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


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.

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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

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.

  • Food Tips for your Ancient Roman Party
    Hosting an Ancient Roman Murder party? Entertaining in ancient style is easier than you think with these simple recipes, serving ideas and decorations
  • Ancient Roman Recipes
    Did you imagine that ancient Romans spent their time indulging in lavish banquets? Ordinary people ate ordinary meals, not very different to what we eat today.

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

Leave a clue .... - Share your suspicions

Abby Slutsky from America on July 16, 2020:

I have played similar games. They are a lot of fun. You did a great job of explaining it.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on September 24, 2014:

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

Julia M S Pearce from Melbourne, Australia on September 10, 2014:

Fun times in a toga. Great ideas.

mcooijman on August 12, 2014:

hmmm... maybe for my birthday

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 02, 2014:

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

AlleyCatLane on May 01, 2014:

This sounds like a lot of fun. Great idea!

RomeFan on December 22, 2013:

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

blue22d on September 02, 2013:

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.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 06, 2013:

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

mariacarbonara on August 05, 2013:

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

NibsyNell on July 23, 2013:

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

Susanna Duffy (author) from Melbourne Australia on June 14, 2013:

@goldenecho: Of course - and thank you for asking

Science-Fiction-Fan on June 14, 2013:

Bought this one and I'll follow your tips

Gale from Texas on May 09, 2013:

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 or you can just reply here (I'll check back). Thanks so much.

renewedfaith2day on March 03, 2013:

Sounds fun.

Rose Jones on October 25, 2012:

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.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on October 05, 2012:

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 on September 27, 2012:

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 on September 11, 2012:

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

louiseanne lm on August 30, 2012:

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 on July 29, 2012:

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!

Agapantha on July 04, 2012:

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 on June 23, 2012:

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.

anonymous on June 17, 2012:

What an incredibly entertaining lens. Great fun ideas.

Susanna Duffy (author) from Melbourne Australia on June 10, 2012:

@aesta1: Poison is a possibility, although his death is generally regarded as liver failure from chronic alcohol abuse

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 10, 2012:

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

anonymous on June 07, 2012:

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

aquarian_insight on May 14, 2012:

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 on April 06, 2012:

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

Shorebirdie from San Diego, CA on April 02, 2012:

Very interesting and fun lens!

milesconsulting on April 01, 2012:

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

imlifestyle on March 27, 2012:

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

PamelaU on March 12, 2012:

Great lens, very imaginative and well researched! Bravo!

myamya on January 24, 2012:

Very nice lens! squidlikes!

nyclittleitaly on January 06, 2012:

great lens

crstnblue on January 05, 2012:

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! : ))

Wyrdcrow on December 09, 2011:

Brilliant lens! Really enjoyed this.

Odille Rault from Gloucester on November 30, 2011:

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

BebesBaubles on November 17, 2011:

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

WriterJanis2 on November 01, 2011:

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

pawpaw911 on October 06, 2011:

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

NevermoreShirts on October 02, 2011:

Brilliant idea! Sounds like tons of fun!

APackageAtTheDoor on September 29, 2011:

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

anonymous on September 28, 2011:

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 on August 06, 2011:

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

Iudit Gherghiteanu from Ozun on August 04, 2011:

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

OldStones LM on August 04, 2011:

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

penguinavations on June 30, 2011:

Awesome lens!

reasonablerobby on June 22, 2011:

Brilliant idea, I might try it on my birthday.

CarynJSwift56889 on June 12, 2011:

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

accfuller on May 08, 2011:

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 on April 14, 2011:

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 on April 13, 2011:

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

jp1978 on April 12, 2011:

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

Philippians468 on March 29, 2011:

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

writercb1 from United States on February 24, 2011:

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

KarenCookieJar on February 05, 2011:

Very different idea! fun =)

joanv334 on January 23, 2011:

Thanks for the tips!

C A Chancellor from US/TN on January 15, 2011:

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

glenanail on January 09, 2011:

haha great advice another 5 star lens!

Kay on December 20, 2010:

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

Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on December 15, 2010:

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

diseasesymptoms on November 30, 2010:

very different.. well thought

ZablonMukuba on October 20, 2010:

this is fun

BelindaBlevins on October 19, 2010:

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

Tarra99 on October 14, 2010:

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: Thanks for sharing!

Eliza Rayner from Boulder, Colorado on October 06, 2010:

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 on October 02, 2010:

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.

anonymous on September 28, 2010:

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

sylvester88 on September 18, 2010:

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

TriviaChamp on September 18, 2010:

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

daoine lm on September 15, 2010:

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

Othercatt on September 10, 2010:

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

sandralynnsparks on September 09, 2010:

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

seegreen on September 06, 2010:

"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.

anonymous on August 08, 2010:

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.

anonymous on July 25, 2010:

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 :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on July 08, 2010:

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!

Roxanna07 on June 23, 2010:

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.

Odille Rault from Gloucester on June 14, 2010:

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!

anonymous on May 06, 2010:

Thanks for toga instructions and the pattern

Gordon N Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on May 05, 2010:

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!

anonymous on April 08, 2010:

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

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 13, 2010:

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

Bellezza-Decor from Canada on February 12, 2010:

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?

Susanna Duffy (author) from Melbourne Australia on January 12, 2010:

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

justholidays on January 12, 2010:

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.

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on December 30, 2009:

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

natnickeep lm on November 30, 2009:

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.

Ellen Brundige from California on November 13, 2009:

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.

anonymous on April 10, 2009:

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 on April 06, 2009:

What fun!

Jfay on March 29, 2009:

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 on March 24, 2009:

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.

affordablefinewines on March 23, 2009:

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

LetaRussell LM on March 22, 2009:

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

Rusty Quill on December 09, 2008:

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 on November 26, 2008:

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

dreamsgate lm on November 13, 2008:

This looks like so much fun!

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on November 11, 2008:

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.

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