If you are busy planning and figuring out your Halloween party, well look no further than Emperor Domitian for inspiration. The Roman emperor Domitian ruled from year 81 to 96, the younger brother of Titus and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. He was known for quite an authoritarian rule which caused him to enter many arguments and in-fighting with the senate.
Some people look to him for a completely different reason, he is thought to have once put together what is known as the spookiest banquet ever organized in the history of mankind. The banquet hall was painted completely black, from the ceiling to the floors – no spot was missed. And then using the very dim pale flickering grave lights, he illuminated the hall just enough so his guests could make out a row of tombstones at the end.
The tombstones apparently had a senators name written on each one, the slaves that were serving the guests were all dressed as ghosts. Even the plates were black, with all the courses being served on gleaming black dishes. He even pulled another twist by piling on huge amounts of food, but not lavish treats expected in the hall of the Emperor, he served plain offerings that were usually given to the dead. It was so spooky that many of the senators were left wondering if they were going to end up dead soon enough.
During the whole dinner, the guests truly believed that their execution would soon be announced. Yet finally in the morning after the banquet, the emperor sent word that the tombstones were actually made completely out of silver and were gifts for his senators. As it turned out Emperor Domitian was not planning to murder his senate, though they did not really get along, he was just celebrating memento mori with some extra flair.
This is a traditional Roman celebration banquet where guests are to enjoy fleeting pleasures, as death is always near.