It’s the annual nightmare in just two days’ time – Julius Caesar’s birthday is on 13 July. What an earth are you going to buy him?
Gaul is probably the obvious answer, but maybe best to put a bit more thought into it.
What about cooking him up a feast? It is said that Julius Caesar’s favourite meal was neck of pig cooked with apples and made extra yummy with honey and red wine. It took a lot of effort to please Caesar’s palate – and a team of dedicated cooks. Fortunately neck of pig is relatively easy to cook and you can access the recipe at Borjomi.com.
Not a pork eater? Me, neither. So what else might Caesar like for his birthday? Well, Caesar loved to write – all sorts of things: poems, pamphlets, political stuff. A lot of his writings have not survived, sadly. But he trotted out some good eulogies for his deceased family members. His Anticato was a response to a eulogy of Caesar’s dead opponent Marcus Porcius Cato, written by the famous poet Cicero. He took time out from military matters to write it, so was there perhaps a hint of competitiveness in his endeavours? But maybe Caesar would like some new pens and inks – or a bundle of papyrus or parchment for his big day. It would help him to write all those thank you letters!
Caesar was famous for his red cloak, which he donned and rode into battle, sometimes when all seemed lost. This inspired his troops and they followed his lead and galvanised their efforts against the enemy.
Roman clothes were often made from wool, including togas. This made them heavy. Caesar would have worn a tunic and toga – but a toga in July when he celebrates his birthday might be too hot. The average toga could take up to nine feet of wool to make. Caesar’s toga would have been embellished rather than plain – perhaps with stripes or decorations to show his position. He was not an emperor, as is sometimes thought – but he was the Roman ruler is who perhaps the most well known and even revered.
Despite a Roman edict banning the wearing of silk – thought to be immoral – silk remained a popular choice for Ancient Romans. Perhaps Caesar might like a new silk tunic for summer wear. Romans also usually slept in their underwear – known as a subligaculum. It was either a pair of shorts or even a loincloth-type garment. What better than a little silk number – perhaps in red – for Caesar on his birthday? You can actually buy a Roman gladiator’s subligaculum in a fetching red from Etsy. Caesar’s birthday solved! Felix natalis, Caesar!
Note: Any links are for information only, not an inducement to buy.