List of Rome characters

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This list is intended as a guide to most characters for the HBO series Rome. More details can be found on the individual character articles linked within the tables, as well as the article Minor characters of Rome.

The historical figures upon which certain characters are based are noted where appropriate.

Additionally, episode-specific and very minor characters may be listed in each episode's article page.

Primary characters[edit]

Character name Portrayed by Historical basis
Notes
Lucius Vorenus Kevin McKidd Lucius Vorenus
Dedicated to his family and to traditional Roman values, he struggles to balance his personal beliefs, his duty to his superiors, and the needs of his family and friends. He is introduced as a veteran centurion of the 13th Legion to which he returns on promotion after commercial failures in civilian life. His rigid personality leads him to harsh treatment of his wife and children, which he subsequently regrets.
Titus Pullo Ray Stevenson Titus Pullo
Being the true definition of a rogue, Pullo is also humorous and faithful to his friends. He is introduced as a Roman soldier, serving under Vorenus
Gaius Julius Caesar Ciarán Hinds Gaius Iulius Caesar
A brilliant general, Caesar is also a subtle politician. Intelligent, charming and calculating, he accomplishes most of what he sets out to do, until reaching a sudden end.
Pompey Magnus Kenneth Cranham Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
An enemy of Caesar's who was once his ally and husband of his deceased daughter. Pompey is represented as a once successful general, who now past his prime falls into uneasy alliance with the conservative patrician element in the Senate.
Atia of the Julii Polly Walker Atia Balba Caesonia
Manipulative and condescending, she is quite coitally adept. Atia is dedicated to promoting her own and her family's status and influence. She treats her daughter Octavia and son Octavian with a mixture of affection and insensitivity.
Mark Antony James Purefoy Marcus Antonius
Anthony is presented as a crass, hedonistic and arrogant soldier, but also as an efficient and loyal follower of Caesar. After Caesar's death he proves less effective when thrust into leadership himself.
Marcus Junius Brutus Tobias Menzies Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger
Son of Servilia and filled with inner conflict. On the one hand he looks upon Caesar as a father, but he is also a descendant of a founder of the Republic.
Servilia of the Junii Lindsay Duncan Servilia Caepionis
Servilla is a polished and charming member of one of the old Republican families but also Caesar's lover. Her longstanding feud with Atia ends in violence and death.
Niobe Indira Varma Fictional
Niobe is the wife of Vorenus. A strong character, who is left for eight years to bring up her two children while Vorenus is away on military service, Niobe is seduced by her brother in law and bears his child. Much of the tension of the first series arises from her need to conceal this from an often inflexible husband who is not skilled in human relationships.
Gaius Octavian Max Pirkis/Simon Woods Gaius Octavius (later Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus "Augustus")
Presented as a cold but exceptionally intelligent youth, Octavian is the son of Atia who alternatively pampers and patronises him. He is taken prisoner in Gaul while travelling to join his uncle Julius Caesar, but saved by Vorenus and Pullo. As a thoughtful student of power and politics he shows early signs of his future as first citizen (Emperor) of Rome.
Octavia of the Julii Kerry Condon Octavia the Younger
Octavia is the daughter of Atia who dominates and manipulates her. Although showing some of her brother Octavian's intelligence, Octavia's role is essentially that of a victim.
Quintus Pompey Rick Warden Sextus Pompey and Gnaeus Pompeius?
Filled with vindictive malice, he is the son of Pompey. A fictional character, Quintus Pompey is a violent and sadistic figure who shows little of his father's qualities.
Porcius Cato Karl Johnson Cato the Younger
A fiercely conservative leader of the Senate, Cato is as tough as he is old. For unexplained reasons he is the only member of the Senate to wear a black toga. More importantly he is an acerbic spokesman of conservatism and traditional interests, and an enemy to Caesar's faction.
Marcus Tullius Cicero David Bamber Cicero
A gifted orator, Cicero is the leader of the moderates in the Senate. He purports to stand for that which is principled and virtuous but increasingly becomes an opportunistic intriguer.
Timon Lee Boardman Fictional
While a loyal servant of Atia's family, Timon is essentially a thuggish horse trader who will accept payment in a variety of ways.
Marcus Agrippa Allen Leech Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Longtime friend of Gaius Octavian and Gaius Maecenas, Agrippa is one of the adult Octavian's chief advisors. He also falls in love with Octavia, becoming her lover.

Secondary characters[edit]

Character name Portrayed by Status Historical basis
Notes
Cleopatra Lyndsey Marshal Greco-Egyptian Cleopatra
Married to her brother Ptolemy XIII, Cleopatra is not above using Pullo to build an alliance with Caesar. In "Rome" she appears as a more alien and exotic figure than in previous film and television recreations.
Ptolemy XIII Scott Chisolm Greco-Egyptian Ptolemy XIII of Egypt
Younger brother and husband of Cleopatra, he is both immature and feckless.
Caesarion Nicolò Brecci/Max Baldry Greco-Egyptian Ptolemy XV of Egypt/Caesarion
Son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. However, it is indicated he is actually the son of Cleopatra and Pullo.
Gaius Maecenas Alex Wyndham Plebeian Gaius Maecenas
Longtime friend of Gaius Octavian and Marcus Agrippa, the poet Maecenas becomes one of the adult Octavian's advisors towards the end of the series.
Livia Alice Henley Patrician Livia Drusilla
Wife of Gaius Octavian.
Alfidia Deborah Moore Patrician Aufidia
Mother of Livia.
Calpurnia Haydn Gwynne Patrician Calpurnia Pisonis
Wife of Caesar.
Cassius Guy Henry Patrician (ancient Rome) Gaius Cassius Longinus
Is quite successful in his ability to persuade Brutus to consider Caesar's intentions. Following the assassination of Caesar, wages war against Antony and Octavian with Brutus. His death at the Battle of Philippi prompts Brutus to kill himself.
Lepidus Ronan Vibert Patrician Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
General under Mark Antony, one of the Second Triumvirate.
Charmian Kathryn Hunter Slave Charmian
Slave and advisor to Cleopatra.
Scipio Paul Jesson Patrician Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica
Comrade and follower of the crusty Cato.
Herod René Zagger Jew Herod the Great
Prince of Judea and Tetrarch of Galilee.
Newsreader Ian McNeice Fictional Works of Quintilian[1]
He announces the latest news as well as a few advertisements.
Posca Nicholas Woodeson Slave/Freedman Fictional
Witty, intelligent, loyal and even sarcastic, he is not only Caesar's slave, but also his confidant.
Eirene Chiara Mastalli Slave/Freedman Fictional
Claimed by Pullo as his slave, but housed by Vorenus, she is the object of Pullo's affection.
Erastes Fulmen Lorcan Cranitch Plebeian Fictional
Crime leader of Rome.
Lyde Esther Hall Plebeian Fictional
Sister of Niobe. Tormented by her sister's betrayal, she longs for the love of her husband, Evander Pulchio.
Gaia Zuleikha Robinson Slave Fictional
The former supervisor at a brothel who kept the customers in line, Gaia negotiates a similar job with better pay with Vorenus, now the leader of the Aventine.
Glabius Roberto Purvis Patrician Fictional
First husband of Octavia of the Julii.
Evander Pulchio Enzo Cilenti Plebeian Fictional
The unfaithful husband of Lyde.
Jocasta Camilla Rutherford Plebeian Fictional
Daughter of a wealthy merchant, and friend to Octavia of the Julii.
Mascius Michael Nardone Plebeian Fictional
An old comrade of Pullo and Vorenus, he comes to the Aventine seeking work under Vorenus.
Levi Nigel Lindsay Jew Fictional
Outspoken brother of Timon. Religious and resentful of the Romans, he soon helps a troubled and conflicted Timon rediscover his Judaism.
Vorena the Elder Coral Amiga Plebeian Fictional
Elder daughter of Lucius Vorenus and Niobe.
Vorena the Younger Anna Fausta Primiano/Valery Usai Plebeian Fictional
Younger daughter of Lucius Vorenus and Niobe.
Lucius Marco Pollack/Alessio Cuna/Stefan Brown Plebeian Fictional
Son of Niobe by Evander Pulchio.
Eleni Suzanne Bertish Slave Fictional
A slave completely dedicated to Servilia of the Junii.
Merula Lydia Biondi Slave Fictional
A slave completely dedicated to Atia of the Julii.
Memmio Daniel Cerqueira Plebeian Fictional
Captain of one of the largest underworld gangs, the Caelians; keeps an uneasy alliance with Vorenus, leader of the Aventine.

Minor[edit]

Noble characters[edit]

  • Alfidia (historically, Aufidia), portrayed by Deborah Moore. The mother of Livia, she is present in "A Necessary Fiction" when a married Livia catches the eye of young Octavian, and both women are pleased when he insists that Livia divorce her current husband to marry him. Later, in "De Patre Vostro", Alfidia lightly questions Octavia's loyalty to her family at dinner, and is present when Atia of the Julii finally puts daughter-in-law Livia in her place.

  • Caesarion (historically, Ptolemy XV of Egypt/Caesarion), seen in the last few minutes of the episode "Caesarion" as a newborn baby, he is the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. The storyline implies that Caesarion is actually the son of Titus Pullo. The character returns as a young boy (portrayed by Nicolò Brecci) in the episode "Son of Hades", in which Cleopatra asks Mark Antony to declare him Caesar's son (though not his heir). Max Baldry assumes the role in "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus" (though he appears briefly in the background of a scene in "A Necessary Fiction"), in which Caesarion befriends Lucius Vorenus, who is serving Mark Antony in Egypt. Caesarion asks the soldier about his "father"; he of course means Julius Caesar, but Vorenus' answers seem to hint that he believes Pullo to be the boy's father. In the series finale "De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)", it is made clear that both Pullo and Vorenus believe this to be true, and Cleopatra herself later confirms that Pullo is the father. Vorenus manages to smuggle Caesarion out of the palace as Octavian takes over, knowing Octavian will murder the boy to cement his position as Caesar's heir. Pullo brings his son to Rome under the name Aeneas, and tells Octavian that he has murdered young Caesarion. The series ends with the indication that Pullo is about to tell the boy that he is in fact his father.

Gaius Maecenas
  • Gaius Maecenas (historically, Gaius Maecenas), played by Alex Wyndham. Maecenas first appears in "Testudo et Lepus"; he is a poet and longtime friend of Gaius Octavian and Marcus Agrippa, and one of Octavian's chief advisers and speechwriters. Maecenas is cheerfully corrupt, at one point conspiring with Posca to steal a portion of Herod's bribe to Mark Antony. He frequently indulges in orgies and narcotics, attends to a cadre of spies, keeps pleasure slaves of both sexes, and shows no hesitance when faced with moral quandaries.

  • Jocasta (fictional), played by Camilla Rutherford. Daughter of a wealthy merchant (and thus played as a 'Sloane Ranger' and treated as 'nouveau riche' and socially inferior by Atia), and friend to Octavia; introduced in "These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero". Atia later adds Jocasta's father to the list of nobles Octavian and Mark Antony proscribe. Her entire family is murdered and it is implied she was sexually assaulted and/or raped before she was able to escape. In "Death Mask", Atia arranges for Jocasta's marriage to Posca; Jocasta is initially scared at first but she soon becomes quite happy with him, delighted with his kindness and the gifts Posca showers on her in "A Necessary Fiction". In "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus", Jocasta has joined her husband in his relocation with Mark Antony to Egypt, but both escape back to Rome on Atia and Octavia's ship when Posca realizes that war between Antony and Octavian is inevitable.

  • Lepidus (historically, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus), played by Ronan Vibert. General under Mark Antony, one of the Second Triumvirate. He is given Africa when the Republic is divided amongst the triumvirs, and later falls out of prominence as his territories are annexed first by Mark Antony and later Octavian. The historical Lepidus initially intended to contest Octavian's claim to dominance, but was talked out of it - to his benefit, as he died of old age much, much later, having been unmolested during the transition from republic to empire.

Livia

Commoners[edit]

The following are mostly the family, slaves and associates of Lucius Vorenus, Niobe and Titus Pullo, all freedmen or Plebeians:

  • Lyde (Greek name, fictional), played by Esther Hall. Sister of Niobe, widow of Evander Pulchio, and business partner with the Vorenus family in a very profitable joint-venture butcher shop. In season 2, she is captured and enslaved along with Niobe's children, but escapes and manages to return to Rome and tell Pullo what happened. While Vorenus and Pullo liberate the children, Lyde takes holy vows. When Vorena the Elder tries to run away, Lyde berates her and convinces her to give Vorenus another chance, even if that chance is only for the safe and relatively affluent life he offers. Seen in "An Owl in a Thornbush", "Stealing from Saturn", "The Ram has Touched the Wall", "Egeria", "Pharsalus" and "Utica".

  • Vorena the Elder (fictional), played by Coral Amiga. She is the first daughter of Lucius Vorenus and Niobe. Vorena is the feminine form for names in the Voreni family. She is somewhat impulsive and, like her father Lucius Vorenus, has a bitter, unforgiving nature. In season 2, she grows to hate her father for her mother's suicide and her own temporary enslavement. Her aunt Lyde convinces her to remain with her father for the sake of Vorena the Younger and Lucius, but the Elder eventually betrays Vorenus to his rivals, prompting him to join Antony and flee to Egypt. Embittered against men in general, Vorena the Elder eventually takes holy vows at the temple where Lyde serves and reconciled with her father as he lies on his deathbed. Seen in "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic", "An Owl in a Thornbush", "Stealing from Saturn", "The Ram has Touched the Wall", "Egeria", "Utica", "Triumph", and "Kalends of February".

Other[edit]

  • Herod (historically, Herod the Great), played by René Zagger, is the Prince of Judea and Tetrarch of Galilee. He comes to Rome in "Death Mask" to offer Mark Antony a "gift" of gold in exchange for Rome's assistance in Herod's ascension to the throne of Judea. Levi and Timon planned to assassinate him during the marriage festivities of Mark Antony and Octavia; however, the two brothers have a falling out in which Levi is mortally wounded with his own knife by Timon and the attempt is never made.

  • Levi (fictional), played by Nigel Lindsay. Brother of Timon, outspoken zealot Levi comes to Rome from Jerusalem in Season 2, after getting himself into political trouble in Judea. Religious and resentful of the Romans as well as Jewish collaborators with Rome, he soon helps a troubled and conflicted Timon rediscover his Judaism. Unfortunately, Levi's assassination attempt on Herod of Judea in "Death Mask" comes to a tragic end.

  • Memmio (fictional). Captain of one of the largest underworld gangs, the Caelians; keeps an uneasy alliance with Vorenus, leader of the Aventine. When it is discovered that he stole gold destined for Antony, Titus Pullo's and Memmio's respective gangs fight and Memmio's tongue is bitten off by Pullo, who then keeps him in a cage to remind others to remain loyal.

  • Merula (fictional), played by Lydia Biondi, is Atia's body-servant.

  • Newsreader (Senate Crier) (fictional), played by Ian McNeice. Appears in almost every episode. The closest Rome comes to a narrator, and the mouthpiece for pieces of plot exposition not fully explained. The Newsreader announces daily the pronouncements of the Senate, public service announcements, business advertisements, and the current events of the Republic to the people in the Forum. He often uses dramatic gesticulations when using names of important Romans, like Gaius Julius Caesar. All these pronouncements would also – as portrayed in the series – be publicly displayed later in written form on the Senate-House door, for the literate few. The role is a more-or-less attested one in Ancient Greek and Roman society, as there was never any public gallery in the building where the government met and much of the population was illiterate. The Latin word for newsreader is praeco, and in many old translations is translated as herald.

  • Omnipor (fictional), played by Rocky Marshall. Works for Memmio of the Caelians; romances Vorena the Elder, daughter of Vorenus, with questionable intentions. After his treachery is revealed, he is seemingly killed by an axe thrown by Pullo in "A Necessary Fiction".

References[edit]

  1. ^ DVD:Rome: First Season. Both the commentary and All Roads Lead to Rome on the DVD say that the gestures used for the herald were based on The Elements for Orators, written by Quintilian during the time of Nero. Though this work was written much later than the time period of the series, the producers imagined that that these gestures were handed down for many years and that it was likely, in their opinion, that they were in use as early as the time of Julius Caesar.
  2. ^ The historical Mark Antony and Octavia Minor had two daughters named Antonia, and it is not known whether the series intended the character to be one, the other or a composite of both.
  3. ^ The murder of Glabius is left ambiguous in the UK edit, and is denied later by Atia in all versions, though presumably she is lying.
  4. ^ University of Waterloo ~ "All in the Family: Incest and the Ptolemaic Dynasty"
  5. ^ Stefan Brown's first appearance as an aged Lucius is "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)".
  6. ^ Alessio Di Cesare - TV.com
  7. ^ David Quinzi - TV.com