Rome conquers Gaul in 52 B.C. and the rest is history!

Earlier this month, we welcomed Jenna Ives as a new blogger to Fierce Romance. I’m thrilled to say that I’ve joined the FR family as a new blogger, too!

I’m Leigh Court, and I write historical erotic romance, usually set in Victorian England or ancient Rome. I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, and I love writing it just as much!

I have two Victorian romances in Secrets anthologies with Red Sage Publishing (with another one on the way for 2013!) and one Roman epic published by Ellora’s Cave called Conqueror Vanquished.

The teaser is this: What happens when two supposed enemies are forced to look beyond the reason for their hatred? They find an emotion just as strong….love.

And here’s a little background…  In 52 B.C., Rome has just conquered Gaul…

>>Leonidas Danae Vorenus, commander of Rome’s prestigious Sixth legion, is ordered to establish a strategic outpost in Gaul after its surrender to Julius Caesar. But on the way to his new post, Leonidas is wounded in an ambush. Only one person can save his life, and she’s his sworn enemy.

Solange is a healer. She values every life, even if it belongs to one of the hated Romans who’ve just conquered her land. Bound by her duty and now by her new position as a subject of Rome, she is obliged to tend Leonidas.

But the relationship between conqueror and conquered soon evolves into much more. Their forced intimacy ignites an unexpected attraction, and prompts the two enemies to look beyond the reason for their hatred to explore the powerful emotions simmering underneath.<<
For me, writing about ancient Rome is fascinating. They were such a technologically advanced and self-sufficient people, especially the army.  And since any good historical story needs to be grounded in reality, I did a lot of research for this one. Most of the information I found on ancient Rome is common knowledge, but I did uncover some fascinating, little-known facts:

 -          Roman soldiers baked their own bread to eat while on campaign. Every group of eight soldiers had an iron skillet that folded away in their pack just for that purpose. A soldier's daily grain ration was about 3 ½ pounds, and the army docked their pay for the grain they were given. Imagine if our army leaders charged soldiers for their meals today!

-          Roman soldiers were forbidden to marry, but if they were already married when they enlisted, that was okay. You might think this rule would be a problem for a romance between my unmarried Roman commander, Leonidas, and the woman he loves, but you’ll just have to read CONQUEROR VANQUISHED to see how Leo skirts that particular issue!

-          Most of our system of measurements came from ancient Rome. A Roman foot was 11.65 modern inches, a Roman mile was 5000 Roman feet (compared to our modern 5280 feet),  and a Roman hand (4 inches) is still used today to measure the height of a horse at the shoulders. Fascinating stuff!

-          A typical Roman fort was basically a small, self-sustaining, walled city, with a network of roads that connected several buildings including a house for the Commander, several barracks for the soldiers, stables for horses, a granary, kitchens, a smithy, even a hospital (if needed). With its high rampart walls and wide dirt moats, it was an almost-perfect, defensible stronghold.

-          Since my story is a romance, I also had to research ancient Roman weddings. I was amazed at how many traditions of our modern weddings can be traced back to Roman times! Take the wedding cake, for example. After an ancient Roman ceremony, an offering was made to their main god, Jupiter, which usually consisted of cake. Once the priest had made the offering, this cake was eaten by the bride and groom, and then shared with wedding guests. Many more of our modern wedding traditions come from ancient Roman times, too, including carrying a bride over the threshold!

I enjoyed researching the ancient Roman empire almost as much as I enjoyed writing CONQUEROR VANQUISHED, and you can read an excerpt at: This Roman setting is a departure from my previous two Victorian romances, but I’m obviously drawn to the past, when men were noble, and lived for honor.

What about you? Do you prefer modern men or historical men? 




Robena Grant said...

Fascinating stuff. I love history lessons. Conqueror Vanquished looks interesting. Congrats! I'll look forward to the read.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Leigh;

Wow, I'm not normally a historical reader, but you sure got my attention with Conqueror Vanquished. Can you imagine that kind of healing today?

I guess I'd have to say I'm more of a modern man kind of gal...I'm pretty anchored in the here and now.

Your research was so interesting!

Christine Ashworth said...

I'm all for the modern man - they tend to be cleaner, lol! But a good historical always gets my blood pumping, I guess I like both.

Conqueror Vanquished looks awesome!

Great post, Leigh!

Leigh Court said...

Thanks Kathy & Christine! I'm more of a historical kind of girl. I like a man who's noble, with honor and manners (and I would make sure he washed, LOL!)


Veronica Scott said...

Interesting post! I love reading about the men in history but since I live in the modern day, I'd date someone living in this century...unless I could figure out time travel...hmmm...! Your book sounds terrific, can't wait to read it!

Sam Beck said...

Normally, I'd say I prefer a modern-day hero, but then I read the Conqueror Vanquished excerpt and I saw the advantages of a guy in sandals and a loincloth! Now, all I can say is "Hail Ceasar."

Carly Carson said...

I didn't get to welcome you earlier, so welcome! The Romans had some less appealing customs as well. The term "decimating" comes from them. History is always fascinating to me. And there's no doubt a warrior always makes a good hero!

Alyssa Kress said...

That carrying over the threshold bit would take a guy who's used to wearing quite a few pounds in armor, I guess. And I'm all in favor of muscles.

Leigh Court said...

Thanks Veronica & Samanthe! And thanks for the warm welcome, Carly :)

Alyssa - Roman soldiers primarily wore thick leather as protection in battle, altho there were a few metal breastplates for the generals! But definitely not armor like knights in England or France... Still, Roman soldiers definitely had muscles!!

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Here's another interesting thing... I'm English, and the only straight roads in England are the ones built 1500 years ago by the Romans. I'm almost certain the phrase 'the shortest distance between two points is a straight line' must have something to do with those Romans. They didn't care for British property boundaries -- they simply built roads right to where they wanted to go.


Leigh Court said...

Fascinating stuff! Thanks for your comment, Loretta.


Amber said...

The baths were very popular in Northern Europe because it was the only way to get (and stay) really truly warm in the winter.

Terry Spear said...

I totally want both! :) Do we have to choose?