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Voreni Household

Lucius Vorenus

One of the two protagonists. We first meet him as a centurion of the 13th Legion in Gaul who has not seen home nor his family for eight years and wishes nothing but going back to them. Vorenus is an impeccably honest and most honorable man that values tradition, law and loyalty to the Roman Republic above all... something that will bring him innumerable problems. Played by Kevin McKidd.


Octavian: That man turned loyalty into a vice.

  • Unstoppable Rage: More than once. But the stand-out example is when he slaughters Erastes Fulmen's entire gang.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Vorenus has an unfortunate amount of these. Lampshaded by one of his interactions with Da Chief Marc Anthony. Vorenus himself had this reaction when Pullo killed one of his slaves just because them slave was in a relationship with the girl Pullo loves.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sort of. He still believes in the Republic, while everybody else sees it as rotten to the core.

Titus Pullo

"Here I come, girls! I'm gonna drink all the wine, smoke all the smoke, and fuck every whore in the city!"

The other protagonist. Pullo is an impulsive, boisterous and wholly irreverent legionary in the 13th Legion serving under Vorenus, who he befriends nonetheless after going on a mission with him. The two then return to Vorenus' house in Rome as Heterosexual Life Partners. Played by Ray Stevenson.


Niobe of the Voreni

"I don't want people dying in my house!"

Vorenus' wife through an Arranged Marriage and mother of two daughters, both named Vorena. At the start of the series she has been in charge of the Voreni household for eight years while her husband was at war in Gaul. She also has a son from her brother in-law who she tries to pass as her eldest daughter's when Vorenus returns home. Played by Indira Varma.



"I'm plegant! Whatever you call it!"

A Germanic slave that Vorenus and Pullo rescue from a band of Pompeian soldiers early in Season 1. Pullo is instantly infatuated with her, and after a while he has her freed and marries her. Played by Chiara Mastalli.


The Voreni Children

Vorena the Elder, Vorena the Younger and Lucius. All of them named after Lucius Vorenus.



Niobe's younger sister and barren wife to Greek fishmonger Evander. Played by Esther Hall.


Evander Pulchio

Lyde's husband, a Greek fish dealer. Pullo and Octavian kill him secretly to protect the Voreni honor. Played by Enzo Cilenti.


Julii Household

Gaius Julius Caesar

"Our men must win or die. Pompey's men have... other options."

The famous Roman general and stateman turned dictator. Played by Ciarán Hinds.


  • Antagonist in Mourning: "HE WAS A CONSUL OF ROME!". Caesar when presented with Pompey's head
  • Asskicking Equals Authority
  • Badass Cape
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: Averted. The Rome version of the character never says the famous Shakespearean line "Et Tu, Brute?" (like in Real Life, his wounds made him unable to talk in his dying moments). This is lampshaded in the next episode, when Brutus asks "You too, Mother?" when Servilia tells him to leave the city.
  • Big Bad and Big Good: To the senate, he's the former. To a large part of the Roman Army and to the people of Rome he's the latter.
  • Blood on the Debate Floor
  • Chessmaster: Subverted as he lets his empathy get in the way.
  • Culture Clash: The Egyptians present him with the head of Pompey thinking they are going to gain his favor. Caesar is enraged instead.
  • Dark Secret: Caesar has epilepsy and is terrified that anyone might find about it. This is because according to Roman tradition epilepsy was a result of having been cursed by the Gods, and the people would refuse to being led by a man subject to it.
  • Easily Forgiven: Caesar can be ruthless but manages to fit this trope fairly well. He spares Vorenus and Pullo on one occasion (possibly more, but I can't remember) and his response to Brutus and Cicero trying to surrender is to hug them, apologise to Brutus while kissing his cheek, beg them to tell him that Pompey, an even bigger enemy, is still alive, and then, drag them off to have food since it must have been awhile since they had a decent meal. More than one character points out that forgiving people is Caesar's shtick, doing double duty as a way to be seen as a Reasonable Authority Figure and to make people beholden to him.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Might not have said the words, but his eyes told it anyway.
  • Father to His Men
  • Genre Savvy: Zigzagged. He spared Vorenus and Pullo despite letting Pompey escape because they both managed to survive unlikely things. He also sent the two on an important mission to get Cleopatra. On the other hand, he ignored warnings of a bad omen which lead to his assassination. But, then again...
  • Kavorka Man: Yes and no. He’s a notably older man and his age is showing but he’s not terribly unattractive (this male troper admits). Obviously Cleopatra and Servila found him attractive.
  • Like a Son to Me: Octavian. Brutus as well.
  • Miles Gloriosus
  • The Plan: Engages in one of these.
  • Rousing Speech: Julius Caesar's speech just before he marches on the walled capital Rome with only an armed gang. And wins.
  • You Should Know This Already: He's going to die.

Gaius Octavian

"It's not the killing. It is the waving about of swords I find tedious. I dare say I can kill people readily enough, as long as they're not fighting back."

One of the main protagonists. A brilliant yet antisocial young man who through years of manipulation, becomes Rome's first emperor. Played by Max Pirkis in his teenage years and by Simon Woods as a young adult.


Mark Antony

"I shall be a good politician. Even if it kills me. Or if it kills anyone else, for that matter."

Julius Caesar's right hand man and a talented soldier and politician in his own right, though he is hampered by his many flaws. In the aftermath of Caesar's death, he is one of the most powerful men in Rome, putting him in direct conflict with Octavian, Caesar's heir. Played by James Purefoy.


Atia of the Julii

"I know who you are. I can see you. You are swearing now that some day... some day you will destroy me... Remember, far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go and look for them now."

Caesar's nephew and mother to Octavian and Octavia, plus long-time lover of Mark Antony. Atia is an extremely ambitious and Evil Matriarch supreme that stops almost at nothing to get what she wants. She's the real power force in the Julian household... at least, until Octavian grows enough to overrule her. Played by Polly Walker.


  • Abusive Parent: Especially to Octavia.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Atia firmly believes this to be true. Which is why she arranges for Octavian to visit a brothel, so that he can become a real man.
  • Badass Boast: Besides the quote, there is also "By the five Furies, if I was not a gentle woman, I would have you flayed, and hung from a bracket at the door!"
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Firm believer in this.
  • Blood Bath: In the first episode Atia takes a shower in the blood pouring down from a slaughtered bull during a ritual to ensure the safe travelling of her son to Gaul.
  • Break the Haughty: By the end of the series her son is the most powerful man in the known world and will remain that to the day he dies, in partly because of her constant scheming and her upbringing of him. Yet the love of her life has abandoned her and then committed suicide, and Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Livia has surpassed her in influence over and respect from Octavian.
  • Chessmaster: She likes to think she's this but since her plans fail at least half the time and she seems to act on whim a lot she's more of a Smug Snake.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl
  • Coitus Uninterruptus
  • Control Freak
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: These don't manage (nor aim) to make Atia sympathetic to the viewer, but they do make her an unexpectedly funny character. Examples include nonchalantly discussing about how the family should commit mass suicide, being overjoyed when thinking that her son and uncle have an incestuous affair or threatening to have her son's books burned off if he doesn't go to a brothel and loses his virginity.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gods, I don't like that Plebeian friend of my daughter. Let's have her entire family murdered, her house sacked and the poor girl gang raped.
  • Evil Is Petty: Don't feed your slaves as much, they look gross.
  • Evil Matriarch: Atia is the epitome of this trope.
  • Evil Redhead
  • Femme Fatale
  • Fortune Save Us From The Queen: One has to conclude she'd be this, if Mark Antony had gone with her plan of marrying her and proclaiming himself king.
  • Green-Eyed Monster
  • Gorgeous Period Dress
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Atia is portrayed as seductive, manipulative and evil. There's absolutely no historical evidence for this; Tacitus actually describes her as a pious, devoted mother and an ideal Roman matron.
  • Hot Mom: Later upgraded to Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!.
  • Idle Rich
  • Jerkass
  • Lady Macbeth: Mostly to Mark Antony, but a rather inefective one.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Hands down one of the best.
  • My Beloved Smother
  • Obviously Evil: As nice as Polly Walker can be to the eyes, she plain looks evil when dressed as a Roman patrician woman.
  • Rich Bitch
  • The Rival: To Servilia, Livia, Calpurnia (arguable Unknown Rival in this case) and even Cleopatra herself. In short, Atia doesn't like any other woman that dares to seem capable of gaining prominence in the Julian household.
  • Smug Snake
  • The Vamp
  • You Just Told Me: By Atia to expose Octavia's relationship to Agrippa.

Octavia of the Julii

"Please, Castor, let mother [die after me]! I won't deny her one last pleasure. It would be undaughterly."

Octavian's older sister and Woobie supreme of the series. Being the only woman of marrying age in the family makes her the perfect unwitting pawn of Atia and later Octavian to gain political influence. Played by Kerry Condon.


Octavia: Mother I would rather it were not you who killed me. If you have no objections.
Atia: Why ever not? You can't still be angry with me!


Octavian's wife. Played by Alice Henley.



Caesar's wife. Played by Haydn Gwynne.


  • Arranged Marriage: Perfectly normal for a Roman woman, particularly a noblewoman, but not great when your husband has a libido you could hold up a house with.
  • Honor Before Reason: Will not leave Rome until Caeser's will has been read even as people could very well be looking to kill her.


"The Roman people are not crying out for clean elections. They are crying out for jobs. They are crying out for clean water, for food, for stability and peace."

An old, wise and educated Greek slave owned by Caesar, who he tutored when he was young. Nowadays he acts as his personal manservant, counsilor and confident. He is free to speak his mind, which includes a lot of snark. Played by Nicholas Woodeson.



"I've been dishonoured!"

A young Plebeian woman, daughter of a rich merchant and close friend of Octavia. Played by Camilla Rutherford.



Head slave of the Julii Household. Played by Manfredi Aliquo.



An old female slave to the Julii, working mostly as a handmaiden to Atia. Played by Lydia Biondi.



The first husband of Octavia. Played by Roberto Purvis.


Junii Household

Marcus Junius Brutus

"Only tyrants need worry about tyrant killers."

A quiet and awkward young Patrician torn between doing what he believes it's right and what others expect of him - particularly his mother Servilia and his Parental Substitute, Julius Caesar. Played by Tobias Menzies.


Servilia of the Junii

"Gods of the Junii, with this offering I ask you to summon Tyche, Megaera and Nemesis, so that they witness this curse. By the spirits of my ancestors, I curse Gaius Julius Caesar. Let his penis wither. Let his bones crack. Let him see his legions drown in their own blood. Gods of the inferno, I offer to you his limbs, his head, his mouth, his breath, his speech, his hands, his liver, his heart, his stomach. Gods of the inferno, let me see him suffer deeply, and I will rejoice and sacrifice to you."

Brutus' mother and long time mistress to Julius Caesar. Servilia is a bitter and evil woman, but her dangerousness always falls one level short of her main rival's, Atia of the Julii. Played by Lindsay Duncan.


Cato the Younger

"Ah, so in fact this is not a humiliating defeat at all, but a rare species of victory!"

A stubborn, staunch traditionalist senator and defender of the Republic, and as a result declared enemy of Caesar. Also half-brother to Servilia and uncle to Brutus. Played by Karl Johnson.


Gaius Cassius Longinus

"Thus ever tyrants!"

Another fellow senator and close friend of Brutus. He masterminds Caesar's assassination. Played by Guy Henry.


  • Fatal Family Photo: Or "Fatal Promise of a Birthday Cake for Next Year".
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: With Brutus. In real life, part of their alliance was cemented on the fact that Cassius was married to Brutus' sister, but this is not mentioned in the show.
  • Poisonous Friend: Turns Brutus against Caesar.
  • Rich Bitch: Believes the Senate should be restricted to wealthy Romans.


A slave property of Servilia. Played by Suzanne Bertish.


Pompeii Household

Gnaeus Pompey Magnus

"It seemed impossible to lose. That is always a bad sign."

Once a mighty conqueror and hero of the Republic, Pompey is a jaded Consul of Rome living mostly of past glories by the time the show starts. When Caesar tries to seize power he sides with the Senate against him. Played by Kenneth Cranham.


Quintus Valerius Pompey

"Kill him too, what does it matter?"

Pompey's son and a military leader in the Senate faction. Played by Rick Warden.


The Roman Underworld

Erastes Fulmen

"I took your children in payment for your many slights to me. I fucked them. Then I killed them. And then I threw them in the river."

A ruthless businessman who controls Rome's most powerful criminal gang, the Aventine, under a pretense of legality. Played by Lorcan Cranitch.



"I told you I'm not a whore."

A former brothel supervisor tasked with keeping the customers on line, who is hired by Vorenus after he takes over Erastes Fulmen's gang. While technically a slave, Gaia is a tough and vindicative woman that stops at nothing to get what she wants. Played by Zuleikha Robinson.



"The truth? The truth is I have known you as a brother. The truth is that I saved your life at Gergovia. Took an arrow for it. The arrow's still in there, the truth is I'd do it again brother. The truth is that I've been nothing but a good soldier to you and a good fucking friend. Do what you have to do Pullo. I'll see you in Hades."

A former legionary of the Thirteenth. After returning from Gaul, Vorenus gets him and his other comrades lands in Germania but Mascius loses his concession playing dice. He then returns to Rome and joins the Aventine gang after hearing that Vorenus has taken over it. Played by Michael Nardone.



Captain of the Caelians gang and uneasy ally to Vorenus. Played by Daniel Cerqueira.


Other Romans

Marcus Tullius Cicero

"When confronted by a hungry wolf, it is unwise to goad the beast, as Cato would have us do. But it is equally unwise to imagine the snarling animal a friend and offer your hand, as Pompey does."

The renowned Roman politician, intellectual and master orator, leader of the moderate faction in the Senate. Cicero distrusts Caesar's and later Mark Antony's actions but lacks the spine to take direct action against them. Played by David Bamber.


Metellus Scipio

A prominent general in the senate faction and member of the famous Scipio family. Played by Paul Jesson.


Marcus Agrippa

"I would go with you to Hades... to Britain even, if I thought we had the right."

A young, humble Roman general of rural origins and old friend to Octavian. He loves Octavia, but his loyalty to her brother will never let him pursue her. Played by Allen Leech.


Gaius Maecenas

Another friend of Octavian and third in the Power Trio of young men that give birth to the Roman Empire. In contrast to Agrippa, Maecenas is a politician from a wealthy urban family who has a talent for rethoric and his own personal goals beyond those of Octavian. Played by Alex Wyndham.



A Roman General sent by the Senate to defeat Antony, only to have his entire army defect to him on the spot. He then switches sides too and ends up as Antony's second in command. He later becomes the least powerful of the Triumvirate formed with Antony and Octavian, but gets Africa for his troubles... for a while. Played by Ronan Vibert.


The Newsreader

"This month's public bread is provided by the Capitoline Brotherhood of Millers. The Brotherhood uses only the finest flour: true Roman bread for true Romans."

A public servant that cries news and advertisements at the Forum in front of the Roman Senate. Played by Ian McNeice.


  • Book Ends: He appears in both the pilot and the last episode making the same announcement, offering a reward for a missing slave, "runaway or stolen". It's used to show that despite the vast historical changes happened in the span of the series, the life of the average citizen remains the same.
  • The Constant
  • Kent Brockman News
  • Large Ham
  • No Name Given
  • Product Placement: Another nice historical touch.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: His job consists on screaming whatever propaganda the government of the time hands to him, and it changes as wildly and quickly as the composition of that government does. He never questions it.


Queen Cleopatra VII

King Ptolemy XIII






A horse trader who also serves as a mercenary for Atia, be it as a hitman or a bodyguard, whom he also expresses a strong lust for. Has a brother named Levi. Played by Lee Boardman.