Fiction set in ancient Rome

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Historical novels arranged by the period of their setting[edit]

Rome as a Kingdom[edit]

If you know of works set in the pre-Republican era, please expand this section.

  • Founding Fathers (1959) by Alfred Duggan. Originally titled Children of the Wolf, this novel tells the story of King Romulus and the founding of Rome through the eyes of a variety of characters who come to the new city.
  • Roma (2007) by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's early history.[1]

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]
  • 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 (264–133 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.
  • "Salammbô", published 1977 by Gustave Flaubert. 240 BC. The novel is set before and during the Mercenary War, an uprising of mercenaries in the employ of Carthage in the 3rd century BC.
  • "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.
  • "Rome: Destroy Carthage", published 2013 by David Gibbins. 146 BC. The novel was written to promote the strategy game "Rome 2 Total War" and is set during the 3nd Punic War and covers the siege and utter destruction of Carthage.

Late Republic (after 132 BC)[edit]

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

  • Someday Never Comes by Mk Kayem[2]
  • An Imaginary Life by David Malouf. A fictional account of the poet Ovid's exile from Rome.
  • The Last World by Christoph Ransmayr. Another Ovid-related novel.
  • 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.
  • Vespasian series by Robert Fabbri. The series details the early career and rise to power of Vespasian.

The Julio-Claudian Dynasty[edit]

Books about early Christians or Jesus 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:

The Flavian Dynasty[edit]

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

Middle Empire (AD 193–293)[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 (AD 293–457)[edit]

Byzantine Empire (AD 457–1453)[edit]

Unknown period[edit]

Detective fiction[edit]

Science fiction/time travel novels[edit]

Alternate history[edit]

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




Video games[edit]

Video game Year Platform Score[3]
Ryse: Son of Rome 2013 Microsoft Windows, Xbox One 60
Total War: Rome II 2013 Mac, Microsoft Windows 76
Roman Empire 2013 Microsoft Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows 76
Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising 2011 Microsoft Windows 50
Gladiator Begins 2010 PSP 59
Tournament of Legends 2010 Wii 45
Grand Ages: Rome 2009 Microsoft Windows 72
Cradle of Rome 2008 Nintendo DS, Wii 63
Europa Universalis: Rome 2008 Microsoft Windows, Mac 73
Imperium Romanum 2008 Microsoft Windows 63
Caesar IV 2006 Microsoft Windows 74
CivCity: Rome 2006 Microsoft Windows 67
Glory of the Roman Empire 2006 Microsoft Windows 66
Colosseum: Road to Freedom 2005 PlayStation 2 56
Imperivm: Great Battles of Rome 2005 Microsoft Windows
Legion Arena 2005 Mac, Microsoft Windows 65
Shadow of Rome 2005 PlayStation 2 75
Spartan: Total Warrior 2005 PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox 74
Nemesis of the Roman Empire 2004 74
Rome: Total War 2004 Microsoft Windows, Mac 92
Gladius 2003 GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox 82
Praetorians 2003 PC 78
Celtic Kings: Rage of War 2002 PC 82
Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars 2002 PlayStation 2, Xbox 67
Catechumen 2000 Windows
Nethergate 1999 Mac, Windows
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome 1998 Microsoft Windows
Caesar III 1998 Mac, Microsoft Windows
The Settlers II 1996 Mac, MS-DOS, Nintendo DS
SPQR: The Empire's Darkest Hour 1996 Windows
Caesar II 1995 Mac, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows
Walls of Rome 1993 DOS
Caesar I 1992 Amiga, Atari ST, DOS
Rome: Pathway to Power 1992 Amiga, DOS
Warrior of Rome II 1992 Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis
Warrior of Rome 1991 Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis
Centurion: Defender of Rome 1990 IBM PC DOS, Amiga, Mega Drive
Legions of Death 1987 Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Annals of Rome 1986 Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum
Legionnaire 1982 Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64

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 talking 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]


  1. ^ a b c d Saylor, Steven. "Steven Saylor website". Retrieved May 16, 2007
  2. ^ "Someday Never Comes, an Ebook by M.K. Kayem".
  3. ^ Metacritic Score
  4. ^ Dick, Philip K. (December 2011). The VALIS Trilogy. ISBN 978-0547867731. Retrieved 21 July 2015.

External links[edit]