In this program, Tames appears in the authentic clothing of a Roman matron and gives a short social history of the Roman Empire, from the tribe that founded it to the height of Imperial Rome. Tames takes you on a journey through ancient Rome, from the glories of the Palatine Hill where the wealthy lived in the slums of the Subura. Along the way, she paints a vivid picture of what it was like to visit the libraries, temples (which were used as museums), and public baths. She describes what life was like in a rich man’s house on the Palatine and a poor person’s existence in a tenement building.
Tames discusses the life of a Roman citizen, from his birth and dedication to the gods to his eventual death and joining with those gods. She talks about the evolution of the Roman matron and how marriages were arranged for political gain, which reflects how politics was the Romans’ lifeblood. She explains what a bride could expect on her wedding day, from the sacrifice to Juno by a temple priest, the signing of the contract that required ten witnesses, to the groom bringing his bride home.
Tames also relates the life of a slave from capture to death, how ancient Rome dealt with the real danger of fire by creating an efficient fire brigade, and what a Marius mule was. Other topics include education, food, and clothing. The audience also gets hands-on experience by helping Tames wrap a palla, an eight-yard piece of clothing a matron wore when leaving her house.