfaith2day 4 years ago

      Sounds fun.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      This sounds like so much fun! This murder mystery idea for a party is great to begin with - and you made it so special with all the authentic Roman food and costuming. Blessed.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      This would be such fun. And you're right: Talk about memorable! I think for those who celebrate Halloween, this would be way, way better than a typical, ho-hum Halloween party. Those dates in honey and wine look so, so good. I'm salivating, but promise not to drip on your lens. ;-) Another fabulous lens from a very talented lensmaster.

    • Kimdracula profile image

      Kimdracula 5 years ago

      I love your lens! I have never been to or hosted a murder mystery party but I am thinking my first one will be Roman inspired...

    • theallin1writer profile image

      theallin1writer 5 years ago

      awesome lens, I have a sneaky suspicion I love it :)

    • louiseanne lm profile image

      louiseanne lm 5 years ago

      We played Roman Ruins not that long ago, I was Cleptopatra! We went all out with the decorations and costumes, from making roman columns to drawing a 7 foot wide Colosseum. They're phenomenal nights.

    • spikeyflower profile image

      spikeyflower 5 years ago

      Sounds like a fun time! Now I just need to come up with a reason to throw a party..... or perhaps no reason at all!

    • profile image

      Agapantha 5 years ago

      I love murder mystery parties and you have great information on the ancient roman murder mystery. All the clothes to wear and the ancient roman menu too!

    • mikes-cool-stuff profile image

      mikes-cool-stuff 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I once did a part in a dinner play where I was the murder victim, but I wasn't a good guy either.I also want to thank you for liking one of my lenses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What an incredibly entertaining lens. Great fun ideas.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is very interesting. Goes with what I am reading right now, the Emperor series of Iggulden. Sulla, the consul, was poisoned!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Now I know how to host an ancient Roman murder mystery party

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I spent the weekend researching murder mystery retreats, but I have to say, your lens makes this look much more inviting and cheaper too. Thank you for the tips - I think I would go all out with a (bedsheet) toga and golden laurel leaf crown.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      I'd love to host one of these murder games!!

    • Shorebirdie profile image

      Shorebirdie 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Very interesting and fun lens!

    • profile image

      milesconsulting 5 years ago

      What an amazing idea. Never another boring get together, eh? But how do I get the blood out of the carpet :)

    • imlifestyle profile image

      imlifestyle 5 years ago

      Who doesn't like to dress up in a tunic and have some fun. Thanks for the lens...

    • PamelaU profile image

      PamelaU 5 years ago

      Great lens, very imaginative and well researched! Bravo!

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! squidlikes!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 6 years ago

      great lens

    • profile image

      crstnblue 6 years ago

      A real pleasure to find and read this lens - makes me feel a bit enlightened! : )

      Wonderful job and thoughtful content with a global perspective.

      And I should learn something out of that! : ))

    • profile image

      Wyrdcrow 6 years ago

      Brilliant lens! Really enjoyed this.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      What a fun idea! Love this lens, and love the way you write! Blessed. :)

    • profile image

      BebesBaubles 6 years ago

      Love this! I make ancient form penannular and fibula clasps.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      This is a really fun idea and something I haven't heard of before.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Very neat idea. Can't picture myself in a toga though.

    • profile image

      NevermoreShirts 6 years ago

      Brilliant idea! Sounds like tons of fun!

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image

      APackageAtTheDoor 6 years ago

      Very fine! Lot's of hard work in this lens. Thanks!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, I love books and movies about ancient Rome, but it never occurred to me that you could have it as a murder mystery setting. So fun and creative!

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 6 years ago

      This was awesome! I love that you included the ancient roman recipes for the Roman Murder Party!

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 6 years ago from Ozun

      Absolutely exiting to have a sight of the Roman life...and recipes too, you are truly spoiling us with these recipes.

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      This sounds like it would be a lot of fun. The recipes soud tasty as well. All around great idea.

    • penguinavations profile image

      penguinavations 6 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      Brilliant idea, I might try it on my birthday.

    • CarynJSwift56889 profile image

      CarynJSwift56889 6 years ago

      another great lens about roman, you must be a scientist of Roman

    • accfuller profile image

      accfuller 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this info!!! I've always wanted to host a "murder mystery" party, but never wanted to spend the $ to buy one. Thanks again :)

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 6 years ago

      I love this! I hosted a murder party once before, and this setting sounds fabulous. Not to mention I love figs and have 6 fig trees. LOL

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      What a great idea! It sounds really fun acting out a Roman murder.

    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 6 years ago

      This is very interesting. If only I could find people game enough!

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      i love the thrill and suspense! but i don't do well with guessing the murderer most of the time! cheers

    • writercb1 profile image

      writercb1 6 years ago from United States

      I love this! It sounds like fun! Where can I buy the CD and etc. for a decent price?

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      Very different idea! fun =)

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 7 years ago from US/TN

      Such a cool idea, and you covered all the angles -- great lens!

    • profile image

      glenanail 7 years ago

      haha great advice another 5 star lens!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 7 years ago

      Very nicely done! This looks like so much fun. Thank you for the idea.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 7 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      That sounds so fun. I hope to host one of these or be a guest at one someday. And the food sounds great too.

    • profile image

      diseasesymptoms 7 years ago

      very different.. well thought

    • ZablonMukuba profile image

      ZablonMukuba 7 years ago

      this is fun

    • BelindaBlevins profile image

      BelindaBlevins 7 years ago

      that sounds like lots of fun and the food sounds delicious.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

      I've never hosted a murder or a Roman one ...but these look like fun...and you've included everything from food to costumes...all I need now are guests! Blessed and featured here: http://www.squidoo.com/100-blessings Thanks for sharing!

    • ElizaRayner profile image

      Eliza Rayner 7 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

      wow how fun. Ive done the 'regular' hosting of a murder but this Roman version looks like a nice twist and the costumes and food make it all the more fun.

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 7 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens! The only part you left out was rounding up the conspirators and, you know, putting their families to the sword.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This sounds like a heap of fun, and your food suggestions are mouth-watering. Dates in honey and wine...yum!

    • profile image

      sylvester88 7 years ago

      This is great! What an excellent source of amusement for natural entertainers. Good work compiling the info. Thanks!

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 7 years ago

      Wow, this sounds like a fun activity. You have included everything. Well done.

    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 7 years ago

      Oh now that looks like fun! Well deserved Purple Star; you've put a lot of work into this lens.

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 7 years ago

      I've always wanted to throw one of these parties. Thanks for all the great ideas!

    • profile image

      sandralynnsparks 7 years ago

      Susanna, I have been away too long; your lenses are always so much fun... I want to do this!

    • profile image

      seegreen 7 years ago

      "My best tips for enjoying a murder" I had a chuckle at that line. I have always wanted to do this and Puffing Billy hosts a murder mystery night from time to time, that would be so much fun. Love this lens, blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love this lens, how much fun this would be to do. I have lensrolled you to several of my party themed lenses. Keep up the great work.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Oh God, there had to be yummy looking recipes and food pictures here too. I need to eat breakfast beore I Squidoo. - Just wondering about the body bags after a well planned murder. lol :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      This sounds like so much fun! Our family has always enjoyed games, usually the trivia type, but I think they would really get a kick out of playing this one for a change. Awesome ideas!

    • profile image

      Roxanna07 7 years ago

      I loved this lens. You put alot of time and effort into it, and made it apealling to do. Thank you for the great ideas a food sujestions. You can go as far as you want.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 7 years ago from Gloucester

      What a WONderfully comprehensive lens!! I love it! I think I'm going to have to do this for our next party! What fun! And thanks for sharing the details of absolutely everything one needs to pull this off successfully!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for toga instructions and the pattern

    • Gordon N Hamilton profile image

      Gordon N Hamilton 7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I've heard of the likes of, "Murder Mystery Weekends," and the likes, Susanna, but never anything like this. Sounds really different and something that I am sure a lot of people would love!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for the tunic pattern! Just what I was looking for

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 7 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      You write about the most absolutely awesome things! I want to go to a Roman murder party!

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 7 years ago from Canada

      Susanna, you are so clever and witty. Amazing lens!

      What's a good Ancient Roman Party without at least one good murder, I ask you!

      Where's my toga?

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @justholidays: The dinner host, Flabbius Corpus himself, was the victim of murder most foul

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      I'm a bit frustrated because I don't know who was murdered at your dinner party. Anyway, I like the overall idea and am fond of history so your Rome lenses are among my favorites!

      Blessed by a SquidAngel, Angel Susanna.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      You are so clever! An to think, I thought you just wrapped a sheet. Blessed.

    • natnickeep lm profile image

      natnickeep lm 8 years ago

      A very interesting lens! The title caught my eye right away of coarse but then the content matched it, amazingly done dear! 5* from me.

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 8 years ago from California

      Wow! Lensrolling this puppy. Not sure where yet, but I love it!

      What a creative idea. And wearing roman clothes is FUN-- they're so comfy and they look good on any body type.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      When in Rome....give it 5 stars :)

      I've had a blast at one of these gatherings a couple of years ago, especially playing a drunk senator while I was completely sober...

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 8 years ago

      What fun!

    • profile image

      Jfay 8 years ago

      Now this is REALLY fun! What a cool idea! Nice to meet you Susanna and thank you for your greets in the forum -- Jfay

    • MSBeltran1 profile image

      MSBeltran1 8 years ago

      This is awesome. My UU church held a mystery dinner last year and wants to make it annual. I am going to suggest this. What a great concept. 5* great job.

    • profile image

      affordablefinewines 8 years ago

      Oh this would just be a blast! Gonna have to check this out.

    • LetaRussell LM profile image

      LetaRussell LM 8 years ago

      Informative, fun, and packed with variety. Terrific lens from a terrific writer and woman!

    • Rusty Quill profile image

      Rusty Quill 9 years ago

      Oh how fantastic! I love the many varied and wonderful aspects you tied together in this lens: food, wine, mystery, fashion, history and food- oops I said that twice time for lunch I guess...this is what a Squidoo lens of the day looks like - I'm going to suggest it right now.

    • jk622 profile image

      jk622 9 years ago

      Great lens !Very interesting food and wine info! What a great idea !5*

    • dreamsgate lm profile image

      dreamsgate lm 9 years ago

      This looks like so much fun!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This sounds like a great idea! I have always wanted to do one of those murder mystery weekends, now I can make my own. Great lens.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 9 years ago

      I'll be the murderess - I'd kill for dates and honey!