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Characters of Ancient Rome

Kingdom of Rome     Early Republic     Punic Wars     Decline of Republic     Early Empire     Fall of the West     Byzantine Empire    

Kingdom of Rome (753 to 510 B.C.)

Character Date B.C. Description
Romulus 771716 Legendary founder of the city of Rome, with brother Remus.
Numa Pompilius died 674 Second king of Rome, instituted calendar, holidays, worship practices.
Tullus Hostilius died 642 Third king, conquered Alba; made Rome the greatest city of the Latins.
Horatii fl. 650 Three brothers who won man-to-man combat against the Curiatii to resolve Rome/Alba dispute.
Tarquin the Elder died 559 Fifth king, built great sewer, circus, temple of Jupiter, and forum.
Hanno the Carthaginian fl. 600 First Mediterranean sea-farer to explore the West coast of Africa and give report.
Servius Tullius died 535 Sixth king, built Servian Wall; helped plebeians, murdered by daughter
Tarquin Superbus fl. 535 Killed Servius and usurped throne; eventually overthrown; tried to regain throne by force.
Lucretia died 510 Virtuous matron, killed herself after assault by son of Tarquin Superbus.

Early Republic (510 to 275 B.C.)

Character Date B.C. Description
Junius Brutus died 509 First Consul of Rome; executed sons for plotting against the republic.
Horatius 535509 Hero who held the Sublician Bridge against Porsena's entire army.
Mucius Scaevola 535509 Hero who burned his right hand to defy Porsena.
Publicola died 508 Consul of Rome during the wars with Porsena.
Lars Porsena fl. 508 Etruscan king and supporter of the Tarquins who raised an army to march against Rome.
Menenius fl. 503 Roman noble who negotiated with the plebeians after their walk-out during a war.
Fabii fl. 480 Fabian brothers build a camp on the Cremona to defend Rome from Veii. They were ambushed and slain.
Appius Claudius died 452 Evil law giver who usurped power, then attempted to enslave Virginia.
Virginia died 451 Heroine slain by her father to rescue her from slavery and dishonor.
Coriolanus 500450 Hero, provoked to turn traitor. Convinced by his mother to spare Rome from destruction.
Cincinnatus 519439 Called to be dictator when Roman army was trapped. Saved them, and then returned to his farm.
Marcus Manlius died 384 Defended the capitol from the Gauls.
Manlius Torquatus died 384 Consul who slew his son for a minor disobedience.
Camillus 446365 Great military leader; conquered Veii, saved Rome from Gauls, organized legions.
Marcus Curtius died 362 Rode a horse into a large chasm in the Roman marketplace.
Decius Mus died 340 Sacrificed self in war against the Latins.
Caius Pontius fl. 321 Samnite general who captured the Romans at Caudium Pass.
Pyrrhus 318272 Renowned general, won victories in Macedon, Italy, and Greece, but failed to follow up wins.

Punic Wars (274 to 146 B.C.)

Character Date B.C. Description
Fabius died 291 Hero of the Battle of Sentinum, defeated the Gauls and Samnites.
Fabricius fl. 284 Incorruptible Roman ambassador who negotiated with Pyrrhus. Emblem of Roman Republican stalwart virtues.
Appius Claudius 340273 Built first aqueduct, public buildings, and "Appian Way", the great Roman road to Capua.
Valerius Corvus 370270 Defeated a gigantic Gaul in one-on-one combat; lived to be 100.
Regulus 300250 Captured by Carthage in First Punic War; urged Rome to fight on at cost of own life.
Hamilcar died 229 Carthage's most able General in First Punic War; father of Hannibal.
Aemilius Paulus died 216 Consul at the Battle of Cannae; opposed the confrontation, but died on battlefield.
Archimedes 287212 Eminent scientist and inventor. Held off Roman siege of Syracuse with clever defenses.
Marcellus 268208 Besieged Syracuse during the Second Punic War, but the ingenious war weapons of Archimedes frustrated the Romans.
Hasdrubal Barca died 207 Brother of Hannibal. Fought against Scipios in Spain; killed after he crossed the Alps to aid Hannibal.
Fabius Cunctator 250203 Elected dictator to resist Hannibal; counseled delay rather than direct assault.
Eratosthenes 275192 Early Greek scientist from Alexandria who correctly predicted the precise size of the earth in 200 B.C.
Hannibal 247182 Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Carus died 179 Celt-Iberian Chief of the Belli tribe. Won a victory over the Romans at Caravis before being killed.
Flamininus 230175 Led Rome against Philip V. in Second Macedonian War.
Aemilius Paulus 229160 Led Rome against Macedonia at the Battle of Pydna. Awarded a great triumph.
Hasdrubal fl. 150 Commander of Carthaginian army during the third Punic War, and Siege of Carthage.
Cato the Censor 234149 Roman censor. Brought Spain under Roman subjugation after 2nd Punic war, then urged destruction of Carthage.
Scipio Africanus 234149 Roman hero of Second Punic War. Led Armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.
Masinissa 238148 King of Numidia, allied with Rome against Carthage; fought at Zama.
Polybius 203120 Taken as Greek hostage during Macedonian wars; historian of Punic Wars.
Scipio the Younger 185129 Led the siege of Carthage during the third Punic War.

Decline of Republic (146 to 44 B.C.)

Character Date B.C. Description
Viriathus 180139 Lusitanian chief who resisted Rome for years, and incited other tribes to revolt.
Tiberius Gracchus 163132 Promoted land reform and fought for people's rights. Murdered by senators.
Gaius Gracchus 154121 Continued reforms of his brother, but was undermined by the senate.
Jugurtha 156104 Numidian king, flagrantly bribed senate to maintain power. Enemy of Rome.
Mithridates 160104 King of Pontus, enemy of Rome, raised rebellions in Greece and Asia Minor.
Cornelia 185100 Mother of the Gracchi. Highly revered Roman matron.
Metellus died 91 Commanded troops in Numidia against Jugurtha. Enemy of Marius.
Marius 15586 Renowned General. Modernized legions. Waged a bloody feud with party of Sulla.
Cinna died 84 With Marius, raised an army, and took possession of Rome for populist party.
Sulla 13878 Defeated Mithradates in Greece. Marched on Rome, defeated the party of his enemy Marius.
Sertorius 12272 Led rebellion against Rome in Spain; held out for 8 years.
Spartacus 11171 Gladiator who led a slave revolt. Held out for two years.
Lucullus 12070 Led Rome against Mithradates in Third War. Known for extravagant lifestyle.
Catiline 10862 Led conspiracy to overthrow Senate; discovered and put down by Cicero.
Cicero 10643 Orator. Leader of aristocratic party. Put down Catiline Conspiracy. Well known writer.
Julius Caesar 10044 Conquered Gaul, prevailed in civil war. Mastermind of Roman Empire. Killed by senators.
Ariovistus fl. 58 King of the Germans in Gaul. Defeated by Caesar at the Battle of Vosges.
Crassus 11053 Very wealthy general. Fought Spartacus. Formed triumvirate with Pompey and Caesar.
Clodius 9352 Violent enemy of Cicero. Populist rabble-rouser and demagogue.
Fulvia 7740 Wealthy and scheming Roman matron. Married to Clodius, then to Mark Antony. Enemy of Cicero.
Pompey 10648 Very renowned general. Defeated pirates. Led opposition to Caesar in Civil War.
Cato (the younger) 9546 Highly principled republican who opposed Caesar, killed self after defeat of Pompey.
Vercingetorix 7246 Leader of a Gallic revolt against the Romans. Surrendered after being defeated at Alesia.
Verres 12043 Extremely corrupt governor of Sicily; was prosecuted by Cicero.
Cassius died 42 Mastermind of conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. Committed suicide at Philippi.
Atticus 10932 Wealthy private citizen. Recipient of hundreds of letters from Cicero.
Augustus Caesar 6314 First Emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Antony 8330 With Octavius, led the Empire after Caesar's death. Liaison with Cleopatra caused downfall.
Cleopatra 7020 Queen of Egypt. Lover of both Caesar and Mark Antony.
Virgil 7019 Great Epic Poet of the Augustan Age. Wrote The Aeneid.
Agrippa 6312 Most trusted general and advisor of Augustus Caesar. Married his daughter Julia.
Drusus 389 Son of Livia, father of Germanicus. Died on campaign in Germany.
Horace 658 Great Lyric Poet and satirist of the Augustan Age.
Maecenas 708 Advisor and ambassador of Augustus. Patron of the Arts and Literature.

Early Empire (44 B.C. to 180 A.D.)

Character Date A.D. Description
Marbod died 37 King of Marcomanni during the early days of the Republic. After a war with Hermann, he settled in Bohemia.
Julia Caesara 39 BC 14 Profligate daughter of Augustus Caesar. Fell from grace, and was banished from Rome.
Tiberius 42 BC 37 Second Emperor. Stepson of Augustus. Retired to Capri.
Livy 59 BC 17 Roman Historian. Wrote History of Rome from its founding.
Germanicus 15 BC 19 Roman military hero and heir to the throne. Probably murdered.
Hermann 16 BC 21 Hero of Germany. Annihilated three Roman legions at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.
Livia 58 BC 29 Wife of Augustus Caesar. Empress of Rome for over fifty years.
Sejanus died 31 Leader of Praetorians. Conspired to seize the throne from Tiberius.
Saint Peter died 64 Leader of the Apostles and first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Caligula 1241 Third Emperor. Sadistic and probably insane.
Claudius 1054 Fourth Emperor. Manipulated by wicked wives, Messalina and Agrippina.
Marcus Brutus 8442 Leader of conspirators to assassinate Caesar. Committed suicide at Philippi.
Caractacus fl. 51 King of the Britons who resisted the Roman invasion. Convinced Claudius to spare his life.
Nero 3768 Fifth Emperor. Murdered mother, wife, and brother. Famously fiddled while Rome burned.
Agrippina the Younger 1659 Mother of Nero. Murdered Claudius to make way for his rise to the throne.
Poppaea died 65 Wicked mistress of Nero. Urged him to kill his mother and first wife.
Seneca 365 Tutor and minister to Nero. Forced to commit suicide after falling from Grace.
Saint Paul 367 Apostle who traveled throughout the Eastern Roman Empire spreading Gospels. Wrote Epistles.
Galba 369 Declared Emperor after Nero was deposed. Served less than a year.
Otho 3269 Emperor for 3 months in 69 A.D. Committed suicide rather than continue civil war.
Vitellius died 69 Emperor for 9 months in 69 A.D. Known as an incompetent glutton.
Vespasian 979 First Emperor of humble origins. Founder of Flavian Dynasty.
Pliny (Elder) 2379 Scholar, author of encyclopedias, naturalist. Wrote Natural Histories. Died at the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
Titus 4081 Second Flavian Emperor. Conquered Jerusalem. Reigned with father Vespasian.
Domitian 5196 Third Flavian Emperor. Known for purges and persecutions near end of reign.
Decebalus fl. 87 Chief of Dacian tribes. Conquered by Romans but rebelled. Killed by the Romans when they reconquered Dacia.
Agricola 4093 Roman General and Statesman. Governor of Britain. Pacified Wales.
Nerva 3098 First of the "Five Good Emperors". Ruled briefly between Domitian and Trajan.
Trajan 53117 2nd of "Five Good Emperors." Ruled with justice and integrity. Conquered Dacia.
Josephus 37100 Jewish Historian. Captured by Romans at Jotapata. Wrote the Jewish War.
Martial 40102 Poet and satirist. Wrote twelve books of Epigrams.
Pliny the Younger 63113 Roman statesman and orator. His letters are important historical sources.
Hadrian 76138 3rd of "Five Good Emperors". Talented artist and architect, good administrator.
Plutarch 46122 Most outstanding moralist and biographer of ancient times. Wrote Lives of Greeks and Romans.
Antoninus Pius 86161 4th of "Five Good Emperors". Continued policy of consolidation. Ruled justly.
Marcus Aurelius 121180 5th of "Five Good Emperors". Stoic philosopher. Improved condition of poor.

Fall of the Western Empire (180 to 476 A. D.)

Character Date A.D. Description
Commodus 161192 Corrupt son of Aurelius, misruled for twelve years and was murdered.
Septimus Severus 146211 Seized Imperial throne after the death of Commodus. Put down many rebellions.
Caracalla 188217 Brutal and iron-fisted emperor. Murdered brother Geta. Built "Baths of Caracalla."
Julia Domna 170217 Wife of Severus; Mother of Caracalla. Influential in Imperial government.
Elagabalus 205222 Third Severan Emperor; assumed throne at 14; effeminate and profligate; deposed by army.
Alexander Severus 208235 Fourth Severan Emperor; ruled well under the regency of his mother; overthrown by Maximinus.
Maximinus died 238 Thracian Giant. Rose to head of army, seized imperial throne, and reigned as a barbarian.
Zenobia of Palmyra fl. 267 Queen of Palmyra. Attempted to control the eastern empire, only to be crushed by Rome.
Aurelian 214275 Emperor who reunited the empire during the Military anarchy. Led campaign in Palmyra against Zenobia.
Diocletian 245313 Restored order to the empire after fifty years of chaos. Broke empire into four regions.
Constantine 272337 First Christian Emperor. Unified Empire. Moved Capital to Constantinople near Black Sea.
Ulfilas 310383 Missionary bishop who translated the Bible into the Gothic language and converted the Goths to Arian Christianity.
Julian the Apostate 331363 Last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty. Tried to restore paganism.
Fritigern died 380 Visigoth Chief who asked received permission to cross the Danube, then overran the Balkans.
Saint Athanasius 298373 Bishop of Alexandria. Opposed the Arian Heresy.
Theodosius 346395 Emperor excommunicated by Ambrose for massacre of civilians at Thessalonica.
Alaric the Visigoth 370410 Chieftain who led the Visigoths into northern Italy, and then besieged and sacked Rome.
Honorius 384423 Western Emperor during the Visigoth raids of Alaric. Moved capital to Ravenna. Murdered Stilicho.
Saint Ambrose 340397 Bishop of Milan. Resisted Arian heresy, advised emperors, advocated for Church interests.
Stilicho 359408 Roman General who fought off the Visigoths before they overran Rome. Murdered by Emperor Honorius.
Pulcheria 399453 With Theodosius II, Empress of the Eastern Empire. Promoted Christianity, condemned Nestorianism.
Hypatia 380415 Philosopher and teacher who lived in Alexandria.
Saint Jerome 340420 Translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate.
Genseric 390477 Leader of Vandals. Conquered Northern Africa and Sicily. Invaded and Ransacked Rome.
Saint Augustine 354430 Greatest Christian theologian of the Middle Ages. Wrote Confessions and City of God.
Attila the Hun 406453 Barbarian Chieftain who overran and terrorized much of Europe. Defeated at the Battle of Chalons.

Byzantine Empire (476 to 1453 A.D.)

Character Date A.D. Description
Odoacer 435493 Deposed last Roman Emperor and became King of Italy. Later overthrown by Theodoric the Ostrogoth.
Theodoric the Ostrogoth 454526 Ostrogoth King who invaded Italy, and successfully formed a Gothic-Roman Kingdom.
Justinian the Great 483565 Ruled Byzantine Empire for 40 years. Well known for legal reforms known as Code of Justinian.
Empress Theodora 500548 Born in humble circumstances, she married the Emperor and became his trusted advisor.
Saint Benedict 480547 Established the Benedictine order of Monks. Founded the monastic movement in Europe.
Belisarius 505565 General associated with Julian the Great, reconquered much of lost Roman territory.
Heraclius 575641 Eastern Emperor during a critical period. Fought Goths in the West, Persian and Moslems in the East.
Leo III the Isaurian 685741 Byzantine Emperor who stabilized the Byzantine Empire after the Moslem Conquests and destroyed statues and artwork in the Christian Churches.
Saint Irene 752803 Empress of the Byzantines during the era of Charlemagne and Harun Al-Rashid, who tried to restore the use of images and icons in the eastern church.

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