Fiction set in the Roman Empire

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For fictional Roman individuals, see List of fictional Romans.

The following article Fiction set in the Roman Empire lists some works set in the Middle and Late Roman Republic and in the (Western) Roman Empire but not those set in the city of Rome or Byzantium.

The article lists works only from the Middle Republic when the city-state of Rome began to expand over Italy.

Historical novels listed in chronological order[edit]

Early and Middle Republic[edit]

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

  • Roma, published March 6, 2007, by Steven Saylor. The book follows two families through Rome's Republican history, starting before the founding of the city. Followed by Empire in 2010, which follows the same two families through the reigns of the early Roman Emperors.[1]

No works in English, apart from Saylor's Roma, are known to be set partially or wholly in the Middle Republic before the Punic Wars. Books about Hannibal, such as David Anthony Durham's Pride of Carthage (2005) or Ross Leckie’s Scipio (1997), do feature Romans from the Middle Republic.

  • Traitors’ Legion (Ace G-532,1963) by Jay Scotland, a swashbucker about a disgraced legion, set in Hannibal’s time.
  • 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.

Late Republic[edit]

  • 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
  • The Emperor series, by Conn Iggulden, is more alternate history than fictionalized biography in some respects.
  • Young Caesar (1958) by Rex Warner
  • Imperium by Robert Harris, showing Cicero's rise to the consulship in 63 BC; a fictionalized biography told by his slave, later freedman, Tiro
  • A Pillar of Iron (1965) by Taylor Caldwell, a fictionalized biography of Cicero.
  • 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
  • The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder, about the year culminating in Caesar's assassination.
  • 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]

  • 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]

  • Let the Emperor Speak: A novel of Caesar Augustus by Allan Massie, Doubleday & Company, Inc, New York, 1987 (First published in Great Britain in 1986 by the Bodley Head as Augustus). Also by this author: Caesar, Anthony, Tiberius, Caligula and Nero's Heirs.

"Pretender" by Lion Feuchtwanger

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:

The Flavian Dynasty[edit]

"The Jew of Rome" by Lion Feuchtwanger

The Antonine Dynasty[edit]

Middle Empire (193 AD to 305 AD), when Diocletian splits the Empire[edit]

Late Empire (to 476 AD)[edit]

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

Unknown period[edit]

Detective fiction[edit]

Science fiction/time travel novels[edit]

Alternate universe fiction[edit]

The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes prior to the present day:

The following alternate history story is set in a fictional universe prior to the present day:

  • "Delenda Est" (1955) by Poul Anderson; now available in Guardians of Time (1960 and 1985) editions); Rome defeated by Carthage in the Second Punic War and what follows.

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]

tome III of Murena (2001)

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

Science fiction inspired by Rome or works about Rome[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




Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Saylor, Steven. "Steven Saylor website". Retrieved May 16, 2007
  2. ^
  3. ^ Dick, Philip K. The VALIS Trilogy. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

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