Fiction set in ancient Rome
There is a large body of modern fiction set in ancient Rome. The following titles listed include only those that are substantially (more than half) or entirely set in the city of Rome during any period up to the Byzantine empire. It does not include works set partially in Rome, nor does it include all works set in the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. For works set in the Roman empire but not in the city of Rome, please see Fiction set in the Roman empire for a list of all works set in the ancient Roman world.
- 1 Historical novels listed in chronological order
- 1.1 Rome as a Kingdom
- 1.2 Early Republic (before 264 BC)
- 1.3 Middle Republic (264 BC - 133 BC)
- 1.4 Late Republic (after 132 BC)
- 1.5 Early/High Empire (27 BC to 190 AD)
- 1.6 Middle Empire (191 AD to -- AD), when Diocletian splits the Empire
- 1.7 Late Empire: West (-457 AD)
- 2 Unknown period
- 3 Detective fiction
- 4 Science fiction
- 5 Science fiction/time travel novels
- 6 Comic books
- 7 Movies
- 8 Plays
- 9 Television
- 10 Video games
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Historical novels listed in chronological order
Rome as a Kingdom
If you know of works set in the pre-Republican era, please expand this section.
- Roma (2007) by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's early history.
- The Seven Kings of Rome series: The Arms of Quirinus (2005), The Scent of Hyacinth (2005), The Warrior's Dance (2008) by Sherrie Seibert Goff
Early Republic (before 264 BC)
If you know of works set in the Early Republic, please expand this section.
- Roma, published March 6, 2007, by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's early history.
- Viriato by João Aguiar (1st century BC, Viriathus)
- Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Numancia by José Luis Corral (1st century BC, Numantia)
- The Wedding Shroud, published September 2010 by Elisabeth Storrs. This book is set on the cusp of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, about a Roman girl married to an Etruscan man in the events leading up to the war between Rome and Veii. The great Roman general Marcus Furius Camillus is featured.
Middle Republic (264 BC - 133 BC)
If you know of works set in the Middle Republic, please expand this section.
- Roma, published March 6, 2007, by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's Republican history.
- Scipio: A Novel, published March 1998 by Ross Leckie (Scottish writer). This is the second book in a loose trilogy about the Second Punic War.
- Scipio trilogy by Santiago Posteguillo (the Punic Wars general Publius Cornelius Scipio)
- Africanus, el hijo del cónsul
- Las legiones malditas
- La traición de Roma
- Of Merchants & Heroes, published 2008 by Paul Waters. Set at the end of the 3rd century BC, about the life of a fictional Roman called Marcus. In the novel Marcus becomes involved in the war against Philip V of Macedon, which was led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus, who later became Consul and is a major character in the story.
- "The Shield of Rome", published 2011 by William Kelso. 216 BC. The novel is set during "Rome's finest hour" after the battle of Cannae when Hannibal threatens the very existence of the Republic.
- "The Fortune of Carthage", published 2012 by William Kelso. 207 BC. The novel is set during the 2nd Punic War and covers Hasdrubal Barca's attempt to link up with the Carthaginian army of his brother Hannibal.
Late Republic (after 132 BC)
- Masters of Rome series (1990-2007), by Colleen McCullough, ancient Rome from 110 BCE to 27 BCE
- The Bow of Heaven (2011) by Andrew Levkoff, a novel of events leading up to the battle of Carrhae, and the triumvir responsible for one of the greatest defeats suffered by Republican Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus
- Young Caesar (1958) by Rex Warner
- Imperium and Lustrum (novel) by Robert Harris, the first two volumes of a trilogy of fictionalized biography told by his slave, later freedman, Tiro depicting Cicero's rise to the consulship in 63 BC and subsequent role in the final days of the Republic.
- A Pillar of Iron (1965) by Taylor Caldwell, a fictionalized biography of Cicero.
- Imperial Caesar (1960) also by Rex Warner
- The Ides of March (1948) by Thornton Wilder, culminating in Caesar's assassination.
- The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy (2005) by Michael Curtis Ford
- The Key (1988), The Door in the Wall (1994), The Lock (2002) by Benita Kane Jaro
- Catiline (2007) by Brandon Winningham
- Barbarians in the Republic: The Long Journey to Rome (2005) by Skarr One
- Caesar, Anthony by Allan Massie
- Freedom, farewell! by Phyllis Bentley.
- The Roma Sub Rosa series by Steven Saylor is set in the later years of the Republic and the beginning of the Augustan period.
Early/High Empire (27 BC to 190 AD)
- Hay luz en casa de Publio Fama by Juan Miñana (Barcino 60's AD)
- Someday Never Comes by Mk Kayem
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty
- The Nero Prediction by Humphry Knipe
- The Roman (1964) by Mika Waltari
- The Tribune: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Patrick Larkin
- Augustus by John Williams
- Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Nero's Heirs by Allan Massie
- Empire: The Novel of Imperial Rome by Steven Saylor
Books about early Christians or the Christ include:
- Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) by Lew Wallace; famously made into a film starring Charlton Heston; set in the reign of Tiberius in Judaea, the Mediterranean, and Rome. Epilogues carry the story into the reign of Nero
- I Am a Barbarian (1967, written 1941) by Edgar Rice Burroughs; the fictionalized memoirs of Caligula's slave.
- A Voice in the Wind (1994) by Francine Rivers; the story of Hadassah, a Christian slave taken from Jerusalem and taken to Rome in the time of Titus and his father Mark of the Lion Trilogy book 1
- An Echo in the Darkness (1995) by Francine Rivers; the continuing story of Hadassah and Marcus. Mark of the Lion Trilogy book 2
- As Sure as the Dawn (1995) by Francine Rivers; the continuing story of Atretes. Mark of the Lion Trilogy book 3
- The Centurion's Wife (2009) by Davis Bunn, Janette Oke life for an early Christian woman and her marriage to a Roman soldier. Acts of Faith book 1
Books about Claudius or set in his reign include:
- I, Claudius (1934) and its sequel, Claudius the God (1935), by Robert Graves. The classic and influential dramatised account of the life of the emperor Claudius, made into a popular TV series (see below).
Books set in Nero's reign include:
- Beric the Briton, A Story of the Roman Invasion (1893) by G. A. Henty; the story of a Romanized Briton captured as a rebel and sent to Rome as a gladiator
- Quo Vadis (1895/1896), by Henryk Sienkiewicz set in the reign of Nero in 64 AD.
- The Flames of Rome by Paul L. Maier
- A Song for Nero (2003) by Tom Holt, writing as Thomas Holt.
- Letters from the Realms of Nero (2007) by George Kapo; story of British slave girl in household of Seneca
- Rubies of the Viper (2010) by Martha Marks; interwoven stories of a Roman woman who inherits a fortune when her brother is murdered and a Greek slave she inherits as part of the estate; set in AD 53-56.
- Nero, the Bloody Poet by Dezső Kosztolányi
The Flavian Dynasty
- Josephus Trilogy (1959), by Lion Feuchtwanger about Flavius Josephus, but set in Ancient Rome during Reign of Vespasianus and Titus
- "In the Shadow of Tyranny" (2013), the first novel by Chris Westcott tells the story of Gaius whose fate and fortune is aligned to the reigns of Vespasian, Titus and the tyranny of Domitian.
- The Course of Honour (1998), the first novel by Lindsey Davis (later author of the Marcus Didius Falco mysteries) narrates the history of Vespasian's imperial freedwoman mistress Antonia Caenis.
- Pompeii by Robert Harris tells the story of Pompeii and the volcano Vesuveus during the reign of Titus.
- The Light Bearer (1994), by Donna Gillespie tells the story of a Germanic female warrior who becomes a gladiator in Rome in the reign of Domitian.
- Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn is the story of a young Jewish slave who rises to become the mistress of Emperor Domitian.
- Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn is set during the Year of Four Emperors and ends with the rise of Vespasian.
- Trajan trilogy by Santiago Posteguillo (Trajan life)
The Nervan-Antonian (Ulpio-Aelia) Dynasty
- The Equinox (1966) by Carol Saylor, of Rome in the time of Commodus
- Memoirs of Hadrian (1951) by Marguerite Yourcenar
Middle Empire (191 AD to -- AD), when Diocletian splits the Empire
No historical works are known that are set entirely or substantially in the city of Rome.
Late Empire: West (-457 AD)
- The Young Julian by Thomas J., Ph.D. Hairston
- Julian (1964 by Gore Vidal, fictionalized biography of the emperor Julian who tried to revive Paganism
- Threshold of Fire: A Novel of Fifth Century Rome (1966) by Hella Hasse
- Gods And Legions: A Novel of the Roman Empire (2002) by Michael Curtis Ford
- The Sword of Attila: A Novel of the Last Years of Rome (2005) by Michael Curtis Ford
- The Fall of Rome: A Novel of a World Lost (2007) by Michael Curtis Ford
- Avventura nel primo secolo by Paolo Monelli
- Sand of the Arena by James Duffy
- In the Army of Marcus Batallius by David M. Ross
- 68 A.D. by D.G. Bellenger
- Three's Company, Winter Quarters, Conscience of the King, The Little Emperors and Family Favourites by Alfred Duggan
- Domitia & Domitian by David Corson
- Games of Venus by Sylvia Shults
- Antonia by Brenda Jagger
- The Virgin's Tale by Sherri Smith
- Den of Wolves by Luke Devenish
- Nest of Vipers by Luke Devenish
- The Roma Sub Rosa series (1991–2012) by Steven Saylor, starts with Roman Blood (1991); the books cover the period 92 BC to 46 BC.
- The Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis, starts with The Silver Pigs; set in the reign of Vespasian.
- The SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts.
- The I, Claudia series of novels by Marilyn Todd featuring her picaresque heroine Claudia Seferius
- The Publius Aurelius series by Danila Comastri Montanari
- The Marcus Corvinus series by David Wishart
- Roman Justice: SPQR: Too Roman To Handle, by Anne Hart
- The Roman Mysteries young adults' detective/drama series by Caroline Lawrence
- The Caius Trilogy by German author Henry Winterfeld: Caius ist ein Dummkopf (Caius is an Idiot); Caius geht ein Licht auf (Caius has an Inspiration), and Caius in der Klemme (Caius in a Fix). The first part was published in English with the alternate title Detectives in Togas. The second was published in English with the alternate title Mystery of the Roman Ransom.
- The Third Princess: A Septimus Severus Quistus Roman Mystery by Philip Boast
- Rubies of the Viper (2010) by Martha Marks. A Roman woman sets out to uncover the identity of her brother's murderer.
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Science fiction/time travel novels
- Caesar's Bicycle (1997) (Timeline Wars series) by John Barnes
- The Green Bronze Mirror (1966) by Lynne Ellison(young adult); set in reign of Nero
- Hannibal's Children (2002) by John Maddox Roberts
- The Seven Hills (2005) by John Maddox Roberts
- Alejandro y las águilas de Roma by Javier Negrete (Alexander the Great doesn't die in Babylon and goes on to Italy to fight Rome)
The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes where the Roman Empire never fell, and has endured to the present day:
- Romanitas (2005), by Sophia McDougall
- Rome Burning (2006), sequel to Romanitas, by Sophia McDougall
- Roma Eterna, a 2003 novel by Robert Silverberg
- Asterix series by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations), of which some titles are set substantially in Rome.
- The adventures of Alex series by Jacques Martin, of which some titles are set in Rome and the Ancient World. This series has a spin off, called The travels of Alex, that gives illustrated information on famous places and empires of the Ancient World during the Roman Era.
- Quo Vadis - U.S. 1951 director Mervyn LeRoy
- The Robe - U.S. 1953 director Henry Koster
- Demetrius and the Gladiators - U.S. 1954 director Delmer Daves (sequel to The Robe)
- Jupiter's Darling - U.S. 1955 director George Sidney, based on a play by Robert Sherwood
- Ben-Hur U.S. 1959
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - U.S. 1966 director Richard Lester
- Satyricon - Italy 1970 director Federico Fellini
- Sebastiane - UK 1976 director Derek Jarman
- Caligula - U.S. 1979 director Tinto Brass
- Gladiator - U.S. 2000 director Ridley Scott
- Quo Vadis - Polish/U.S. 2001 director Jerzy Kawalerowicz, remake of 1951 film
- Joseph Addison
- Albert Camus
- Henrik Ibsen
- Ben Jonson
- Heinrich von Kleist
- Die Hermannsschlacht
- William Shakespeare
- Robert Sherwood
- Stephen Sondheim
- http://www.stevensaylor.com/ Saylor, Steven. "Steven Saylor website". Retrieved May 16, 2007