Fiction set in ancient Rome

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here 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.

Titles include:

Historical novels listed in chronological order[edit]

Rome as a Kingdom[edit]

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.[1]
  • 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)[edit]

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.[1]
  • Viriato by João Aguiar (1st century BC, Viriathus)
  • 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.
  • The Etruscan by Mika Waltari. Part of the story is set on the first few years of the Republic.
  • Traitors’ Legion (Ace G-532,1963) by Jay Scotland, a swashbucker about a disgraced legion, set in Hannibal’s time.

Middle Republic (264 BC - 133 BC)[edit]

If you know of works set in the Middle Republic, please expand this section.

  1. Africanus, el hijo del cónsul
  2. Las legiones malditas
  3. 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)[edit]

  • 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 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.
  • Roma, published March 6, 2007, by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's early history.[1]
  • The Emperor Series (2003-2013), by Conn Iggulden, Julius Caesar's life
  • Spartacus (1951) by Howard Fast about the historic slave revolt led by Spartacus around 71 BCE
  • 10th Legion: Battle Born (2015) by Ben Soden the first book in a series based on a fictional group of Roman Legionary anti-heroes who join the 10th legion in Hispania culminating in the beginnings of the Helvetian campaigns.
  • The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy (2005) by Michael Curtis Ford. The career of Mithridates VI (134-63 BC)
  • The Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. Beginning before the birth of Julius Caesar to after his death, it details the self-immolation of the Roman Republic.
  • Spartacus by Howard Fast
  • Spartacus by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
  • Imperium by Robert Harris, showing Cicero's rise to the consulship in 63 BC; a fictionalized biography told by his slave, later freedman, Tiro
  • Winter Quarters (1956) by Alfred Duggan. Two Gauls in the time of Julius Caesar, one of whom is under a curse from the Mother Goddess, whose worship he finds throughout the Roman world.
  • The Conquered by Naomi Mitchison (1923). Gaul & the Gallic Wars 1st century BC
  • Beric the Briton: A Story of the Roman Invasion (1893) by G. A. Henty
  • Imperial Caesar (1960) also by Rex Warner
  • Three's Company (1958) by Alfred Duggan. The career of Lepidus, triumvir with Octavian and Marcus Antonius after the death of Julius Caesar.
  • Marius' Mules (2009) by S.J.A. Turney. Fictionalised account of Caesar's Gallic Wars from the point of view of a fictional legate. Series ongoing at 7 books to 2014
  • "Marching with Caesar Series" by R.W. Peake A mostly accurate fiction that takes place during the rise of Julius Caesar, with his first campaign in Gaul, onwards and beyond his life, from the perspective of a soldier as he rises through the ranks[2]


Early/High Empire (27 BC to 192 AD)[edit]

  • Hay luz en casa de Publio Fama by Juan Miñana (Barcino 60's AD)
  • Someday Never Comes by Mk Kayem
  • An Imaginary Life by David Malouf. A fictional account of the poet Ovid's exile from Rome.
  • The Quest For the Lost Roman Legions by Tony Clunn, Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, with his account of his discovery of the battlefield
  • Persona Non Grata, Terra Incognita, Medicus and Caveat Emptor, a series of mysteries featuring the "reluctant sleuth" Gaius Petreius Ruso by Ruth Downie, set around 120 AD.
  • Three Legions series by Rosemary Sutcliff set in Roman Britain c. 130 AD. The three novels consist of The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), The Silver Branch (1957), and The Lantern Bearers (1959). The three were first collected in one volume as Three Legions in 1980.
  • Empire published August 31, 2010, by Steven Saylor. The book follows two families through Rome's Imperial history, from the reign of Augustus to the reign of Hadrian. The sequel to Roma.

The Julio-Claudian Dynasty[edit]

Books about early Christians or the Christ include:

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).
  • The Eagle series by Nigerian-born British novelist Simon Scarrow. The first book Under the Eagle (part of the Eagle series) was published 2000 by Simon Scarrow. Story of Roman invasion of Britain, featuring a young Vespasian. Other books in the series include The Eagle's Conquest (2001 set in 42 AD (introducing Boudicca at the end); When the Eagle Hunts (2002) set in 44 AD. Other books in the series include The Eagle and the Wolves (2003), The Eagle's Prey (2004), The Eagle's Prophecy (2005), The Eagle in the Sand (2006), and the forthcoming Centurion (January - 2008).

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 Ides of April by Mary Ray: Part of the Roman Empire Sequence.[3]
  • Imperial Governor (1968, reprinted 2002), George Shipway, the Icenii revolt under Boudicca.
  • The Roman (1964) by Mika Waltari
  • The Cleft by Doris Lessing is a book supposedly written by an historian during Nero's reign.

The Flavian Dynasty[edit]

  • 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, which also take place during the reign on Vespasianus) narrates the history of Vespasian's imperial freedwoman mistress Antonia Caenis.
  • 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)
  1. Los asesinos del emperador (Domitian death)
  2. Circo Máximo (Trajan's Dacian Wars)

The Nervan-Antonian (Ulpio-Aelia) Dynasty[edit]

Middle Empire (193 AD to 293 AD)[edit]

  • Family Favourites (1960), by Alfred Duggan; a tale of court life under the teenage emperor Elagabalus, as recounted by his personal bodyguard
  • Warrior Of Rome series by historian Harry Sidebottom, takes place in the years 238 to 264, mostly from 256 to 264, six books so far published
  • Iron And Rust also by historian Harry Sidebottom, takes place before the Warrior Of Rome series

Late Empire: West (293 AD to 457 AD)[edit]

'Byzantine' Empire (457-1453 AD)[edit]

Unknown period[edit]

Detective fiction[edit]

Science fiction[edit]

Science fiction/time travel novels[edit]

  • 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
  • Arria Marcella (1852) by Théophile Gautier set in 79 AD in Pompeii
  • Household Gods (1999), by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove set in the reign of Marcus Aurelius
  • The Time Travelling Cat and the Roman Eagle (2001) by Julia Jarman
  • Toss of the Coin (Time Rangers) (1998) by Rob Childs
  • In Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii (Titan Books, 2016), the population of ancient Pompeii is transported through time to the present day and into a replica of their town.

Alternate history[edit]

The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes where Rome's struggle with Carthago went differently

The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes where the Roman Empire never fell, and has endured to the present day:


Comic books[edit]

  • The Adventures of Alix (1948-now) 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 Alix, that gives illustrated information on famous places and empires of the Ancient World during the Roman Era.
  • Astérix (1959-now) series by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). A tiny village in Gaul holds out against the Roman Army, and its doughtiest warriors meet all the famous Romans.
  • Murena (1997-now) series by Jean Dufaux and Philippe Delaby
  • Le Fléau des Dieux (2000–2006) series by Valérie Mangin and Aleksa Gajic. Science fiction set in a remote future

Movies[edit]


Plays[edit]

Television[edit]

Video games[edit]

Works inspired by Roman history, or by works of fiction and non-fiction about Rome[edit]

Science fiction[edit]

Comic books[edit]

  • Leading Comics - in the 1940s, a series called "Nero Fox" (about a funny animal named Nero Fox, who was emperor of Rome) was published as a backup series in this comic title.
  • Trigan Empire was a Science Fiction comic series telling of adventures on the planet Elekton with many similarities to the Roman Empire

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.stevensaylor.com/ Saylor, Steven. "Steven Saylor website". Retrieved May 16, 2007
  2. ^ http://marchingwithcaesarbookseries.com/
  3. ^ "The Ides of April (Roman Empire Sequence, #2)". Goodreads. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  4. ^ Dick, Philip K. The VALIS Trilogy. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

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