In the video of the mosaic discovery, the details of vibrancy and varied images are a fine example of the style of flooring in Italy and the Mediterranean.
Setting details are the perfect way to enrich historical fiction without an overload of info-dump. When characters in The Roman Heir gather in a new room to meet the murdered man’s widow, the description is brief but sets the tone of the meeting.
Aemilia Atia, Philo’s mother, had left her bedroom and gathered everyone in the entertainment room when she learned of the guest. The floor was covered in a dizzying array of black and white mosaics and the walls were painted with intricate scenes of trees and flowers and young people playing musical instruments in nature. Braziers, next to seats, warmed the room from the winter cold. Slaves brought trays of gustum: small tidbits of fruit, cheese, and salads for nibbling placed on platters and bowls around the seats, but no one was eating.
Visual imagery is a powerful aid in writing research, especially for historical genres. I find myself looking at images as I write scenes to help me get into the story.
Zara Altair writes mysteries set in ancient Italy. Argolicus thinks he has retired, but he and his tutor, Nikolaos, are drawn into puzzles, politics, and murder.