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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 2 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 2 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Fun times in a toga. Great ideas.

    • profile image

      mcooijman 2 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!

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