Spoiler for NSFW (nudity):
I'm channeling Sandro Botticelli's famous Renaissance-era painting "Birth of Venus" here, except I decided to do my interpretation of the same theme from a different angle. You got to hand it to those Renaissance artists, they were able to pass off all sorts of nude imagery as fine art.
The symbol scarred into her back may look exactly like our modern symbol for the female sex, but it was the design I found when I searched for online images of symbols representing the goddess Venus. So I guess it started as an icon of Venus before turning into one of femaleness?
A patrol of Roman legionaries marches through the misty forest somewhere in northern Europe, such as Gaul (France), Britain, or Germania (Germany). They should watch out for insolent barbarians lurking out there!
This is a portrait triad of three of the ancient Nile Valley's mightiest matriarchs. From left to right, we have the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII, the Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut, and Kentake Amanirenas of Kush.
This man and woman come from the ancient Mauri culture that occupied the region of Morocco in northwestern Africa during Roman times. They were a Berber-speaking people who would raid the Roman provinces as far north as the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), but part of their territory was incorporated into the Empire under the provincial name of Mauretania (not to be confused with modern Mauritania further south). Their name would later evolve into the medieval term "Moor", and it may be related to the modern Greek word mauros for "black" or "very dark" (possibly having something to do with their dark African skin).
I don't know for sure how the ancient Mauri would have dressed, as depictions of them that date to ancient times are hard to come by. I know I wanted something that didn't look too Islamic or Roman though, so I went with my imagination on this one.
A queen of the ancient Soninke civilization admires the sunset from atop her palace's highest tower.
The Soninke are a Mande-speaking people whose civilization is among the oldest in West Africa. They were the architects of the Wagadu (or Ghana) Empire which dominated the region before 1200 AD, but their oldest uncovered settlement may be that of Dhar Tichitt in southern Mauritania. This town of stone masonry dates as far back as ~2000 BC, making it contemporaneous with the ancient Egyptian and Kushite civilizations. Today the Soninke people number around two million, with significant populations in the modern countries of Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania.
As an aside, I founding drawing the architecture of the tower's parapet a lot more frustrating than I anticipated. I'm still not all that happy with how it came out, but I liked the woman too much to totally scrap the piece.
This woman would be an African immigrant to Renaissance-era Italy (and yes, there were some Africans living in certain parts of Europe at that time). You could think of her as being an African peer of the famous Mona Lisa. In fact, I had originally set out to draw an African Mona Lisa before the composition became its own thing. I'm very fond of the idea of taking something from the so-called "Western Canon" and putting an Africanized spin on it.