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|First appearance||"Stealing from Saturn"|
|Portrayed by||Lorcan Cranitch|
Erastes Fulmen is a fictional character in the HBO/BBC2 original television series Rome, played by Irish actor Lorcan Cranitch. He is depicted as a ruthless businessman, who over the course of the first season becomes one of the leading figures in the Roman underworld. Erastes means "lover" and Fulmen means "lightning".
While wearing the façade of a businessman, Fulmen in fact oversees an organized group of thieves, assassins, and thugs. Due to the lack of an organized police force in Rome, he has free rein to terrorize the population for his own gain. He is a brutal man who torments with intimidation and violence those who are less fortunate for his further gain. Fulmen has a traditional Roman mentality and is disgusted by the looting following Caesar's death, ordering a proper mourning in his territory.
Fictional character biography
Erastes is introduced as a businessman who tries to help Lucius Vorenus, a Roman centurion returning from Caesar's successful Gallic campaigns, build a new business as a slave trader. Vorenus, weary of military life and lengthy separations from his family, had decided to use slaves he'd been awarded in the campaign to start a new business and thus leave military life. It is during a social event held to launch this new career Erastes first meets Vorenus. The two seem to get along well at first; Erastes even offers to aid Vorenus if the need should arise.
Unfortunately, Vorenus' ambitions as a slave trader are cut short when pestilence takes his allotted slaves and his life outside the military is threatened. Vorenus is thus compelled to take Erastes up on his offer of assistance and enlist his aid in arranging a meeting with a money lender. Erastes, sensing an opportunity for himself, cites problems with arranging such a meeting and instead offers Vorenus a job as a bodyguard. Reluctantly, Vorenus agrees but ends up walking away from the position when, during a "collection" exercise, Vorenus is asked to kill a man whose indebtedness to Erastes is dubious.
Erastes is enraged by this perceived "slight", which is compounded when Vorenus, now trying his hand at butchery, stops one of Erastes' gangsters from assaulting someone near his new shop. Erastes' man retreats when confronted by Vorenus and fellow former legionary Titus Pullo. Erastes returns and publicly threatens to brutally kill the entire Vorenus clan if he does not receive a public and humiliating apology from Vorenus for the "disrespect" shown. Only the coincidental arrival of Caesar with a squad of lictors (ceremonial guards) prevents Erastes from attempting to carry out the threat.
Pullo later enters Erastes' employ as a hired killer after a fight with Vorenus. Pullo is reckless in his killing and is caught and charged with the murders, refusing to disclose it was Erastes who hired him. Later it is revealed that Erastes was paid by Posca, slave of Caesar, to eliminate Caesar's political opponents. Through Posca, Caesar expresses his dissatisfaction that Erastes is hiring ex-soldiers like Pullo to do such work.
Caesar is assassinated during the Ides of March, thereby nullifying Vorenus' protection and presenting an opportunity for Erastes to get even. After Erastes arrives at Vorenus' home and finds Vorenus' children and Lyde unprotected as they prepare Niobe's body for her journey to the afterlife, Erastes abducts them all.
Erastes is killed when Pullo and Vorenus storm his lair, kill all his henchmen, and demand the whereabouts of the children. Erastes, knowing his death is sealed despite Pullo's attempt at bargaining for information, defiantly claims to have raped and killed them, with their bodies being irretrievably thrown in the Tiber. Vorenus, in a rage, takes immediate vengeance, slicing off Erastes' head in a single stroke.
The audience sees Erastes' severed head as a prop twice in the following month of plot-time, and also see the missing family members being transported elsewhere in slavery.