The Fun That Research Exposes for Historic Novels
I have long held a fascination with Ancient Rome. Being half Sicilian probably edged me closer to this interest. My family is Italians who moved to Sicily before then finally emigrated to the US around the turn of the 20th century. So when I was talking to a writing partner about her time-travel story, I mentioned the place I’d love to go to was Rome but feared I’d be one of those condemned to die in the Colosseum and she countered with what if someone saved me from it? Hence the opening to Love & Vengeance began.
One of the best parts about writing this story was the research I did for it. Here are some fascinating facts about life in the Roman Empire–
- The Roman Empire was vast, spanning from Africa to the Middle East toS pain, up into Great Britain, most of Western and part of Eastern Europe. But the focal point for all in the empire was the city of Rome.
- Romans had their own gods but readily adapted other cultures’ and worked them into Roman religion. The Greek gods became Roman and had their names changed (except Apollo) to Roman (Zeus now Jupiter, Aphrodite became Venus, etc.).
- The marble statues of the time were not left as just a figure in white marble but they were painted with realistic colors.
- The practice up to the later 18th century in modern Europe and the colonies was to enslave your enemies when you won the battle. This is where Rome’s vast number of slaves came from, not by a particular nationality or ‘race’. Many times, these new workers were given new names verses them using their own. These names were Greek with some deviation toward nearby neighbors.
- A Roman could be enslaved either by the courts for offenses given though this is rare or they could sell themselves into slavery (to become a gladiator) for a set period of time to pay off debt, then be free again.
- Romans were big on hygiene and physical fitness. They had the public baths, which were gathering places to meet friends and conduct business. Baths were mostly segregated to female or male though a few co-ed ones existed. People bathed daily and preferred the public ones versus one at home from the social aspect.
- They also had gymnasiums where various games were played, many involving balls in handball, volleyball or other amusements, to be followed by going to the baths. Being physically fit was in the mindset of Roman health. Interesting is the fact what they wore during these contests were similar to today’s swim trunks Olympic male athletes wear and for the women, bikinis.
These are just a few of the fascinating facts about Rome that can give food for thought for a writer. Amazing.
Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.
But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?
Gina is offering an ecopy of LOVE AND VENGEANCE to one (1) lucky commenter. What time would you travel back to if you could? Giveaway ends @12am est on 4-28-14. Good Luck!
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.
Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.