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 8 years and wishes for nothing but to go back to them. Vorenus is an impeccably honest and honorable man who values tradition, law and loyalty to the Roman Republic above all... something that will bring him innumerable problems. Played by Kevin McKidd.
- Abusive Parent: To his daughters and to Niobe's son occasionally, though he flip-flops. This is due to the nasty temper mentioned below.
- Ascended Extra: The surviving writings of the actual, historical Caesar mention one 'Lucius Vorenus', centurion. Very little else is known of him, although it's safe to assume his importance has been greatly exaggerated. The real Lucius Vorenus actually belonged to the 11th legion.
- Blasphemous Boast: "I AM THE SON OF HADES, I FUCK CONCORD IN HER ARSE!"
- Bash Brothers: With Titus Pullo.
- Battlecry: "Thirteenth!!!"
- Beard of Sorrow: After Niobe and Caesar's death, as well as the supposed death of his children.
- Berserk Button: People who are disloyal, as the Greek mercenary who suggested betraying Pompey found out.
- Break the Haughty: His principles crumble when confronted by real problems the higher up he goes in the social ladder.
- Break Them by Talking: Does this to Cleopatra by pointing out the deal she's made with Octavian to keep her crown and her son by Caesar save is worthless as Octavian won't keep his word.Cleopatra: I've made a pact with Octavian. I keep my crown and no harm will come to my people''Vorenus: Octavian may let you live...so he can parade you through the Forum in your crown. To Antony's children, he will show public mercy and kindness, but Caesarion? Another son of Caesar? Octavian will kill him!Cleopatra: [starting to panic] No! He's just a child!Vorenus: He'll die.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Albeit an accidental version. Caesar promotes Vorenus to senator and orders the man to stay by his side while showing him the ropes, counting on his reputation to deter any assassination. The conspirators having found out the secret of his wife's infidelity, reveal the secret on the day of Caesar's assassination so he will rush home instead of following Caesar into the Senate house.
- Cannot Spit It Out: His philosophy of stoicism serves him well in war, but leaves him virtually unable to speak of softer things.Vorenus (to Niobe, sincerely but lamely): It saddens me that you are unhappy. Because I have deep affection for you.
- Celibate Hero: Devoted to his wife despite being separated for years on campaign. Though he is seen having sex with a prostitute long after Niobe's death.
- Colonel Badass: As a centurio primus pilus, a "First Spear Centurion", his status and responsibilities approximate (though not completely, see Drill Sergeant Nasty below) roughly to that of a Lieutenant Colonel in a modern army. He's also Centurion of the Prime (or simply 1st) Cohort, a cohort that was double the size of an ordinary cohort, carried the legionary eagle, and was made up of the cream of the legion; to command one was considered the zenith of a common soldier's career and carried a great deal of prestige.
- Cosmic Plaything: See his character quote above.
- Creepy Souvenir: He carries a Germanic warrior's penis as a lucky charm. He also keeps Erastes Fulmen's head after decapitating him.
- Cultured Warrior: He often cites examples from Roman history during his Honor Before Reason rants, sometimes talks about other cultures (eg. the Egyptian gods) as if he's read up about them and the reason he was sent on the mission to find Caesar's stolen eagle in the first place was because his superior officer thought he was clever. His badass qualifications are impeccable.
- As he is on operations inside foreign countries, his position as centurio primus pilus and later Prefect would mean learning about enemy culture and traditions was part of his job.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Many, but most notably in one situation where Lucius Vorenus decides that the most ethical thing to do is kill a little boy. It's heartbreaking to see how torn he is between "doing the right thing" and killing his wife's bastard, and listening to his instinct to not kill a child.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: One in the pilot, mellows in later episodes. As a centurio primus pilus the overall discipline of the legion would be one of his (many) responsibilities.
- Fiery Redhead: He has a nasty temper.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Pullo, and strangely enough with Mark Antony by the end of the series. Although Vorenus doesn't approve of Antony's hedonistic ways, he eventually realises they share the same self-destructive urges.
- Heroic BSoD: Once the Unstoppable Rage has worn off, Vorenus has one of these after believing his whole family is dead. Pullo gets Marc Antony to deliver a Get Ahold Of Yourself Man and give him the job of running Rome's underworld.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Pullo.
- Honor Before Reason: Much of his sense of honor is Deliberate Values Dissonance, however.
- How About a Smile?: Alienates his own family on his return after eight years campaigning because he has no idea who to treat them. Fortunately Vorenus realises how he's behaving, and is willing to take advice from Pullo on how to sweet-talk women.
- Hypocrite: He's aghast at the thought of crossing the Rubicon with Caesar, but proudly recounts how his father "rode with Sulla." Sulla was the general and dictator who launched a Military Coup a generation before exactly like Caesar had done, and unlike Caesar subjected Rome to a Reign of Terror. This is a subtle way of showing that Vorenus's constitutional conservatism is highly contextual.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As much of a screwup as he is as a father, he does love his children, and does have some of his own personal morals.
- Mr. Fanservice: He's rather handsome (at least by modern standards), and gets a fair amount of shirtless scenes - though not on the same level as Mark Antony.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After driving his wife to suicide and chasing his children away with hateful curses, he develops a Thousand-Yard Stare.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Because of his sense of loyalty.
- Naïve Newcomer: Vorenus's campaign as magistrate exposes him to the dirty dealings behind Rome's supposed to be sacred political institutions.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: As a traditionally minded Roman male, Vorenus refuses have sex with Cleopatra when ordered to do so. She takes offense so he sends in Pullo to placate her, who has no such scruples.
- Not So Above It All: Though rather than be above the silliness he started off above the corruption. Vorenus eventually goes from being a honorable soldier to the Godfather of Rome's criminal underworld.
- Odd Couple: With Pullo.
- Officer and a Gentleman: It's amazingly funny to compare that to the dirtbags he serves, who would screw Anything That Moves.
- Papa Wolf:
- Will go to any lengths to get his children back in Season 2. Unfortunately they never forgive him for having got them into that situation in the first place.
- When a drover's son appears to have impregnated Vorena the Elder (actually Niobe's child), he points out that this entitles him to legally slay the young man. Vorena pleads with him and he grudgingly concedes to their marriage.
- The Patriarch: Played for drama; under Roman law he has absolute authority over his family. He can legally kill his wife for infidelity regardless of the circumstances and her illegitimate son as well, and possibly even his own children for having assisted her in this deception.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: With Niobe. After a rocky start, they grow to love each other... or at least he does.
- Perpetual Frowner: Vorenus seems to frown even when he smiles.
- Pet the Dog: His treatment of Caesarion shows a soft side.
- Professional Killer: Erastes Fulmen hires him to be one, but Vorenus has trouble accepting it and quits. This is the origin of their conflict.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Delivers one to Cleopatra while making no attempt to disguise his disgust at the fact she induced Antony to commit suicide while dealing with Octavian behind his back.Cleopatra: I let you live because Antony was fond of you. Do not test me now!Vorenus: Kiss. My. ARSE!
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the blue to Titus's red in Season 1, but the roles appear to be reversed in Season 2.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: He was presumed dead during his eight-year campaign in Gaul.
- Returning War Vet: To his sorrow, he realizes violence is his only talent.
- Rock Bottom: Vorenus is disgraced after his failure to protect Caesar, but refuses to commit honorable suicide as he believes he deserves his torment after failing to protect his family as well. As it happens the death of Erastes Fulmen has thrown the city into chaos as rival gangs fight for supremacy, and Vorenus is just the man Marc Antony needs to fix the situation; disgraced, but still bound by oath to obey him. So he orders Vorenus to take Fulmen's place.
- Sanity Slippage: In the second season he is grappling with the dissolution of Rome, and of his family. He can't cope.
- 10-Minute Retirement - How many times has this man failed to stay away from politics?
- Undying Loyalty: To his legion, to his city, to his friends - to the death. Lampshaded:Octavian: That man turns 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 Mark Antony.
- Vorenus himself had this reaction when Pullo killed one of his slaves just because said 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.
- You, Get Me Coffee: The first time they are in Egypt, Vorenus has to remind Pullo to go form with the other soldiers. They are friends, but he still outranks him.
- You Owe Me: Antony demands loyalty until death from Vorenus in return for taking him back into the legions. He gets it, as Vorenus is the only man who stands with Antony until the end.
The other protagonist. Pullo is an impulsive, boisterous and wholly irreverent legionary in the 13th Legion serving under Vorenus, whom he befriends after going on a mission with him. The two then return to Vorenus' house in Rome as Heterosexual Life-Partners. Played by Ray Stevenson.
- The Alcoholic: Drinks heavily, at least early on in the series.
- Ascended Extra: The writings of Gaius Julius Caesar really do mention one 'Titus Pullo,' member of his legions. Although the historical Pullo was a centurion, not a foot soldier. The real Titus Pollo belonged to the 11th legion.
- Bash Brothers: With Vorenus.
- Battlecry: "Thirteenth!!!"
- Been There, Shaped History: It's even lampshaded in "How Titus Pullo brought down the Republic" where Pullo's gambling problem and murder of a conman culminated in an attempted revenge killing that kicked off Caesar's eventual return to Rome and him dissolving the Republic.
- Berserk Button: Insulting the 13th Legion.
- Blood Knight: He loves to fight, and he's good at it.
- Body Horror: Gets a skull fracture during a street brawl. The treatment of the time (centuries before the invention of anesthetic) ain't pretty.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Pullo is very rowdy, very loud and very deadly.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: He's like a combination of a teddy bear and a grizzly bear.
- Character Development: He Took a Level in Kindness after marrying Eirene.
- Chivalrous Pervert: With Eirene.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "I'm Titus fucking Pullo, cunt!"
- Cool Uncle: Takes on this role for the children after Vorenus leaves them in his care.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Kills Eirene's poor lover, who was very kind, polite, and respectful to him.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Pullo is a war rapist and multiple murderer but is presented as heroic because he is a loyal friend to Vorenus. Raping the enemy's women was completely normal behavior for Roman legionnaires.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Pullo is a brutish soldier and an occasional murderer-for-hire (though not without his better moments), but he honors his slave mother's memory.
- The Gambling Addict: Lampshaded by Vorenus in season two.
- Gladiator Games: Pullo is sentenced to fight and die in the arena. After being provoked he kills five of the gladiators instead in a Moment of Awesome.
- Happily Married: To Eirene. Even though he killed the man she loved in a fit of rage.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Vorenus.
- Heroic BSoD: Pullo has one towards the end of Season One when Vorenus rejects him.
- And another one following Eirene's death.
- Hot-Blooded: As an ill-fated suitor of Eirene discovers.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Octavian.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: With Gaia as they come close to a "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his extremely questionable morals and violent nature, he is very loyal and is very good with children. At least to children of his friends. He also acts as a mentor to Octavian, teaching him to behave more "like a man".
- Lovable Sex Maniac: He REALLY enjoys women.
- Love at First Sight: To Eirene.
- Male Frontal Nudity: In season two.
- Major Injury Underreaction: You done with flogging me? I was just beginning to enjoy it...
- Murder the Hypotenuse: He is only able to marry Eirene after he kills her betrothed. But she only begins to come around after seeing that he regrets it.
- Nominal Hero: An affable friend and ally who'd do anything for those he cares about. He's also capable of grotesque violence and murder without a second thought or a twinge of conscience. Lampshaded when Vorenus is asked to sum up his character.Cleopatra: Is he a good man?Vorenus: Define "good."
- Odd Couple: With Vorenus.
- Professional Killer: Becomes one when Vorenus throws him out of his home. It's a Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the red to Lucius's blue, at first. In the second season, the roles are surprisingly reversed.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Cicero attempts to buy Pullo when he is sent to assassinate him, but Pullo declines the offer and does the job, even though he admires the man and doesn't hide it.Cicero: I have a great deal of money. I don't suppose...Pullo: Sorry. Normally I'd be tempted, but you're far too important. Imagine the fuss! I get back and I haven't done my job!
- Undying Loyalty: To Vorenus. There's really nothing Pullo wouldn't do for him. His wife even lampshades it, complaining that he loves Vorenus more than he loves her.
- Unstoppable Rage: Once you get him angry you will regret it.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Pullo's gambling related troubles and antagonisms lead to a brawl in front of the Senate which begins to topple the Republic when it becomes a political incident. Later, he gets Cleopatra pregnant and that sets the stage for her downfall.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Gets drunk and doesn't remember that he left Eirene in a tavern until Vorenus asks where she is. After some searching they find the correct tavern and find her being held as collateral for an unpaid bar tab.
Niobe of the Voreni
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 off as her eldest daughter's when Vorenus returns home. Played by Indira Varma.
- Aloof Big Sister: To Lyde.
- Arranged Marriage: How happy is debatable.
- Cassandra Truth: She fears that their rapid social advancement will lead to the Fates punishing their family. She's right.
- Due to the Dead: Her children and sister bathe and dress her corpse, despite the fear that Vorenus will return and kill them also. A remorseful Vorenus does return and gives her a proper burial.
- Driven to Suicide: After Vorenus discovers her secret in the first season finale.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: She's usually at odds with her sister, not least due to having had an affair with her brother-in-law.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: She was told her husband was dead, but it veers into Bad Adultery territory when it's revealed Vorenus never died and the person she cheated on him and sired a child with was her sister's husband. The stress of the infidelity weighs heavily on both parties, and is a subject of scorn an hatred towards Niobe by those who know of the affair and a subject of ridicule towards Vorenus for being a cuckold.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Even makes them herself.
- Housewife: Not only because of her husband's traditional Roman values, but because she had to do so while he was away campaigning in Gaul.
- I Choose to Stay: When Erastes and his gang are coming to kill them, she sends her children away into the country but chooses to stay and share her husband's fate.
- Irony: Guess who ended going against that quote?
- Nouveau Riche: Downplayed; her friends think she's putting on airs while Niobe finds herself being patronized by the likes of Atia. She fears they are advancing too far too fast and it will all come crashing down.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Technically voluntary, although she would have been murdered by Vorenus or targeted by Erastes Fulmen anyway. Her death sets Vorenus' plotline for Season 2.
- Teen Pregnancy: Niobe was only 13 when she married and had children. This was the norm in Roman times.
- Your Cheating Heart: Believing Vorenus to be dead she slept with her sister's husband. Lucius was conceived from this encounter.
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.
- Beautiful Slave Girl: She's quite lovely, and Titus Pullo is immediately infatuated with her. However unlike what is usual for this trope she is not a Ms. Fanservice.
- Betty: To Gaia's Veronica.
- Cute Mute: She seems mute at first, but this is really just a combination of being The Quiet One and her limited knowledge of Latin.
- Death by Childbirth: Dies as a result of blood loss when she miscarries. Subverted though as it was a result of Gaia secretly giving her silphium which was a (now extinct) plant used to induce abortion back in ancient times.
- Distressed Damsel: How she is introduced. Pompey's men capture her for their own use, and Pullo frees her.
- Evil Tainted the Place: When Pullo is trying to support Vorenus through his Heroic BSoD after his family's death, Eirene wants to leave as if they make a child there it will grow up to be a monster. Vorenus keeping a severed and rotting head as a Creepy Souvenir does not help things.
- Kill the Cutie: Courtesy of Gaia.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Because of HBO's decision to cancel the show in the second season, the writing team had to compact the story lines planned for the second, third and fourth seasons into one in order to give the story some closure. This led to Eirene remaining pregnant during historical events that happened over the span of two whole years.
- A Match Made in Stockholm: To modern eyes her agreeing to marry the man who murdered her previous fiance. However from her point-of-view there are good reasons for this — Pullo is genuinely remorseful and smitten with her, and for all his faults is a powerful protector, allied to another man who is going up in the world.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: It's not until the very last episode she is in that her real name is revealed - Adela. In Real Life, the Romans used to give the slaves new names based on their perceived qualities. Eirene in particular is Greek for "peace".
- The Rival: To Gaia.
- Unequal Pairing: Pullo completely misunderstands their relationship at first. It's not a Rescue Romance — Eirene is grateful but only sleeps with Pullo because he's the friend of her master and she thinks she doesn't have any other choice. She's actually in love with another slave. Pullo buys her freedom and only then finds out she's intending to marry this man, whom he then beats to death in a jealous rage.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Her Germanic origins are not revealed until the last episode she's in.
- Widowed at the Wedding: Played with; on the day Pullo proposes to her, it's Vorenus who is widowed.
- You No Take Candle: Learns to speak Latin but not perfectly.
The Voreni Children
Vorena the Elder, Vorena the Younger and Lucius. All of them named after Lucius Vorenus.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Vorena the Elder, though she has better reasons than most for this trope.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Due to their poor relationship with their father, they (especially Vorena the Elder) tend to turn a blind eye to the numerous wrongs of their mother Niobe — namely, that she cheated on her husband with her sister's spouse and came up with a lie to cover the identity of the child she conceived from her infidelity, claiming little Lucius to be Vorena's child, which kicked off all their family drama in the first place. Vorena never complains that her mother sacrificed her honor to save her own, possibly because it was Niobe who raised them while Vorenus was off to war. They are also completely unwilling to accept that Vorenus didn't kill Niobe.
- Defiled Forever: Vorenus refuses to find a husband for elder Vorena, as he believes that anyone who would accept a former prostitute would not be worthy of her.
- Despair Event Horizon: Niobe's death, followed almost immediately by Erastes Fulmen taking and selling them as slaves.
- Family Theme Naming: As was custom at the time both of Vorenus' daughters were named for him (Vorena the Elder and Vorena the Younger). Baby Lucius has his grandfather's (actually stepfather's) first name and presumably cognomen as well.
- Hot-Blooded: Young Lucius is always eager for a fight.
- Like Father, Like Son: When elder Vorena refuses to forgive her father, she tells Pullo that it was her father who taught her to be so hard and uncompromising. Pullo can only agree.
- Made a Slave: By Erastes Fulmen.
- The Mole: Elder Vorena becomes one for Memmio to spite her father.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Because of HBO's screwing the second season. Otherwise the younger Voreni would have been recast at least once per season to account for the time passed.
- One Steve Limit: The Vorenas. This was very common back in Ancient Rome, women's name would be the feminine version of their father's.
- Parental Substitute:
- They hate their father for killing their mother(even though technically it was her own fault that she died) and causing their downfall, so look to Pullo as a family patriarch they can like and respect.
- When Vorenus returns home unexpectedly after everyone assumed he was dead, Vorena the Elder has to pretend that Niobe's child is hers. Fortunately there's a young man eager to marry her who is willing to take the risk that Vorenus will legally kill him for having defiled his daughter out of wedlock.
- The Quiet Ones: Only Vorena the Elder, played by British actress Coral Amiga, had real lines. The younger children were played by Italian actors that didn't know English.
- Sex Slave: Vorena the Elder in Season 2.
- Stepford Smiler: She pretends to love her father, but eventually the facade cracks.
- Taking the Veil: Vorena the Elder towards the end of the series, joining her aunt Lyde in the temple.
- This Is Unforgivable!: None of them forgive Vorenus for killing their mother, though it's implied they reconcile at the end.
Niobe's younger sister and barren wife to Greek fishmonger Evander. Played by Esther Hall.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Niobe.
- Despair Event Horizon: First is Evander's death, and then she and her nephew and nieces are made slaves.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Is (quite reasonably) upset with Niobe. To her credit, they eventually reconcile, as she tires of their conflict.
- In Vino Veritas: Seeing her husband playing with the child, she gets jealous and then drunk, threatening to tell Vorenus the truth. While Evander is trying to force her to leave, their struggle breaks a household idol, a sign of bad luck.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: She can't conceive. Her sister has an affair with her husband and ends up pregnant, giving birth to a son none the less.
- Made a Slave: By Erastes Fulmen.
- Sympathy for the Devil: She's the only one of Vorenus' family who has some sympathy for him and even defends him in front of his angry children, because she has been wronged by Niobe as much as Vorenus.
- Taking the Veil: Her way of coping with the tragedies she's suffered.
Lyde's husband, a Greek fish dealer. Pullo and Octavian kill him secretly to protect the Voreni honor.
Played by Enzo Cilenti.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: He's tortured for a long time before he dies, starting with his thumbs being cut off.
- Get It Over With: Faced with torture he immediately confesses to sleeping with Niobe and tells them to go ahead and kill him. Pullo is entirely willing to do so, but Octavian realises Pulchio is only saying this to avoid revealing something else under torture. Eventually he breaks and pleads with them to put him out of his misery.
- Infraction Distraction: He confesses to his affair with Niobe to protect his son. Unfortunately Octavian isn't fooled and insists that Pullo keep torturing him until he breaks.
- Never Found the Body: Because they threw his body in the sewer.
- Prepare to Die: Octavian advises him, unemotionally, that his choices are immediate death or slow, agonizing death.
- This Is Unforgivable!: By Roman standards, his crime is not only sleeping with another man's wife (which would expose Vorenus to ridicule) but getting her pregnant with his own child. When he finally admits this, an outraged Pullo murders him on the spot, which would actually be a mercy by that stage.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on his wife with his sister-in-law.
The famous Roman general and stateman turned dictator. Played by Ciarán Hinds.
- Accidental Hero: Saved Vorenus' family from when he came by to offer him a place as his candidate for magistrate.
- Affably Evil: His manipulative and ruthless moments are very easy to overlook thanks to his magnetic and soft-spoken charisma.
- Antagonist in Mourning: "HE WAS A CONSUL OF ROME!". Caesar when presented with Pompey's head
- Asskicking Equals Authority: One of the reasons why he rose to such power.
- Badass Cape: As per the uniform of a Roman general.
- Blood on the Debate Floor: His famous death.
- Chessmaster: Subverted; his Pragmatic Villainy and empathy cause him to spare the lives of his eventual assassins. Those who follow in his footsteps do not make the same mistake.
- The Chosen One: He gains this status by bribing the Corrupt Church.
- 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 several times 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.
- Establishing Character Moment: He privately mourns the death of his daughter, then says "Pompey will need a new wife". It shows his political mindedness and tendency to use people as pawns.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Might not have said the words, but his eyes told it anyway.
- Famous Last Words: "Get your hand off me."
- Fatal Flaw
- Father to His Men: Truth in Television. Caesar took great care of his soldiers and knew many of them by name. They followed him out of love, not duty.
- Four-Star Badass: One of history's most famous military commanders in fact.
- Like a Son to Me: Octavian. Brutus as well.
- The Man Behind the Man: When Pullo is captured after carrying out a contract killing for Erastes Fulmen, Caesar is suspected of being behind it because the man was a vocal opponent of Caesar and Pullo was a former member of his legion. It's eventually revealed that Caesar did in fact pay Erastes for the hit.
- Manly Tears: He cries while conducting Pompey's funeral.
- Necessary Evil:Posca: 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.
- Nice to the Waiter: He's friendly to his slave servants.
- Not So Stoic: Caesar often appears warm and genial but even that is just part of his image. He finally loses his cool when Vorenus informs him he refused to capture Pompey.
- Photo Op with the Dog: He's beloved by the people of Rome
- The Plan: To rule the Roman empire as Dictator.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Acts like one when the situation calls for it.
- Rousing Speech: Julius Caesar has to take his legion into Italy illegally. He uses a masterful Line in the Sand speech to make them follow him unanimously.
- Sleazy Politician: Nothing too bad, barely par for the course. Caesar liberally bribes, spins the truth and manipulates people on his way to the top. He's not above the occasional murder by contract of his political opponents either.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: To Ptolemy XIII in "Caesarion".
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Played with. Caesar becoming Dictator for Life is a nightmare for hard-line Republicans and the reason for his assassination, but the edict is greeted with indifference by ordinary citizens and the show itself doesn't paint Caesar in a bad, despotic light. The discussion whether he was a tyrant or not becomes a crucial point in the aftermath of his demise.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: How his actions are justified.
- You Should Know This Already: He's going to die.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on his wife with Servilia, and is so infatuated with his mistress that he stalls his war with Pompey. The affair only stops because it is publically revealed, and she threatens to divorce him. Later cheats again with Cleopatra.
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.
- 0% Approval Rating: Finds himself in this position when Marc Antony and Cleopatra cuts off the grain shipments. People blame Octavian because they can't believe their popular hero would turn against them. It takes all his political savvy to turn the populace against Antony.
- Bastard Boyfriend: He bluntly admits to Livia that he is going to hit her before they are married because that excites him sexually. He ends discovering that he is more excited if Livia hits him instead.
- Break the Cutie: It happens, but he becomes much stronger (and more ruthless) as a result.
- BrotherSister Incest: With Octavia.
- Brutal Honesty: One of his trademarks.
- The Chessmaster: Another of his trademarks. He is better at it than his famous uncle, especially because he NEVER lets his empathy to get in the way of his plans.
- Deadpan Snarker: Frequently engages in this, giving him some of the best one-liners on the show.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted when he becomes an adult in the second season, and regards Atia with contempt. But after everything she's done to him, it's completely understandable.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- While he is perfectly willing to kill innocent people, he does hate adultery as a deplorable vice.
- He's also loyal to his friends, probably because he doesn't make friends easily.
- Faux Affably EvilOctavian: I was all sweetness and light with her. Charm itself.Maecenas: Yes. That is your most disheartening manner.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: At the beginning of the show he is not technically a "nobody", as he is a member of the powerful Roman aristocracy. Still, he is only the youngest member of one of the families that are vying for power in the last days of the Roman Republic. At the end he has outwitted, outmanoeuvred or murdered all his opponents and has become the undisputed ruler of Rome. His triumphant smile during the final celebrations of his victories is chilling.Agrippa: He's a powerful man.Octavia: So everyone says, I cannot believe it — my little brother.Agrippa: Your little brother has an army ten thousand strong.
- Happily Arranged Marriage: Octavian and Livia seem to fit this trope, if a very twisted version of it.
- Historical Beauty Update: While Roman historians said he was handsome, the real Augustus was short, swarthy, and thin, had a few rotting teeth, and had a unibrow, according to Suetonius.'Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars: "[Augustus's] teeth were small, few, and decayed; his hair, light and rather curly; his eyebrows met above the nose; he had ears of moderate size, a nose projecting a little at the top and then bending inward, and a complexion intermediate between dark and fair. Julius Marathus, Augustus' freedman and recorder, makes his height 5 feet 7 inches; but this was an exaggeration, although, with body and limbs so beautifully proportioned, one did not realize how small a man he was, unless someone tall stood close to him."
- Info Dump: A great deal of Roman politics are revealed through Octavian.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Titus Pullo. An Odd Friendship too, since Pullo is impulsive and visceral, while Octavian is even more self-controlled and cerebral than Vorenus.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: With his wife Livia.
- Just the First Citizen: Justified for political reasons.Atia: My congratulations, you're good as king now.Octavian: Not king, merely First Citizen.
- Legacy Character: Sees himself as this after Caesar names him adoptive son and sole heir in his will.
- Lonely at the Top: Played with. His mother and sister pretty much hate him by the end of the series. He values his relationship with Pullo and Vorenus (especially the former) to a touching degree but it comes off as mostly one-sided. He does have a supportive wife and True Companions Maecenas and Agrippa by his side though.
- Love at First Sight: With Livia.
- Manipulative Bastard: One of the best of the series.
- Mistaken for Gay: He helps Posca take Caesar into a closet to attend him while Caesar is having a seizure so nobody else sees it. Later, Atia sees Octavian and Caesar getting out of the closet and thinks that her son and uncle are having an affair... and she is delighted with the idea since it could provide her with more power.
- No Sympathy: None towards anyone.
- Non-Action Guy: Octavian just isn't fit to be a warrior. So he manipulates the warrior-types into killing each other.
- The Patriarch: Turns into this when Caesar dies.
- The Plan: Very good at this.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Mark Antony's Red.
- Secret Keeper: After he discovers that Caesar has epilepsy.
- Sibling Theme Naming: His sister is named Octavia. This was common Roman custom, as seen in the Voreni example listed before.
- Smart People Play Chess: Octavian plays a chess-like game in his final scene.
- The Stoic: Rarely emotes and barely cracks a smile and talks in a complete monotone.
- Time-Shifted Actor: Max Pirkis played Octavian as a child but was too young to portray him as a man in his twenties so in season two he is replaced by Simon Woods.
- Took a Level in Badass: When he first makes his move into politics by borrowing against Julius Caesar's assets (which Antony is now using for himself) Antony is so furious he beats Octavian and they depart as enemies screaming abuse at each other. In Season 2, Octavian discovers that Antony's wife is cheating with one of his generals. He silences Atia with a single word, then when Antony goes to throttle him just looks him in the eye and dares him to do it, threatening to expose Antony to public ridicule if he doesn't leave Rome for Egypt. He then has his mother and sister placed under house arrest.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: By the time he returns to Rome as an adult, he appears to have transitioned into an unsympathetic villain.
- True Companions: With Maecenas and Agrippa.
- Underestimating Badassery: Though perhaps here better called 'Underestimating Magnificent Bastardry'. In particular, the entire second season consists of people dismissing Octavian as a threat because of his 'youth and inexperience' only to find themselves outmaneuvered, marginalized, and often dead.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Has an almost frightening grasp of political strategies.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Octavian's best tactic. He even uses this to become the first emperor.
- Young Conqueror: Though only because he's smart enough to recruit competent generals and leave the fighting to them.
- Young Future Famous People: At the start of the series.
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.
- Affably Evil: A hate-filled man of rapacious and self-aggrandizing instincts, but he's quite genial. His methods of intimidation, in particular, are always of the iron-fist-in-the-velvet-glove type.
- Anything That Moves: As he puts it, "I'm not rising from this bed until I've fucked someone." See the note for Really Gets Around.
- Arranged Marriage: Marries Octavia to secure a partnership with Octavian.
- Badass Boast: Mark Antony buggers boys like Octavian for his morning snack, meaningfully understates his masterful speech as "I got a bit carried away" and "has an angry mob that will roast and eat your 'men of quality' in the ashes of the Senate House!"
- Beard of Sorrow: Mark Antony grows a beard after Octavian crushes his rebellion. According to historical account, this actually happened.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With both Atia and Cleopatra.
- Berserk Button: Too many to count. Telling him that "A woman's role always suited you best" is probably the one to avoid.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Famously commits suicide rather than be killed by Octavian.
- Blood Knight: Lampshaded by Caesar in his first scene, when Brutus asks why he keeps such a vulgar man around. "He likes to fight."
- Bread And Circus: Trying to invoke a 0% Approval Rate, he cuts off grain shipments from Egypt to Rome for pragmatic reasons, knowing the common people will blame Octavian for the lack of food.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: When he puts his mind to it, he can be almost as cunning, charismatic, and dominating as the next man, but he usually doesn't bother to try, preferring to indulge in some vice or another.
- Byronic Hero: He has many admirable qualities — bravery, military skill, popularity and loves to party. Unfortunately he's also violent, fickle, selfish and loves to party.
- Chewing the Scenery: He has his moments. Consider the below example between himself and Cassius, having essentially ordered the latter and Brutus out of Rome.Cassius: [sneering] You may wish as you will. We yet have all the Senate behind us and all the men of quality. [Antony slowly walks over to him]Antony: And I have an angry mob, that will roast and EAT your "men of quality" IN THE ASHES OF THE SENATE HOUSE!
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Happens occasionally.
- Country Matters: Wholeheartedly embraces this trope, to the point that "Juno's cunt!" is his catchphrase.
- Da Chief: To Vorenus.
- Dead Guy on Display: Along with Cleopatra during the series finale.
- Deadpan Snarker: Antony can be very witty and flippant, and is fond of snide comments.
- Democracy Is Bad: Antony plays the elections card when negotiating the aftermath of Caesar's assassination. The conspirators are horrified as they would have to validate their taken for granted powers. They reach a compromise and no democracy is needed.
- Dissonant Serenity: During the Battle of Philippi, Octavian is peering into the dust kicked up by two virtually identical Roman armies slogging it out hand-to-hand.Octavian: What's going on?Antony: (casually munching on some bread) Noooo idea.
- The Dragon: To Caesar.
- Dying as Yourself: In Roman attire and by a proper Roman sword.
- Enemy Mine: Teams up with Octavian against the senatorial forces, despite the two loathing each other.
- Establishing Character Moment: Strolling into Caesar's tent covered in blood, bantering with Brutus, and then, when given a mission to accomplish on a strict budget, unabashedly stealing half the money anyway. One of his first outdoor activities has him fornicating with a peasant while his guards watch and his cohorts wait.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- As much of a depraved and horrid man he can be, he is blatantly disgusted with Atia for her selfish opportunism and her attempt to manipulate him into betraying Caesar and taking over Rome for her wishes. He scornfully calls her a "wicked old harpy" for this.
- When Cleopatra urges him to murder Atia and Octavia, he also refuses.
- Evil vs. Evil: His conflict against Octavian.
- Face Death with Dignity: "It's a good place to die at any rate. Could've been a ditch in Gaul. Men that knew Alexander ... once stood here."
- Four-Star Badass: The one thing he's good at is fighting. Unfortunately Octavian finds a better general.
- Going Native: In Egypt, with the pertinent debaucheries attached to the post. This is eventually used agains him.
- Guyliner: When he's in Egypt. This is presented as Excessive Evil Eyeshadow by the propagandists.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: As quite a few people find out the hard way.
- Handsome Lech: Good-looking, fit and unquestioningly virile.
- Hot-Blooded: See Shoot the Messenger.
- I Banged Your MomOctavian: I see you're still the same crude, arrogant lech you always were. (strides out)Antony: That's right, just the same. AND STILL FUCKING YOUR MOTHER!!
- Implied Death Threat: A Running Gag with the character.
- It Has Been an Honor: In a bittersweet touch, Antony is surprised when Vorenus says goodbye to him with those parting words.Antony Has it?
- Love Triangle: For all his infidelity, there is genuine love between him and Atia, and later Cleopatra. Unfortunately even Antony can't hold the affections of two determined and powerful women at the same time. He chooses Cleopatra over Atia (and his legal wife Octavia) giving Octavian the tool he needs to destroy his reputation.
- Male Frontal Nudity: A season one episode has Vorenus being summoned to speak to him while he (Antony) is being cleaned with oil, buck naked.
- Manipulative Bastard: While he usually prefers a blunt approach, he outmaneuvers everyone during the eulogies of Caesar and gets to control Rome in the aftermath.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Playful example with Caesar. Atia tries to turn Antony into The Starscream but it backfires for her when Antony realizes out loud "what a wicked old harpy you (Atia) really are".
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Twice; one in the Roman Senate and another in Egypt. He doesn't stop until the offender is dead.
- Not So Different: From Vorenus of all people, in Egypt they talk about their byronesque/doomed shared natureVorenus: You're no coward, but you do have a strong disease in your soul. It will eat away at you until you die [...] I recognize the symptoms, I have the same sickness.
- The Purge: After he makes peace with Octavian, Mark Antony hands him a loooooong list of Roman citizens he wants slaughtered. The next day he comes up with more names, as he's got so many enemies it takes a while to remember them all.
- Rated M for Manly: Fighting and fucking are the only things that really get him going. He finds politics and governing very boring, to his long-term detriment.
- Really Gets Around: Atia demands that when they marry he will get rid of all slaves (male and female) he has bedded.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Octavian's Blue. Which is funny considering when they reluctantly choose to have an alliance (what is to be the Second Triumvirate), Octavian wears the standard red-and-gold Roman armor while Mark Antony wears custom blue-and-white armor.
- Rousing Speech: Subverted for Antony's speech after Caesar's funeral (the one that became known as Shakespeare's famed, although entirely fictional, "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech). We see the results of his speech, and even have several characters describe what happened, but none of the actual speech is shown or heard.
- Shoot the Messenger: Or beat his brains out with the scroll he was reading from.
- Sleazy Politician: Makes no secret of it either.
- Slouch of Villainy: He's visibly bored and laid-back when he's presiding over senatorial sessions.
- Undying Loyalty: To Caesar. Antony gets furious when Atia suggests he switch to Pompeii's side when they think Caesar is going to lose. And he is even more furious when Caesar is murdered by Brutus and the others.
- The Starscream: When Caesar is trapped in Greece and wants his help, Antony is shown delaying his response. Fortunately Atia overplays her hand.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- The Un-Favourite: He led Caesar's armies, held Rome when he was away and became Consul in the Senate for Caesar. This counts for nothing and he is clearly hurt when he finds out that Caesar left everything to Octavian and nothing to him. The issue remains a sore point between him and Octavian.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Cuts off the grain supplies to Rome, but the people blame Octavian instead. Octavian has to engineer the circumstances that turn the people against him.
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinks: In Egypt. This being Rome, they are taken Up to Eleven.
- What You Are in the Dark: Caesar calls for his help while on the verge of defeat in Greece, at the same time he gets an offer of amnesty from Pompey. Antony delays his response until Atia's naked ambition snaps him out of it. Ironically he loses his entire legion in a storm, but that's the closest he ever comes to betraying Caesar.
- You Should Know This Already: Antony and Cleopatra hook up, but it doesn't end well.
Atia of the Julii
Caesar's niece 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 old enough to overrule her. Played by Polly Walker.
- Abusive Parent: Especially to Octavia, at first.
- Backhanded Compliment: Her habit of doing this is lampshaded by her daughter quite early in the series.
- 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!"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Mark Antony.
- 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 traveling 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 part 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. Plus, Octavian himself now seems to take a sadistic pleasure in making his mother quietly suffer, and will no doubt ensure she lives by the standards of a proper Roman matron (i.e. his rules) from now on.
- 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: Not that she doesn't know that Antony screws around, but goes into this mode whenever she thinks he might hook up with a serious rival for her affections.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: With Antony a few times.
- 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 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 if he doesn't go to a brothel and lose his virginity.
- Disproportionate Retribution: I don't like that Plebeian friend of my daughter. She's a bad influence. Let's have her entire family murdered, her house sacked and the poor girl gang raped.
- Establishing Character Moment: Parading around naked in front of her son.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Is utterly appalled by her son's actions throughout the series, ranging from having incest to disgracing Octavia and knowingly humiliating her in front of Mark Antony.
- Evil Is Petty: "And your [husband's] slaves, what a fuss [over you divorcing him]! I swear you must be feeding them too much!"
- Evil Matriarch: Atia is the epitome of this trope, at least according to modern values. When judged by Roman values, it is clear that her action, even the most ruthless ones, are done out of a genuine concern for her children's survival in the cut-throat world of ancient Roman politics.
- Evil Redhead: She has red hair.
- Faux Affably Evil: Atia can be incredibly charming and friendly to mortal enemies and people she is planning to torture and murder (namely Servilia). She can masterfully deliver lines such as "eat shit and die" in a pleasant manner, because to Atia, it would be a weakness to show anger in front of a foe. In private however, she is more passional and genuine.
- Femme Fatale: Has no problem using sex and emotional manipulation to get her way.
- 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.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Wears several of them.
- 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. Oh, and her enmity with Livia was invented by the series, too; by the time Octavian had met and married Livia, Atia had been dead for five years!
- It's All About Me: A Running Gag with the character. Antony turns up at her house having barely escaped assassination. First she's overjoyed her lover is alive, then moments later she's dropping snide comment about how he didn't stop Caesar's assassination despite being unarmed. She complaining about having to follow him Oop North where he can raise an army, but when Antony says she doesn't have to come she accuses him of intending to take one of his other girlfriends along.
- Jerkass: Albeit often played for Black Comedy.
- It's Personal: Her war with Servilia takes a nasty edge on finding that Servilia has seduced her daughter and tried to turn Octavia against her family.
- Karma Houdini: Has her ex-son-in-law murdered. Has a rich pleb girl's family killed and she gang-raped and reduced to poverty. She sort of gets her comeuppance when Octavian arranges from Antony to marry Octavia instead of her like she wanted.
- Lady Macbeth: Mostly to Mark Antony, but a rather ineffective one.
- Manipulative Bitch: Hands down one of the best.
- Mysterious Veil: Is implied to be the veiled woman who publicly humiliates Servilia with a Traumatic Haircut.
- My Beloved Smother: Towards both her children but fails to be this to Octavian once he's grown up.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When Atia realizes towards the end of the second season what a cold-hearted and cruel monster Octavian has become, she spends last episode reflecting on what a good honest boy he was when he was young. It finally sinks in to Atia that the manipulation and things she forced him to do throughout his life for her own selfish aims is what caused her son to become what he is now.Atia: He wasn't like that as child, he was good honest boy. I don't know what happened....I'm to blame probably.
- Obviously Evil: As nice as Polly Walker can be to the eyes, she plain looks evil when dressing as a Roman patrician woman.
- Pet the Dog: She does show genuine care for her children, even if she is always putting them in the middle of her petty schemes. She appears to be more sympathetic towards Octavia in the latter half of Season 2, during her Villainous Breakdown.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: A rare villainous example, but she does deliver one to Livia. Though by this time, Atia's status as a villain has decayed.
- 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: Leaving to the inevitable Break the Haughty.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The real-life Atia died only a year after her uncle, Julius Caesar.
- Stealth Insult: A Running Gag with the character, and lampshaded by her daughter. Atia can't seem to praise someone without putting them down in the same breath.Thank you, daughter. I really appreciate these little chats we have in between your drug binges.
- The Vamp: Seduces anyone she fancies.
- Virgin-Shaming: Atia firmly believes in this. Which is why she arranges for Octavian to visit a brothel, so that he can become a real man.
- Woman Scorned: She takes offense on Cleopatra for stealing Antony and pits Octavian against them (even more).
- Would Hurt a Child
- Sends her own child on a dangerous mission to Gaul, then threatens a minion that if he doesn't come back safely she'll use the eyes of his children for beads.
- She attacks Octavian after discovering he's had incest with his sister.
- You Just Told Me: By Atia to expose Octavia's relationship to Agrippa.
Octavia of the Julii
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.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: There's a scene where she masturbates in bed when she becomes attracted to Servilia. She tries "praying the gay away" the next morning.
- Arranged Marriage: Set up with Pompey and actually gone through with Antony.
- Bi the Way: With Servilia in season one.
- Big Sister Instinct: Most prominent when she rushes to comfort Octavian after he's choked by Antony, holding him while she screams at the older man and calls him an animal for his treatment of her brother. Sadly, it doesn't last, and by the end of the series she appears to despise him for his setting up of her and Atia to be humiliated by Antony.
- Butt-Monkey: of the Julii
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Atia hilariously sees her as this.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!
- Break the Cutie: Goes through one of the series' harshest, resulting in her becoming an apathetic Deadpan Snarker, no longer caring about politics or her family or even figuring out who fathered her daughter. Lampshaded by Atia:Atia: Have I changed at all, do you think, since he last saw me?Octavia: No. You're just exactly as you were. He'll fall into your arms in a delirium of love.Atia: Do you mean that?Octavia: No.Atia: You've become very mean, you know. Mean and bitter.
- BrotherSister Incest: Servilia encourages her to do this in order to get Octavian to reveal secrets about Caesar. She does sleep with him but he sees right through the ruse.
- Deadpan Snarker: Becomes one by the end of the series. It runs in the family.
- Family Theme Naming: As was custom at the time. She and her brother Octavian had a father named Octavian. In season two her daughter's name is Antonia (though it's unclear if Antony is the father, or if Agrippa is).
- Functional Addict: Smokes drugs (possibly hashish or opium) during one low point.
- Happily Married: To Glabius. Atia of course has them divorced and ultimately Glabius killed.
- Heroic BSoD: More than once.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Her baby either belongs to Mark Antony or Agrippa.
- Morality Pet: To Servilia, who refuses to let her hired assassin kill Octavia even after their relationship has felt apart. For Octavian in Season One, but subverted because in Season 2 she ends up just a pawn in his schemes.
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Her brother, her mother's rival, and her brother's general who is too loyal to him to lie about the affair.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Agrippa
- Taking the Veil: Attempts to do this partway through her Break the Cutie and fails when Octavian bribes the priests to send her back to her family.
- Token Good Team Mate: Though she becomes darker and more cynical as the show goes on.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Octavia turns out to be indirectly responsible for the deaths of Julius Caesar and Niobe. Seduced by Servilia, Octavia asks Octavian to tell her some secret that she can pass to Servilia and the Pompeiian camp (they, of course, expecting it to be about Caesar) but all Octavian tells her is Vorenus' wife's affair. Servilia initially dismisses this piece of information but it becomes useful when Vorenus becomes Caesar's glorified bodyguard, and is used to drive him away from Caesar so Brutus and co. can kill him, unleashing the whole second round of war and political assassinations. Meanwhile, Vorenus confronts Niobe and she kills herself out of honor. It only gets worse. With Caesar dead, Vorenus is also vulnerable and Erastes Fulmen goes to his house to kill him. However, since Vorenus is out to bury his wife, he only finds his children and sister-in-law there, and he enslaves them to get back at Vorenus.
Octavian's wife, a smart, no-nonsense young patrician girl who has no fear of challenging Atia. Played by Alice Henley.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Appears in public as the perfect wife of a consul. Atia quickly and accurately pegs her as a power-hungry rival no different than herself.
- Brainy Brunette: In public events and even private dinners she seems somewhat ditzy. In private she is as clever as Octavian, quickly deducing his real goals and is even amused by his exploitation of his mother.
- Evil Counterpart: To Octavia. To her family (and especially her mother), Octavia is little more than a tool that can be used to forge political alliances and gain more power. Livia also marries for power, like Octavia, but it's her who decides to do so, and her mother does not control her in the least. Once married, Octavia is submissive and lets her husband decide what to do with her, while Livia soon reins Octavian in.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Oh yes. Octavian warns her before their marriage that he will beat her for sexual pleasure. Turns out he gets even more turned on by her beating him.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Neither she nor Octavian are very nice, but they seem like a very good match. In real life, Livia and Octavian were seen as the model Roman couple.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She receives a brief but powerful one from Atia in the final scene, and you tell it hit the mark. See the Awesome page.
- The Rival: Takes Servilia's place as Atia's. It's a pity the series was cancelled early.
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.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Calpurnia is seen last in the season 2 premiere.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Dreams of a flock of crows that form the shape of a skull. Caesar dismisses the omen, saying he's been having dreams like that for years.
- Honor Before Reason: Will not leave Rome until Caesar's will has been read even as people could very well be looking to kill her. Ironically the will turns out to be more important than everyone thinks.
- I Choose to Stay: Antony is entirely willing to force her to come with them, because it will look bad politically if he flees Rome but leaves Caesar's wife behind. Ironically Antony ends up staying anyway when Octavian explains why the smarter move would be to stay put and Atia backs him up.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Is the perfect Stay in the Kitchen wife of traditional Roman values. However when she puts her foot down, even Caesar and Antony have to go along.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: She senses danger as the Ides drew near. Her husband brushes off her warning.
- Spiteful Spit: Calpurnia spits at Servilia's face, twice, when they finally meet.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: When his affair becomes a public scandal she demands her husband divorce her or give up his mistress. Because it would be politically disastrous to get a divorce at that stage, Caesar violently drives away Servilia, causing her to turn against him in hate.
An old, wise and educated Greek slave owned by Caesar, who he tutored when he was young. Nowadays he acts as his personal manservant, counselor and confident. He is free to speak his mind, which includes a lot of snark. Played by Nicholas Woodeson.
- Almighty Janitor: To Caesar.
- The Consigliere: Continues to play this role to Antony even after Caesar dies and frees him in his will. He even tries to educate Vorenus in the political game.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: As a freeman he quickly enriches himself selling political favors, though he's forced to leave his wealth behind when fleeing Egypt. However he puts himself in a position where Octavian owes him a huge political favor, so there's no doubt he'll soon get back on his feet.
- Happiness in Slavery: In fairness he is a very well cared for slave. After Caesar is assassinated he sheds Manly Tears over his corpse, and risks his life taking the body to his widow's house.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Acts as Rome's de facto executive power under Antony, who is bored by most of the things related to statemanship.
- Non-Action Guy: As he puts it, it's not that he's a coward — if he died, who would look after his wife?
- Odd Friendship: Although they are two very different people, he develops a respect for the honest-to-a-fault Vorenus and urges him to flee Egypt as well. Vorenus refuses, but lets Posca and his wife get away when he could easily have stopped them, and even lies to his commander Marc Antony about their whereabouts.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Somewhat unexpectedly with Jocasta. Triples as Ugly Guy, Hot Wife and MayDecember Romance.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: When Atia and Octavia briefly show up in Egypt, he and Jocasta take the chance to quietly slip away to their boat and safely escape back home to Rome.
- Secret Keeper: To Caesar. More importantly plotwise, to Marc Antony. When fleeing Egypt, Posca brings the last will and testament of Antony and Cleopatra, a politically explosive document that turns Rome against them.
- Servile Snarker: So very much.
- The Dog Bites Back: Unlike Ceaser, Antony is particularly cruel to Posca when Posca achieves his freedom. Even though he relies on his administrative knowledge to run his portion of the empire. Tiring of Antony's moods. Posca steals his will and shares it with Octavian.
- Undying Loyalty: Just one word - "Domine!". But only to Caesar, as it turns out. Once a freeman, Posca eventually betrays Antony when he realises he can't win.
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.
- Anguished Declaration of LoveAgrippa: I know you are kind, and full-hearted, and beautiful, and I would tear down the sky for you if you asked me to.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Agrippa is one of the kindest, most decent characters in the show. However, he's also the military powerhouse that paves the way for Octavian's victory.
- Foil: Agrippa and Brutus are forgiven for a past betrayal but Agrippa refuses to betray Octavian a second time, unlike Brutus did with Caesar.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: In the only area that Octavian falls short - military skill.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Portrayed as more innocent and honest in comparison to his more corrupt and cynical friends.
- Love at First Sight: Falls in love with Octavia on seeing her playing a Harp of Femininity.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest characters within the series. He detests unnecessary violence such as Antony's purge of senatorial enemies. He also instantly admits to having an affair with Octavian's sister once Octavian calls him out on it, and then promptly apologizes for doing so.
- Nouveau Riche: Wasn't born into money which is a source of insecurity for him.
- Number Two: To Octavian.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: with Octavia
- True Companions: With Octavian and Maecenas.
- Undying Loyalty: to Octavian.
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 rhetoric and his own personal goals beyond those of Octavian. Played by Alex Wyndham.
- Anything That Moves: He was bisexual in real life and is implied to be fitting this trope very well in the series, though we never actually see him in bed with anyone.
- Bishōnen: Fits the trope to a T.
- Non-Action Guy: While Agrippa leads Octavian's armies in the field, Maecenas fights Octavian's battles on a different scene. Basically he runs the whole PR machine.
- Sleazy Politician: Takes full part in Octavian's corrupt schemes.
- The Smart Guy: Can hold his own against Octavian.
- Token Evil Teammate: Is the least morally scrupulous of the three. He also organizes a robbery which goes wrong when Mimeo keeps the gold.
- True Companions: With Agrippa and Octavian.
Head slave of the Julii Household. Played by Manfredi Aliquo.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Grovels for mercy after he inadvertently lets a would-be assassin into the house, and only escapes gelding because Atia believes that eunuchs are not fashionable at the moment.
- Percussive Therapy: Atia is shown whipping him, not apparently because he's done anything wrong, but just to let off some steam.
- Suddenly Sexuality: He is suddenly revealed to be homosexual and likes young boys. This is a plot point in the series when an assassin infiltrates the household by agreeing to be his Sex Slave.
- Undying Loyalty: Though he's never actually put to the test, so he could have just been diplomatic.Atia: And then you must kill yourself. Your survival would be most unsavory.Castor: I would not dream of living, domina.
An old female slave to the Julii, working mostly as a handmaiden to Atia. Played by Lydia Biondi.
- Evil Old Folks: In an unquestioning servant of her mistress' schemes.
- Happiness in Slavery: Very devoted to Atia.
- Ninja Maid: When Antony strikes her mistress, she quickly pulls a knife on him. Antony is naked and unarmed, so doesn't dispute the point.
- Undying Loyalty: Would kill (and die) for her mistress.
The first husband of Octavia. Played by Roberto Purvis.
- Buy Them Off: Tries to do this to Timon, who unfortunately is more loyal to Atia.
- Happily Married: To Octavia, until Atia forces a divorce on them so her daughter free to marry Pompeii. It's All for Nothing as Pompey was never interested in going through with it, marrying the daughter of a senator opposed to Caesar instead.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Even after Pompey marries, Atia refuses to allow Octavia to go back to Glabius, so her daughter will be free to marry someone else. When she discovers that her daughter is secretly visiting Glabius, she sends Timon to murder him.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Or rather a random act of violence during a time of Civil War.
- Pet the Dog: Asks for his slaves to be spared, but his killer has orders to Leave No Witnesses.
Daughter of Caesar and the previous wife of Pompey.
- Death by Childbirth
- Morality Chain: Julia was the only who could keep the peace between father and her husband. Everything falls apart after she dies. This is Truth in Television.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Though she and Pompey married as an alliance between Caesar and Pompey, they eventually fell in love or at least grew to care for each other.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Julia's death accelerates the decay of Caesar and Pompeii's friendship.
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.
- A Father to His Men: Invokes this while on the march to Philippi; while Cassius spends his time reading supply reports and complaining about the situation, Brutus prefers to while away the march talking and getting friendly with the soldiers.Brutus: [regarding soldiers] They're not such a bad lot, once you get to know them.
- The Alcoholic: Hits the jar in the second season.
- Compelling Voice: When he wanted to be, he was one hell of an orator. Must have learned from Cicero.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Starts off ignorant and uninterested in politics but when pushed too far he proves himself to be handy with a knife and capable of leading an army into battle.
- Culture Clash: While trying to recruit men for a campaign against Octavian he uses the fact that he was the man that gave the last stab that killed Caesar as a Badass Boast in order to impress some Anatolian princes and make them agree to provide his army. They are disgusted instead, finding that killing an already injured man that can't defend himself is cowardly and shameful.
- Deadpan Snarker: One of his trademarks.
- Defiant to the End: Brutus faces off by himself against an advancing army. He is overwhelmed but nowhere does he show fear.
- Did Not Think This Through: Brutus and the other conspirators were appointed by Caesar, but presenting him as a tyrant and his murder as a tyrannicide would make all his edicts and appointments null and void, and the conspirators would lose all their power. Brutus is thus unable to justify Caesar's death to the people so they turn against him.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: After telling some Asian nobles of him dealing the death blow against Caesar, expecting to be hailed as a hero against tyranny, he is promptly laughed at by the nobles and labeled a coward for killing a man who was already fatally wounded.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He was the perpetrator of this trope towards Caesar, though the line is never used (except by him towards his own mother).
- Face Death with Dignity: Also a Dying Moment of Awesome and an Ironic Echo to how Caesar died.
- Family Business: Reluctantly enters politics, which has been the playfield of the Junii for the last 500 years.
- Foil: Brutus loves Caesar but hates his politics.
- Generation Xerox: His ancestor established the Roman republic after killing Rome's tyrannical king. For this reason his mother and the other conspirators are pressuring him to turn against Caesar, in order to present his death as the overthrow of a tyrant. Brutus resists for a while but Caesar too is nervous about his past and tries to have him sent elsewhere — it proves the final straw.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cassius.
- Honor Before Reason: Forcibly rejects the idea of poisoning Caesar and orders that Marc Antony not be killed (though the conspirators try behind his back). When Antony turns up at his house to arrange a truce and everyone else argues that it would be safer to kill him on the spot, he refuses to violate Sacred Hospitality.
- Ignored Epiphany: Sort of. In late season one he feels betrayed by Caesar and gives in to his mother, going along with the plot to kill the dictator. He goes through with it, but then Antony comes in and they share a look where Brutus' guilt is written all over his face. He then cries out in agony over what he's done. However he seems to get over it rather fast, and stays allied to Cassius to the very end.
- Ironic Echo: "You too, Mother?" when Servilia suggests he should join Pompey's side. In the same scene he explains to his mother that Caesar may take Rome but eventually some ambitious man would kill him...
- It Has Been an Honor: Invokes this when addressing the survivors of his army after his defeat at the Battle of Philippi, before telling them to save themselves.Brutus: It has been an honour and a privilege leading you, and I am sorry we could not do better.
- Karmic Death: At Philippi, he is surrounded by a regiment of Caesar's veterans and stabbed to death in a manner deliberately reminiscent of the assassination.
- Male Frontal Nudity: Hilariously became much more popular with the fanbase after he took a naked swim in season two.
- Momma's Boy: Is devastated by Servilia's rejection of him after he returns to Rome and refuses to go along with her schemes.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His desperation after Caesar's assassination is downright heartbreaking.
- Outdamned Spot: His hands shake as he's trying to wash them clean after killing Caesar.
- Parental Substitute: Openly states to Caesar that he regards him as his father.
- Never Found the Body: Brutus's body lay among other soldiers. The only thing that indicates his identity is his ring but that gets stolen by a scavenger.
- Right Behind Me: Happens to him in "Pharsalus" while insulting Pompey. He doesn't mind.
- Rich Idiotwith No Day Job: Is shown at the start of the series as having little understanding or interest in politics.
- Tragic Hero: Is basically used as a pawn by his own mother, whose true motive is not preventing a tyranny but avenging her own rejection by Caesar.
- Unwitting Pawn: In his introductory scene, Caesar is using him to convey false information to Pompey that his legions are on the verge of mutiny, so as to appear weak and provoke the Pompey faction into striking first.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Towards both Caesar and his mother.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Rejects safer alternatives to killing Caesar like poison or attacking him in his sleep, because such a tyrannicide is not just a common murder but an honorable act.
Servilia of the Junii
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.
- Antagonist in Mourning: If you look closely, when her son informs her that Caesar is dead she sheds a Single Tear. She then turns up in Widow's Weeds to view his body, despite being spat on by his widow. When she views the body however, her expression is carefully masked so we don't know if she's happy or regretful.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Plays the poor victim very well but often is just as vicious and manipulative as her enemies.
- Bi the Way: With Octavia.
- Composite Character: Takes traits from Porcia Catonis, Brutus' wife who is omitted in the show.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Is subjected to this at the hands of Atia.
- Curse: Throws a bunch at Caesar and Atia.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Caesar ends his relationship with her for political reasons, brutally striking her when she protests his motives. In payback she does everything she can to engineer the death of the ruler of the entire Roman Empire, plunging it into Civil War. Despite her claims to be stopping a would-be tyrant, she's entirely motivated by personal vengeance.
- Driven to Suicide: As a Thanatos Gambit.
- Dying Curse: Throws it to Atia during her last rant.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: As Antony puts it, now THAT's an exit.
- Evil vs. Evil: Her conflict with Atia.
- Hypocrite: She refuses to leave Rome with her son Brutus, knowing that Caesar is returning to her as well. However when Brutus returns to Rome having accepted Caesar's pardon, she treats him with contempt because she now hates Caesar.
- Love Ruins the Realm: Caesar delays crushing Pompey's forces to dally in Rome with her. Atia gets wind of this and has her minions start a campaign of obscene graffiti mocking their relationship, forcing Caesar to break up with her and setting the tragic events in motion.
- Manipulative Bitch: Though not quite on par with Atia.
- The Mistress: To Caesar.
- My Beloved Smother: To Brutus.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Much like Atia. At least the historical character was really involved in Caesar's murder, if only incidentally.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Her schemes cause the death of her own son, and only ensure that worse tyrants than Caesar come to rule.
- The Rival: To Ati
- Smug Snake: Engages in Evil Gloating to Atia by personally informing her of Caesar's death.
- Thanatos Gambit / Taking You with Me: Certainly thought she was pulling one, as she killed herself as a human sacrifice to curse Atia. And Atia's fortunes do take a nosedive after that...
- Traumatic Haircut / Shameful Strip: She's attacked on the street by Timeon's thugs and stripped naked, while a veiled figure (likely Atia herself) cuts off her hair, in retaliation for getting Octavia to seduce Octavian.
- Villainous BSoD: Following Brutus' death.
- Wicked Witch: She certainly knows creepy rituals, but has no magic powers at all. Or does she?
- Woman Scorned: SO very much. Just read that quote.
- Worthy Opponent: Atia's final words on the series acknowledge her as this.
Cato the Younger
A stubborn, staunch traditionalist senator and defender of the Republic, and as a result, a declared enemy of Caesar. Also half-brother to Servilia and uncle to Brutus. Played by Karl Johnson.
- Age Lift: The Real Life Cato was actually younger than Caesar.
- Commander Contrarian: Makes a career out of it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Just see his quote above!
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: We must save the Republic by making sure those dirty plebs don't get their hands on the government!
- Democracy Is Bad: One of his biggest problems with Caesar.
- Driven to Suicide: Stabs himself with a bread knife.
- The Eeyore: You can always count on Cato to speak negatively, especially when matters are at their worst. He made this clear to Scipio as a short Shut Up, Kirk! speech.Scipio: Cheer up, we live. We live and where there's life, there's hope.Cato: I'm afraid if we've done anything old friend, we've disproved that proverb.
- Grumpy Old Man: Often shown through snark.
- Heroic BSoD: After losing the Battle of Thapsus, he kills himself as he no longer believes that victory is possible, yet is unwilling to submit to Caesar.
- Limited Wardrobe: Stands out among the Senate by wearing always a simple black toga. The only time he averts this is when putting on armour.
- Poisonous Friend: Cato constantly gives Pompey bad advice.
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Another fellow senator and close friend of Brutus. He masterminds Caesar's assassination.
Played by Guy Henry.
- Cassandra Truth: Warns Brutus that Antony is too dangerous to live and must be killed regardless of honor. Brutus refuses to listen and Antony soon rouses the people against them, then defeats their forces in the subsequent Civil War.
- 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. With Caesar promoting commoners and foreigners so as to load the Senate with his own lackeys, he believes the patrician class will soon be powerless.
A slave property of Servilia. Played by Suzanne Bertish.
- Happiness in Slavery: To Servilia, willingly assisting her in her vendetta against Caesar.
- Shipper on Deck: Assures Servilia that Caesar truly loves her until he demonstrates otherwise.
- Together in Death: After his mistress kills herself as a human sacrifice, she willingly follows suit.
- Undying Loyalty: To the point of committing suicide after her mistress does.
Once a mighty conqueror and hero of the Republic, Pompey is a jaded Consul of Rome, living mostly on 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.
- Always Someone Better: Is actually a great general in his own right but ultimately can't hold a candle to Caesar. This bothers him a lot.
- Arranged Marriage: His marriage to Julia, daughter of Caesar, is specifically pointed as the only thing that makes the two get along. Her Death by Childbirth sets the show in motion. Later, an attempt to solve their conflict by making him marry Octavia falls through.
- The Chains of Commanding: After a slave brings Pompey a message that Caesar has rejected his terms, he's faced with a decision: should he fight or flee? Pompey then talks of how envious he is of the slave, who has all his decisions made for him.
- Combat Pragmatist: Pompeii could have beaten Caesar had he stuck to his original strategy of waiting him out until Caesar's army runs out of supplies. Instead, he is convinced to attack him head-on.
- Decapitation Presentation: Gets his head on a plate offered to Caesar by the Egyptians, who wish to ingratiate themselves with him. He is supremely pissed.
- Dirty Old Man: The marriage was cancelled, but he made use of his "rights" with Octavia anyway. He's also shown leering at a rather lewd stage play.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He gets offed by a former soldier of his, now working as a mercenary for the Egyptians.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Pompeii is stabbed and decapitated in front of his family.
- Glory Days: Clings to his.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He is jealous of Caesar for "stealing the love of the people" from him.
- Heroic BSoD: After losing the Battle of Pharsalus.
- Humiliation Conga: After losing at Pharsalus the Senate insist on traveling separately to Egypt, his soldiers desert him and he's forced to rely on a Greek guide who tries to sell him out. Fortunately Vorenus is an Honor Before Reason type, and seeing Pompey is a beaten man he elects not to turn him in. Pompey then escapes to Greece only to be killed by a former comrade-in-arms.
- King Incognito: After losing the Battle of Pharsalus, he escapes disguised as a Greek trader.
- The Magnificent: The last part of his name means "the Great."
- My Way or the Highway: Tells Cisero to either give him the support of the moderate senators, or he'll pack up his legions and sail for Spain, leaving them at the mercy of Caesar.
- Retired Badass: More or less. He hasn't retired everything but he's no longer leading armies at the start. That changes.
- Undignified Death: Pompeii's head is made a toy.
- Underestimating Badassery: Caesar thinks he's past it, but Pompeii shows he's still got a few tricks up his sleeve and comes close to defeating Caesar in Greece. Unfortunately his strategic skill isn't as good as Caesar's tactical skill on the battlefield.
- You Should Know This Already: Nah, he doesn't manage to defeat Caesar.
Quintus Valerius Pompey
Pompey's son and a military leader in the Senate faction.
Played by Rick Warden.s
- Composite Character: He is loosely based on Pompey's two historical sons, Gnaeus Pompey the Younger and Sextus Pompey.
- Deadly Hug: After seeing Brutus publicly embrace Antony, he's confused when Antony makes a show of approaching him also with hand outstretched in friendship. Until Antony cuts his throat with the knife hidden in his other hand.
- The Dragon: To his father, who sends him to recover the missing Treasury gold. Unfortunately his hired thugs are less than reliable and he gets captured by Pullo and Vorenus.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Becomes one after his father's death and defeat. He quickly bounces back after Servilia takes him into her household and makes him her ally.
- Heroic Second Wind: Turns up starving, drunk and distraught outside Brutus' house Seeking Sanctuary, and when the servants throw him out starts shouting loudly at the man he thinks is inside for making peace with Caesar. Inside is Servilia, also at her lowest ebb after having been humiliated by Atia's thugs. She's about to order he be sent away when she listens to what Quintus is shouting and realises that here is someone who hates Caesar as much as she does. When Brutus comes home he finds a smug Quintus in residence, freshly bathed, fed, and an eager participant in his mother's schemes.
- In-Series Nickname: "Neptune's Scourge".
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After he's captured instead of holding Quintus as a hostage against his father, Caesar has him released as a sign of magnanimity. Antony is so aghast he's reprimanded by Caesar for insubordination. He becomes one of the key conspirators in Caesar's assassination.
- Overzealous Underling: Or at least he's passed off at this after attempting to kill Marc Antony. No-one is fooled, least of all Antony.
- Refuge in Audacity: In revenge for Caesar's death and an earlier attempt on his life, Antony calmly walks up to him on the street and cuts his throat, leaving his thugs gaping in confusion.
- Token Evil Teammate: Has none of the moral qualms of Brutus, and tries to assassinate Marc Antony against his direct orders.
- Torture Technician: Serves as this for his father.
Scipio's daughter and Pompey's second wife.
A ruthless businessman who controls Rome's most powerful criminal gang, the Aventine, under a pretense of legality.
Played by Lorcan Cranitch.
- All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks: Though he refuses to extend credit to Vorenus, citing this trope, he has no issue with using him as a paid enforcer to collect his own debts.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Erastes turns up with his gang at Vorenus' house to murder him, only to find Caesar's personal guard standing outside. He beats a hasty retreat. Unfortunately he doesn't forget his grudge and returns to the house after hearing of Caesar's death.
- Bad Boss: Erastes is furious that Vorenus slapped his man, because only he is allowed to chastise his own men, which he promptly demonstrates by breaking a vase over the man's head.
- Decapitation Presentation: An enraged Vorenus chops off his head and keeps it as a trophy.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Vorenus slaps one of his men, so he demands Vorenus publically submit to him or he will kill him, rape his wife and daughters, and burn down his house. He's unable to carry out his threat, but after Caesar's death he returns to Vorenus home to get revenge, only to find his family there unprotected. Erastes has them sold into slavery.
- The Don: Rules the Aventine collegium in Season One.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Erastes threatens to disjoint any of his men who take part in the anarchy after Caesar's death, as it's supposed to be a time of mourning for a consul of Rome. He delivers this threat while in a room full of his men drinking and whoring."We observe the fucking decencies!"
- Face Death with Dignity: Even after seeing how Vorenus and Pullo have massacred all his men, Erastes doesn't lose control to his fear. He takes a drink, taunts Vorenus over the death of his children, then calmly closes his eyes for the death blow.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's introduced as the guest of honor at Vorenus' feast to ensure a successful business, and keeps up the facade of a successful local businessman until he orders Vorenus to break a man's hand and then cut his throat. Vorenus walks out on his, which Erastes takes as an insult to his authority.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Assumes the grim, stoic Vorenus will make a useful enforcer, not understanding his pride and honor. He then underestimates just how dangerous Vorenus and Pullo are. Vorenus in turn thinks Erastes is just a successful businessman who wants a bodyguard, until he's asked to torture and kill a man.
- Ironic Name: 'Erastes' means 'lover' in Ancient Greek.
- I Shall Taunt You: Realising he's about to die, Vorenus claims to have raped and murdered Vorenus' children. Vorenus cuts his head off on the spot, which was likely what he intended; better a quick execution than being tortured to death. It's also a final act of spite, as we later discover the children have been Made a Slave.
- Kneel Before Zod: Erastes orders Vorenus to kill a debtor who refuses to pay up. Vorenus refuses and leaves his organisation, which Erastes takes as an insult. When Vorenus stops his thugs from killing an indebted man in front of his shop (not for just killing him, mind you), Erastes demands Vorenus make a public apology and kiss his feet in public. If Vorenus refuses he'll be killed, but not before seeing his wife and daughters raped and his house burnt to the ground.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: At Vorenus' feast upon opening his business, Niobe introduces him as the guest of honor, a businessman involved in olives, building, and fire insurance.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Fulmen hates slaves and foreigners.
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.
- Action Girl: Can certainly hold her own in a fight and takes part in a mob war.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tries it with Vorenus, and after not getting a response, with Pullo with more success.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: In a Dramatic Irony she's fatally stabbed after saving Pullo's life, only to be strangled by him on her deathbed.
- Deathbed Confession: After being wounded in battle, she confesses to Pullo that it was her who murdered Eirene. Pullo suffocates her and throws her body in the river. To the Ancient Romans, this was a way of damning someone. Without proper funeral rites, their soul would be unable to enter the underworld and they would be stuck in limbo for all eternity.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She genuinely loves Pullo, and her Deathbed Confession is motivated as much by guilt over how she's wronged him, as fear of retribution from the gods.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: She kills the heavily pregnant Eirene by putting an abortive solution in her tea and replaces her in Pullo's bed.
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: What happens when Pullo tries to 'punish' her.
- Quit Your Whining: To Pullo on her deathbed.
- The Rival: To Eirene.
- Veronica: To Eirene's Betty.
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.
- And Zoidberg: Vorenus makes him third-in-command beneath Pullo, much to his annoyance as Mascius used to outrank him."Oh I get it, third fucking man and all that!"
- Bash Brothers: Read the quote.
- Don't Tell Mama: He asks Vorenus not to tell his family what he does for a living.
- Every Man Has His Price: So he will convince Caesar's veterans to accept land in a faraway province, Vorenus offers him a bribe. He refuses at first, but when Vorenus makes it clear it's An Offer You Can't Refuse he folds. Caesar is surprised he sold out so cheaply.
- The Gambling Addict: He was given land after leaving the army like all retired soldiers, but lost it gambling.
- No Respect Guy: Is loyal to Pullo and Vorenus but his needs always play second fiddle to their relationship. He ends the series a cripple, though still a member of their gang and the leader when Pullo and Vorenus are away.
- Old Friend: To Pullo and Vorenus.
- Rock Bottom: Becoming an underworld enforcer is an improvement for him, after losing his land to his gambling.Vorenus: This isn't the army, brother. We here — we're pimps, knifemen, thieves. You sure you're sunk so low?Mascius: I walked here from Capua. I slept in ditches. And when I get here, they say a black-hearted villain has taken over the Aventine college. He's in league with the gods below, they say. And his name is Lucius Vorenus. Well I thought to myself, "Mascius, old boy, your luck has changed.".
- Undying Loyalty: To Vorenus and Pullo.
- Wrongly Accused: After the Aventine's secretive and illegal transport of gold for the Triumvirs goes awry and the gold is taken, the conclusion is that an inside man must have revealed knowledge of the mission, and both Vorenus and Pullo accuse Mascius who was in charge of said operation. He was innocent and was almost killed for it.
Captain of the Caelians gang and uneasy ally to Vorenus. Played by Daniel Cerqueira.
- Beard of Barbarism: After being locked in a cage and starved.
- The Dog Bites Back: He eventually escapes his cage and would have succeeded in killing Pullo if it weren't for Gaia.
- Humiliation Conga: Pullo bites off his tongue, keeps him in a cage and feeds him on scraps as a message for others.
- Manipulative Bastard: Memmio has his man seduce elder Vorena, then he "discovers" them together and convinces her to spy on Vorenus for him.
- Smug Snake: Up to the moment he loses his tongue.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Erastes Fulmen.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
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.
- Arch-Enemy: To Mark Antony.
- Compelling Voice: The orator of the ancient world, and arguably one of the greatest public speakers who has ever lived.
- Cowardly Lion: He's a Non-Action Guy and not physically brave, but in the end he stands up to Antony and faces his death with dignity.
- Deadpan Snarker: Up to Eleven in the series.
- Face Death with Dignity: Very much so and without a doubt. Arguably the most dignified death in the series.
- Foreshadowing: Mark Antony threatens to have his hands cut off and nailed to the Senate's doors. Guess what happens years later.
- Only Sane Man: A rare moderate and reasonable figure most of the time.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Not through sycophancy but as a survival tactic.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: One of the great masters of this trope. The one that he gives Mark Antony is an epic Take That! and quite possibly one of his biggest moments.
- Shoo the Dog: To his slaves the day of his own murder, so they won't be hurt.
- Sleazy Politician: He turns up to praise the conspirators for killing Caesar, claiming that they should have allowed him to join. Brutus politely implies that he might have sung a different tune if they had. Then Cicero discovers that Marc Antony is still alive and suddenly realises he has urgent business in the country. After praising them a final time, he goes to leave and bumps into Antony who has turned up to discuss a truce. Everyone enjoys his discomfiture.
- Smug Snake: As leader of the Senate, he overstimates his power and grossly underestimates Octavian's. He's also disdainful towards Antony and Caesar, but often only behind their backs. He's also rather weaselly, goading Pompey and Brutus into actions he would never have the courage to do himself.
- Worthy Opponent: Caesar respects him, but the feeling is not mutual.
A prominent general in the senate faction and member of the famous Scipio family. He becomes Pompey's father-in-law in the first episode. Played by Paul Jesson.
A young Plebeian woman, daughter of a rich merchant and close friend of Octavia. Played by Camilla Rutherford.
- Brainless Beauty: Comes off as rather ditzy most of the time.
- Defiled Forever: States this after her rape, and she's forced to marry lower-class Posca as a result. However she bounces back remarkably.
- Fallen Princess: Jocasta's parents are killed and their money stolen.
- Functional Addict: Smokes opium.
- Going Native: After moving to Egypt she adopt the local dress and comes to like it.
- Nouveau Riche: Why Atia hates her. She loses her families wealth in The Purge yet thanks to her husband's gift for corrupt deals she quickly has a lot of money to spend.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: To Posca, once he's gained liberty. She weeps on her wedding day but by the next episode they seem very happy together.
- Poisonous Friend: She is considered as such by Atia.
- Sole Survivor: Atia has her entire family murdered and she sexually assaulted. All because she doesn't like her.
- Talkative Loon: Looks like this to Octavia and Atia after a time living in Egypt.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Is married off to Posca.
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.
- Butt-Monkey: To Antony and Octavian.
- A Father to His Men: Averted; which Antony suggests is why his troops were so willing to defect.
- General Failure: His entire army defects to Antony. Antony however just uses this to co-opt him to his side.
- Kicked Upstairs: Gets sent off to govern the province of Africa, far from the center of power in Rome.
- Number Two: To Antony after defection.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Lepidus hates Gauls.
- Put on a Bus: Disappears after Antony and Octavian give him Africa.
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 over the span of the series, the life of the average citizen remains the same.
- Catchphrase: Even he gets tired of saying, "True Roman bread, for true Romans."
- The Constant: Survives all the turmoil of civil wars and public strife.
- Kent Brockman News: In his defense his scripts are written by others.
- Large Ham: In fairness, it's part of his job. Whenever he flags in his efforts, it's only because it's been a long day.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Does this mainly to make the news seem slightly more interesting.
- 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.
- No Name Given
- Product Placement: Another nice historical touch.
- Written by the Winners: All the news he reads. He always phrases words to make sure listeners will know who to root for.
Queen Cleopatra VII
The infamous last Hellenistic monarch of Egypt, a beautiful and ambitious woman that is well aware of her powers of seduction. Played by Lyndsey Marshal.
- 0% Approval Rating By the Romans, who believe she's a sorceress who's swayed Mark Antony from decent Roman ways.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: As per all popular depictions of Cleopatra.
- A God Am I: As in real life, Cleopatra believed herself to be the goddess Isis incarnate. This is used for religious propaganda, as her political ambitions make it look like she's planning to force the Romans to worship foreign gods.
- Ambition Is Evil: Cleopatra isn't content with ruling Egypt and tries to take her son's legacy, with warring results.
- Arranged Marriage: To her younger brother Ptolemy, as per the Egyptian custom.
- Artistic License: The real court of Cleopatra had a strong Greek influence, due to Egypt being conquered by Alexander the Great. The producers went with The Theme Park Version version to make more clear the Culture Clash between Egyptian and Roman society that is later used against Antony.
- Bad Boss: Kills one of her minions while discussing hunting with Antony, who at least was avoiding killing the man dressed up as a deer. Not that he was bothered either.
- Aroused by Their Voice: Cleopatra purposely uses a higher pitched voice in order to seduce men. She's also just as capable as striking fear into her little brother and his lickspittles with her deeper voice, as well. The real Cleopatra was described to have a very charming and alluring voice, and it is said that this was one of her more attractive features rather than simply being incredibly beautiful.
- The Baby Trap: Her child is actually fathered by Pullo, having decided to hedge her bets by seducing another Roman before meeting Caesar, to ensure she'll have a child.
- Base on Wheels: Cleopatra operates her rebellion out of a litter carried by a dozen slaves because she is Too Important to Walk.
- Cradle of Loneliness: Does this with Antony's body when she sees through Octavian's lies.
- Driven to Suicide: Once she realizes she can't control Octavian the way she could Antony and Caesar.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: She is incensed when Vorenus refuses to sleep with her.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Literally seconds away from dying from the snake's bite, she manages to stand up, stare down Octavian, and tell him off.
- Functional Addict: To opium.
- Irony: Before her death, she claims that Octavian has a "rotten soul," presumably for planning to kill her adolescent son. Cleopatra's not the nicest person herself, having quite similarly secured her own throne by trampling the body of another child, her own brother.
- Lady Macbeth: To Antony.
- Ms. Fanservice: Spends most of her time in see-through dresses and other skimpy outfits. Also appears naked a few times.
- Nubile Savage: In the Romans' eyes.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Is able to beat Atia of all people at this game.
- Power Hair: Has a boyish haircut (probably because the Egyptians prefer wigs).
- Prepare to Die: Achillas' assassins tell her this in her debut episode, "Caesarion". She gets better.
- Puppet Queen: She openly states her willingness to be one for Caesar, so he will back her claim to the throne. However she has no intention of staying that way, seeking to co-rule a Roman-Egyptian empire with Marc Antony.
- Really Gets Around: Beds three main characters.
- Stripperific: In one scene she wears a gold bikini that Princess Leia would be proud of.
- Sex for Services"If I must prostitute myself for the good of my country and my family, I will. But customer pays first, does he not?"
- Sexy Walk: Several Male Gaze shots of her walking away from the camera.
- Together in Death: Subverted; after being told that Cleopatra has killed herself, Marc Antony follows suit. She then turns up very much alive to Vorenus's unconcealed contempt. However she quickly realises she can't influence Octavian like she did Caesar and Antony, and kills herself for real.
- Villainous Breakdown: She holds it together during her meeting with Octavian, but loses it at the palace once she realizes that Octavian means to murder her son. Or, she realizes that he won't let Cleopatra twist him around her little finger like the last two Roman rulers did.Cleopatra: [sobbing and talking to Antony's corpse] I'm sorry, my love. I was hungry to live...but you were right about that boy; he's a monster! He only wants me alive so he can parade me in chains for a mob to spit on!
- You Should Know This Already: She hooks up with Antony, but it doesn't end well.
King Ptolemy XIII
The naïve child king of Egypt, younger brother and husband to Cleopatra. Played by Scott Chisholm.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Unfortunately as such he's easily intimidated by Caesar, despite commanding an army that vastly outnumbers his own.
- Adipose Rex: On the way to becoming one.
- A God Am I: Expected, since he is a Pharaoh.
- Arranged Marriage: To Cleopatra.
- Asshole Victim: Given how much of a Royal Brat he is, it's hard to feel sorry for his fate.
- Boisterous Weakling: Insults Cleopatra but only behind her back.
- Character Death: After his forces are defeated in battle, he's shown drowned in the Nile.
- Culture Clash: He presents Pompey's head and brags about how they could have attached it to a marionette. Rather than being grateful, Caesar is outraged at this disrespect to a consul of Rome.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: He expects nothing but to be worshipped. Caesar puts him quickly in his place.
- Guyliner: Though due to cultural reasons.
- King Bob the Nth
- Kneel Before Zod: Uses a minion as a footstool because he's too small for his throne.
- Oh, Crap!: When Cleopatra shows up in the palace in "Caesarion".
- Puppet King: And in complete denial about it. "Vassal? I am no vassal!"
- Royal Brat: As you'd expect from a child king who thinks he's a god.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He is a lot less powerful than he thinks he is. Caesar puts him in his place.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!:Pothinus: Behold Ptolemy! He of the two lands! He of sedge and bee! Behold Ptolemy! Son of Ra! Ptolemy the Divine!
Prince of Egypt, son of Cleopatra and (allegedly) Caesar. Played by Nicolo Brecci and Max Baldry.
- A God Am I: Raised to believe this.
- Appeal to Vanity: While fleeing Octavian as King Incognito, a Roman soldier makes him reveal himself by asking for his blessing in Egyptian. Consider that at no point did the Roman guards hide their identity.
- Baby Trap: Cleopatra has him so she can have a claim on Rome. To ensure having a child in the first place, she hedges her bets by having lots of sex with the nearest available Roman, who happens to be Pullo.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Caesarion was Titus Pullo's son and successfully escaped Octavian to live as a plebeian in Rome.
- Big Eater: He doesn't show it often. But he eats more than a black hole, despite being rail thin.
- Historical In-Joke: The show not so much implies but is clear that he is actually the son of Titus Pullo.
- Jabba Table Manners: As a side effect of being a Big Eater, he eats very sloppely and quickly, trying to get the most food in his mouth as quick as possible.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: He is actually the son of a common Roman pleb.
- Mixed Ancestry: Caesarion's father is Roman. Just not the one you expect.
- Parental Substitute: Vorenus becomes a substitute father to him until he's brought together with his real father, Pullo.
- Royal Brat: In fairness, he thinks he's the son of a goddess (and therefore a god himself) and the ruler of the most powerful empire in the known world.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Sometimes played for comedy.
- Tell Me About My Father: Caesarion asks this of Vorenus. He tells him about Pullo.
- Unknown Rival: Caesarion promises vengeance against Augustus. Augustus doesn't even know he's alive.
A trusted slave in the service of Cleopatra. Played by Kathryn Hunter.
- Brutal Honesty: Cleopatra hits her and can order her death at a whim, but she refuses to guard her tongue. It's obvious that they have the kind of relationship where she can get away with this honesty however.
- Foil: Charmian is the female Posca.
- Parental Substitute: To Cleopatra.
- Servile Snarker: As with Posca, her position enables her to get away with saying things that would get others executed.
- Third-Person Person: Due to court etiquette, as being a slave she cannot address her queen directly.
- Undying Loyalty: She keeps serving Cleopatra until she kills herself (with Charmian's help), then commits suicide in turn. This is according to custom, but it's clear that she sees no purpose in living beyond her queen.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Charmian has no problem trading verbal barbs with her most esteemed queen.Charmian: She knows how to beat her slaves well enough, but she cannot throw away that pipe, and she knows it.Cleopatra: Insolent dwarf, you know nothing! (Throws opium pipe out the window) Weak, am I?
- You No Take Candle: Speaks with a noticeable accent.
The Egyptian Prime Minister and regent to King Ptolemy. He goads the young monarch against his older sister-wife, Cleopatra. Played by Tony Guilfoyle.
- Ambiguously Gay: It might not be the case in the original version, but the Spanish dub makes him flamboyant. Wearing guyliner doesn't help, though that's entirely down to fashion.
- Bad Liar: And he thinks he can fool Caesar and Posca...
- Butt-Monkey: Is used a kicking boy during a game of blindman's bluff with his king. As such he doesn't notice Caesar and a Not Quite Dead Cleopatra entering the throne room behind him. He's then offered up as The Scapegoat for ordering Cleopatra's execution. He then tries to put the blame on Theodotus instead. Both of them end up on a spike.
- Culture Clash: He kills Pompey and presents his head to Caesar thinking that it will gain his trust. Caesar is enraged instead.
- Dirty Coward: When the consequences come looming, he blames others for his own mistakes.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: The Evil Chancellor version.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: To Ptolemy.
- Rule of Three: In an example of Black Comedy, he is decapitated after Theodotus and Pompey's executioner, and their heads put on spikes outside of the royal palace.
Theodotus of Chíos
Ptolemy XIII's Greek rhetoric tutor. Played by David de Keyser.
- Bad Boss: Sends Septimius to deliver a message to Caesar identifying him as Pompey's killer.
- Death by Adaptation: Type II. In Real Life he escaped the war in Egypt and was murdered later in Asia Minor by Brutus. In the show, he is executed along with Pothinus.
- Guyliner: As per Egyptian fashion.
- It Will Never Catch On: What he thinks about Rome and its power.
- Smug Smiler: And it's a pleasure to see the expression wiped off his face when Caesar and Cleopatra turn up.
- Underestimating Badassery: As well as assuming the Roman Empire is at the point of collapse, he thinks Achillas can easily crush Caesar's small force with the 100,000 men at his command. After a long siege Caesar eventually defeats the Egyptians.
The commander of the Egyptian army loyal to Ptolemy XIII. Played by Grant Masters.
- Appeal to Vanity: He is reluctant to attack Caesar and gain Rome's wrath as a result. Theodotus makes him act by questioning his popularity.
- Doomed by Canon: His fate is unrevealed and the war against Caesar happens off-screen, but you know he won't prevail.note
- The Quiet One: In comparison to the more verbose Pothinus and Theodotus.
- Real Men Wear Whigs and Face Paint
A Roman veteran serving as mercenary in the Egyptian Army. Played by David Kennedy.
- Death by Adaptation: The fate of the real Septimius is unknown.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: He murders Pompey (under whom he served) when he comes to Egypt seeking refuge.
- Decapitation Presentation: He beheads Pompey after killing him. And is in turn beheaded by Caesar.
- Forced to Watch: Kills Pompey within sight of his wife and children.
- Oh, Crap!: When he is exposed as Pompey's murderer.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After Caesar demands Pompey's killer to kill him himself, Pothinus cons Septimius into surrendering himself.
Tevye a.k.a. Timon
A largely secularized Jewish horse trader (at least when he is among non believers) who has lived for decades in Rome and often serves as a mercenary for Atia, be it as a hitman or a bodyguard. He also expresses a strong lust for her, preferring to be paid in sex rather than money. Played by Lee Boardman.
- Accidental Murder: Accidentally kills Levi during a knife struggle with him, in an effort to stop him from assassinating Herod.
- Beard of Evil: The goatee version.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: He finally breaks and attacks Atia when she tells him to mutilate Servilia.
- Bodyguard Crush: On Atia.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Infidelity aside, he is devoted to his family, none of whom knows what he does for a living.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- He looks ashamed when watching Servilia's Shameful Strip and Traumatic Haircut. On Yom Kipper Day, no less.
- Standing up to Atia when she orders him to cut Servilia's face after abducting and torturing her.
- His brother's attempt to rekindle him with religion ends with planning a Zealot Suicide Attack on Herod during a visit to Rome. Timon backs down in the last moment because he realizes that it will accomplish nothing.
- HeelFaith Turn: Played with. He abandons his role as Atia's hitman in favor of reconnecting with his religion, but he ends up becoming a Zealot. Eventually played straight when he decided not to assassinate King Herod.
- Mook Lieutenant: Acts as leader whenever additional knife-and-hatchetmen are required by Atia.
- Nice Hat: The only recurring character to almost always wear one.
- Professional Killer: Acts as Atia's hired muscle.
- Put on a Bus: Took the family back to the Holy Land.
- Raised Jewish
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!:
- Two-Faced: His personality takes a 180º turn when he serves Atia, as opposed to when he is with his family.
- Uptown Girl: Though entirely one-sided; Timon is genuinely smitten with Atia, but to her he's just a useful minion she controls with money and sex.
Timon's brother, a zealot that moves to Rome in the second season after getting in trouble in Judea. He is actually in a suicide mission to kill King Herod during a visit to the city. Played by Nigel Lindsay.
- Aborted Arc: It's obvious that Levi was meant to stay around for a whole season and that his death would have some influence on Timon's later development, given that the show was expected to explore Judea in a fifth season and that Timon is last seen travelling there.
- Big Brother Bully: Before his own HeelFaith Turn. Timon still harbors resentment that his brother used to bully him, yet is now lecturing him on his lifestyle.
- The Fundamentalist: As a member of the Zealots, which makes him a declared enemy of King Herod because he is a Roman imposed puppet.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Tries to get his brother to rediscover his Judaism by joining him in killing Herod. Timon has doubts, they struggle, and Levi ends stabbed by the knife he planned to use to kill his enemy.
- Old Friend: Introduced in the second season after not being named in the first. Then again, Timon was not exactly a main character in the first season.
- You Can't Go Home Again: He comes to Rome to live with his brother because his opposition to Herod threatened his survival in Judea. Subverted: It's a cover to assasinate Herod who has also come to Rome to meet his Roman overlords.
Yes that Herod, the client-King of Judea. Played by René Zagger.
- 0% Approval Rating: His throne is entirely dependent on Roman support.
- Aborted Arc: As part of Timon and Levi's storyline in the second season, his involvement in this was cut to a minimum. Herod would probably have appeared again if the show had reached the five seasons envisioned by Heller, with the last one depicting Judea immediately before the birth of Christ.
- Puppet King: Of Judea, to the Romans.
- The Quisling: As is targeted for assassination as a result by Jewish fanatics.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Specifically, jewels in his hair and...
- Sleazy Politician: Travels to Rome to bribe his masters in person.
- Young Future Famous People: His appearance in the series predates the birth of Jesus by about 30 years.