Romans activity 11: Roman feast
Wealthy Roman families entertained family and friends with lavish banquets, including music, singing and dancing.
Starting with evidence from Folkestone Roman Villa, then looking at examples from across the Roman world, pupils investigate foods, menus, cooking and dining practices… before planning and taking part in a special feast, dressed as Roman characters!
Image copyright: Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Increased knowledge and understanding of archaeology, Folkestone Roman Villa and Roman food and feasting.
Skills and confidence in role play, drama.
KS1-2 History (Romans, Local History Study).
KS1-2 English (role play as a historic character)
Children research Roman food, cooking and feasting using the Learn with Objects Romans topic, books and other websites.
They look at the layout of Folkestone Roman Villa using the Plans of Folkestone Roman Villa to work out where food would be cooked, and served during a feast, and where guests would arrive and be welcomed before going into the dining room.
Look at the Plan of Folkestone Roman Villa and the Key to the Plan of Folkestone Roman Villa below.
They explore recipes, decide on a menu and a programme of entertainment.
They create a mock up of a dining room and a guest list, with pupils dressed in character as a wide range of Romano-British guests. Perhaps with teachers and adults playing the part of the slaves.
Guests might include some of the following:
- the wealthy Romano-British owners
- their rich friends from Portus Lemanis and Dubris
- a famous actor from the theatre at Durovernum Cantiacorum
- local villa owners
- farm managers
- merchants with whom the family do business
- high-ranking officers of the Classis Britannica
- high-ranking Roman soldiers from Rutupiae
- the scribe Alpinianus, who scratched his name in graffiti on the Samian ware bowl
- singers, dancers, acrobats and musicians
- slaves to serve the food and wait at table
Role play: A feast at Folkestone Roman villa
Children bring in Roman style food (allergy-free and agreed by teachers in advance) perhaps including mock dormouse and a smelly ‘garum’ fish sauce.
They arrive in character as important guests for a feast at Folkestone Roman Villa.
They are announced on arrival and welcomed by the hosts.
The feast is to celebrate a special Roman festival or important event at the villa, like the unveiling of a new mosaic, and might include speeches, Roman music and entertainment.
There may also be games to play, including dice, knucklebones and board games.
And perhaps a tour of the house or bath suite!
It might include an offering to the household gods for the good health and prosperity of the family and invited guests.
Learn with Objects links
See Learn with Objects Romans topic 10, 14 and 15.