Thank you for the suggestions. I have never seen the series "Rome" - probably should do so soon. The movie "300" is a bit too dark for my tastes, though. I think, I would prefer to go in a lighter direction... less aggressive, more sophisticated...
The TV series, Spartacus, might be better. Not as dark as 300, but does have muted tones, leaning on black and browns. However, the palatte still incorporates pastels when needed.
Example: For this image, I used gold as my palatte; browns and yellows of varying degrees.