List of Rome characters
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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.
|Character name||Portrayed by||Historical basis|
|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 Julius Caesar|
|An arrogant and brilliant general, Caesar is also a subtle politician. Intelligent, charming and calculating, he accomplishes most of what he sets out to do, until he becomes dictator of Rome for life and is violently murdered in the Roman Senate.|
|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 highly popular and 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 in Roman society by any means, including sex and violence. She treats her daughter Octavia and son Octavian with a mixture of affection and insensitivity.|
|Mark Antony||James Purefoy||Mark Antony|
|Anthony is a cunning and crass Roman general very popular with the Roman public. A loyal ally and friend of Caesar, Antony becomes consul of Rome after Caesar's death but eventually moves to Egypt, where he rules the Eastern Roman provinces and later commits suicide with his mistress Cleopatra.|
|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 figure, but he is also a descendant of a founder of the Republic.|
|Servilia of the Junii||Lindsay Duncan||Servilia|
|Servilla is a polished and charming member of one of the old Republican families but also Caesar's mistress. Her longstanding feud with Atia ends in violence and death.|
|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 illegitimate son. 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 Julius Caesar Octavianus "Augustus")|
|Son of Atia and grandnephew of Caesar, Octavian is presented as a cold, intelligent youth that is a student of power and politics. Octavian is alternatively pampered and patronized by his mother, his manhood and masculinity are seen as severely lacking by men and women alike. He is taken prisoner in Gaul while travelling to join Caesar, but saved by Vorenus and Pullo.|
|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. He is the only member of the Senate to wear a black toga, which is symbolic of his mourning for what he sees as the death of the Roman Republic under Caesar's rule. 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.|
|While a loyal servant of Atia's family, Timon is essentially a thuggish horse trader who will accept payment in a variety of ways, especially sex from Atia.|
|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 becomes Octavia's lover but is soon regretted by her.|
|Character name||Portrayed by||Status||Historical basis|
|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.|
|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.|
|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|
|He announces the latest news as well as a few advertisements.|
|Witty, intelligent, loyal and even sarcastic, he is not only Caesar's slave, but also his confidant.|
|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.|
|Sister of Niobe. Tormented by her sister's betrayal, she longs for the love of her husband, Evander Pulchio.|
|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.|
|First husband of Octavia of the Julii.|
|Evander Pulchio||Enzo Cilenti||Plebeian||Fictional|
|The unfaithful husband of Lyde.|
|Daughter of a wealthy merchant, and friend to Octavia of the Julii.|
|An old comrade of Pullo and Vorenus, he comes to the Aventine seeking work under Vorenus.|
|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.|
|A slave completely dedicated to Servilia of the Junii.|
|A slave completely dedicated to Atia of the Julii.|
|Captain of one of the largest underworld gangs, the Caelians; keeps an uneasy alliance with Vorenus, leader of the Aventine.|
- Antonia (historically, Antonia the Elder or Antonia Minor), daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia of the Julii born after Antony left Rome and raised by her mother alone. She could possibly be the daughter of Marcus Agrippa. Octavia complains of her being a disobedient child.
- 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 (About Your Father)", Alfidia lightly questions Octavia's loyalty to her family at dinner (Octavia defends herself handily), 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 (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)" (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.
- Calpurnia (historically, Calpurnia Pisonis), played by Haydn Gwynne. The wife of Julius Caesar, she is seen in "Stealing from Saturn", "The Ram has Touched the Wall", "Kalends of February" and "Passover". In Shakespeare's and Plutarch's version, it is Calpurnia's dreams that almost stop Caesar on the Ides of March, cleverly alluded to by the flock of birds in the shape of a skull in "Kalends of February".
- Casca (historically, Servilius Casca), played by Peter Gevisser. a Roman senator and one of the assassins of Julius Caesar.
- Gaius Maecenas (historically, Gaius Maecenas), played by Alex Wyndham. Maecenas first appears in "Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)"; 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.
- Glabius (Latin name, fictional), played by Roberto Purvis. The now-deceased ex-husband of Octavia of the Julii — divorced by Atia's force of will, still loved by Octavia, and therefore killed by Timon on Atia's orders. He is seen in "The Stolen Eagle", "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic", "An Owl in a Thornbush", and "Stealing from Saturn". Historically, Octavia the Younger was six years older than her brother Gaius Octavian, and from c.54 to 40BC (the first season's timeframe was 51 to 41 BC) was the wife of Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor. Therefore, she would have been in his household, not that of the Julii/Octavii, until his death in 40 and her remarriage to Mark Antony. Marcellus has been replaced by the fictional Glabius.
- Jocasta (Greek name, fictional), played by Camilla Rutherford. Daughter of a wealthy merchant named Rufus Tranquillus (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 (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)", 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 (historically, Livia Drusilla), played by Alice Henley. Young wife of Octavian; introduced in "A Necessary Fiction". Married to another man Claudius Nero (historically Tiberius Claudius Nero), Livia catches the eye of Octavian; she and her mother Alfidia are pleased when he insists that Livia divorce her current husband to marry him. Octavian introduces her to his family at the same meeting where he berates his friends and relatives for all the vices that are potentially damaging to him; Octavia warns Livia that she is about to marry a monster, but the girl is unfazed. Later Octavian explains that he has rough sexual tastes, but Livia takes this in stride: in "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)," Livia actively participates in mutually sadomasochistic sex with him. Despite her outward behavior of being slightly dim, she is in private moments as politically astute as Octavian. In "De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)", Octavian's mother Atia of the Julii puts social climber Livia in her place, vitriolically calling her a "viscous trollop" and domineeringly asserting her feminine dominance over Livia in defiance of the priests. While Livia is outwardly unfazed by Atia's words, she is clearly uncomfortable.
- Pothinus (historically, Pothinus), played by Tony Guilfoyle, seen in the episode "Caesarion". A eunuch who serves as regent to Ptolemy XIII.
- Ptolemy XIII (historically, Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator), Cleopatra's younger brother, played by Scott Chisholm. Seen in the episode "Caesarion". Historically he was as young as is portrayed, and the character's "chubbiness" is a nice allusion to a family trait of the Ptolemaic dynasty as historically attested in their artistic representations, nicknames and in the literary record, namely Ptolemy VIII Physcon.
- Evander Pulchio (Greek name, fictional), played by Enzo Cilenti. The now deceased husband of Lyde, brother-in-law of Niobe, and secretly the father of her son Lucius. He was killed by Pullo and Octavian, who after learning his secret realized that he would cause too many problems for Vorenus. Seen in "An Owl in a Thornbush", "Stealing from Saturn" and "The Ram has Touched the Wall".
- Gaia (fictional), played by Zuleikha Robinson. 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. She becomes somewhat involved with Mascius, but also shows an opportunistic interest in both Vorenus and Pullo. Gaia makes an enemy of Pullo's wife Eirene, who compels Pullo to beat an insubordinate Gaia in "Death Mask"; he roughs her up, but with her encouragement ends up having rough sex with her as well. Later, Gaia acquires an abortion-inducing herb called silphium, which she administers surreptitiously to Eirene in her tea in "A Necessary Fiction". Eirene miscarries, and then dies (apparently of blood loss). In "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)", Gaia and Pullo have been in a relationship for a few years; she is mortally wounded saving him from an attack by Memmio, and on her deathbed admits that she killed Eirene. Pullo strangles her to death, and throws her body unceremoniously into the river. Gaia appeared in "Son of Hades", "These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero", "Heroes of the Republic", "Philippi", "Death Mask", and "A Necessary Fiction".
- Lucius (fictional), played by Marco Pollack, Alessio Cuna and Stefan Brown. Son of Niobe and Evander Pulchio — a fact that was hidden from Lucius Vorenus until the "Kalends of February". Until then, Vorenus was led to believe the boy was his grandson by his eldest daughter Vorena the Elder. Vorenus accepts the child in later episodes, happily embracing him after he believed his children were dead. In "De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)", Pullo says that Lucius is apprenticed to a stonemason, which Vorenus approves of. Appears in "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic", "An Owl in a Thornbush", "Stealing from Saturn", "The Ram has Touched the Wall", "Egeria", "Utica", and "Kalends of February".
- 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. She grows increasingly resentful of her sister's affair with her husband, eventually telling her that the only reason she is still talking to Niobe is because Vorenus would kill Lucius if he knew the truth. 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, bargaining her service to the gods in exchange for the children's deliverance. Vorenus later tells Lyde that she is free to visit the children whenever she wishes as long as she doesn't try to take them. 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".
- Mascius (fictional), played by Michael Nardone. An old comrade of Pullo and Vorenus, he comes to the Aventine in "Son of Hades" seeking work under Vorenus as his third in command behind Pullo. He first appears in "The Spoils", and later returns in "Son of Hades", "These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero", "Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)", and "Heroes of the Republic".
- Rubio (fictional), played by Alessio Di Cesare/David Quinzi. A slave brought back from Gaul by Vorenus, he falls ill and is taken to Niobe for care. He appears in episodes "The Stolen Eagle", "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic", "The Ram has Touched the Wall", and "Egeria", as well as "Utica", "Triumph", "The Spoils", and "Kalends of February".
- 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, where she was forced to work as a prostitute in a mine. 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. She visits her siblings and Pullo regularly, having a cool but not negative attitude towards the latter. She is 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".
- Vorena the Younger (fictional), played by Anna Fausta Primiano/Valery Usai. She is the second daughter of Lucius Vorenus and Niobe. During the entire run of the series, she only utters sounds thrice: initially, at the beginning of "Egeria" when she makes a yelping noise whilst playing hide and seek with the family's young Gaulish slave; then twice in "Heroes of the Republic", first she catches Vorena the Elder's attention while riding in the back of a wagon by saying, "Sister!" and later excitedly exclaims "Lyde!" upon seeing her aunt for the first time after her rescue from slavery. At the end of the series, she is credited by Pullo for all but running the Collegium tavern. Pullo says she has the "glare of Medusa". 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", and "Triumph".
- Charmian (historically, Charmion), played by Kathryn Hunter, is Cleopatra's dedicated slave and advisor.
- Eleni (fictional), played by Suzanne Bertish, is Servilia's body-slave.
- 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".
- Vercingetorix (historically, Vercingetorix), played by Giovanni Calcagno. "King of the Gauls," he appears in "The Stolen Eagle" and "Triumph".
- 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 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.
- The historical Mark Antony and Octavia the Younger 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.
- 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.
- University of Waterloo ~ "All in the Family: Incest and the Ptolemaic Dynasty"
- Stefan Brown's first appearance as an aged Lucius is "Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)".
- Alessio Di Cesare - TV.com
- David Quinzi - TV.com