Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Remember When . . . The Old Was New Again?

I've been enjoying my tenure back in Ancient Rome. Much as I miss my Culper Ring characters, it feels a bit like going home to return to the world of A Stray Drop of Blood and dig into life at the Visibullis villa outside Rome.
I haven't chatted a whole lot about it here though. Some, but not a lot. In part because I haven't been doing a ton of research. While, say, Jewel of Persia revolved around the historical events of the day, A Soft Breath of Wind is more about the people that made up the early Church. I haven't had to look up things like fashion and housing much, because I already have that research on hand from Stray Drop. I haven't had to do a ton of research on what was happening in the world that year, because, well, there wasn't much worth noting, and my story revolves around those fictional lives.

But I've still had to look up a few things here or there, so I figured I'd share some of the fun things I learned recently. =) 

First, scissors. One of my primary characters is Samuel. Stray Drop readers will remember him as the little boy that Jason rescues, whom Abigail ends up adopting as her son. In A Soft Breath of Wind he's all grown up and still the nurturer he was as a boy. He has, in fact, gotten some training from a physician and now serves as villa doctor whenever anyone needs him. 

My accident-prone heroine often needs him. =) I had a scene in which she falls off a stone wall and knocks her head pretty good, so he has to stitch her up. It was one of those where I'm describing the action as he's talking to her mother, things like pulling the silk thread taut and then snipping it--somehow. What would he have used? A knife? Did they have scissors? (Yes, the things I have to question!)

Insert Roseanna jumping over to Google and asking. And finding these.
Picture from at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City in 2006 by Yannick Trottier
Apparently scissors have been around for a goodly while, LOL. These are labeled as being from the 2nd century, Turkish in design. But they follow the basic design used as far back as 1500 B.C., when they were invented in Egypt.

Sweet. So he can have scissors. =)

Around the same time, I was looking for details about Roman vineyards. I did a fair bit of reading, but one thing that really stuck out to me was that they used elm trees among the rows of grapes! I had no idea, but it's pretty clever. The trees provide some shade, and the straight, slender trunks can be used like stakes to train the vines along. So when my characters wander the rows, they would have not just clusters of grapes at hand, but also elm trees.

Good to know. =)

So there's just a taste of everyday life for Zipporah, Benjamin, Samuel, and Dara. Now back I go into their world. ;-)

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