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    The Four Detectives 

Flavia Marci filia Gemina

Actor: Francesca Isherwood

Click here to see Flavia 

Click here to see Flavia in the TV series 

"Salve! My name is Flavia Gemina, daughter of Marcus Flavius Geminus, sea captain. I love solving mysteries. It's my favorite thing to do in the world. Why? Because I hate injustice. (And I hate not knowing things!). I call myself a detectrix, which means a female person who uncovers the truth. Some people in Ostia disapprove of me. They say a proper Roman girl of the equestrian class should stay inside and spin wool and not run about claiming to solve mysteries. But what is more important? Wool? Or the Truth?'" - Flavia, in the introduction to The Roman Mysteries Treasury.

Tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname - 'My little owl' by her father and 'Puella Docta' (Clever girl) by Flaccus.
  • Book Worm - Flavia is almost always seen reading a scroll in her spare time.
  • Brainy Brunette - Both played straight and inverted. Flavia is described as having 'light brown' hair in the books, and certainly has the personality and smarts of a Brainy Brunette, but as a Flavian she would be considered 'fair haired', and she is often depicted on book covers as blonde, as well as by the actress in the CBBC series.
  • Colour Coded Characters - Is often seen wearing blue.
  • The Exotic Detective - Is a form of this as a Kid Detective and an ancient Roman.
  • First Love - Publius Pollius Felix.
  • Four Man Band: Doubles as The Leader and The Smart Guy.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble - Explicitly discussed in the books, as doctors in the time period still believed in the four humours. She is labelled a Sanguine by her friends.
    "'Sanguine people have too much blood. Their cheeks are pink and they blush easily.'
    'That's me,' said Flavia.
    'They're quick at making decisions, even impetuous.'
    'That's definitely me.'"
  • Happily Married - To Flaccus in the epilogue.
  • The Hero
  • Home Sweet Home - with Flaccus in the Villa Vinea, along with Nubia and Aristo.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Can be rather rude and thoughtless on occasion, but she is often upset with herself afterwards and will always own up to her mistakes.
  • Kid Detective
  • Lethal Chef - Insists on cooking during the Saturnalia in The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina, much to everyone's (especially Alma's) dismay.
  • Marry for Love - Wishes for this despite the culture of the time meaning she will likely end up in a marriage arranged by her Father.
  • Meaningful Name - Flavia means "fair haired" in Latin.
  • Missing Mom - As a result of Death By Child Birth
  • Nerds Are Sexy - Tranquilus and Flaccus certainly think so.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork - Inverted. Flavia is actually the least attentive of the Four Detectives in their studies with Aristo, being more interested in reading or solving mysteries.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Precocious Crush - Flavia develops a severe one on Publius Pollius Felix.
  • She Is All Grown Up - In The Sirens of Surrentum she gives Flaccus a shock when she steps out to join a party in full make up and heeled sandals. He promptly sends her back in to change in an attempt to lessen this effect.
  • Sherlock Scan
  • Signature Instrument - The tambourine.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss - Starts off this way with Flaccus.
  • The Smart Girl
  • Tomboy - Flavia is a mild tomboy by modern standards but by Roman standards is far more independent than a proper Roman Lady of her class is expected to be. This is made more clear when Pulchra is around to act as a Foil.

Jonathan ben Mordecai

Actor: Eli Machover

Click here to see Jonathan 

Click here to see Jonathan in the TV series 

"I was born in Jerusalem about a year and a half before Titus marched on it with four legions. He plundered our Holy Temple, destroyed Jerusalem and either killed or enslaved its inhabitants. My father Mordecai and my older sister Miriam and I got out in time. But my mother was left behind. So I grew up without her. Over the centuries we Jews have suffered persecution from almost everybody, especially the Romans. My family also follows The Way, a new sect whose believers are persecuted by Jews. So we are the most persecuted of the persecuted." - Jonathan, in The Roman Mysteries Treasury.

Tropes:

  • Achey Scars - Is branded as a slave in The Assassins of Rome, and the mark continues to cause him pain in later books.
  • Break the Cutie - Starts out as a pessimistic but kind-hearted Deadpan Snarker. As times goes on he gets branded as a slave, thinks he killed his long-lost mother, starts the fire of Rome carrying the guilt of 20 000 deaths for the rest of the series, almost commits suicide, undergoes self-imposed Training from Hell as a gladiator, loses his beloved older sister, his parents reknewned marriage remains distant, his father essentially becomes a drug addict and by the end of the series he's spent years trying to rescue his kidnapped nephew to no success.
  • Colour Coded Characters - Is often seen wearing brown (cream in the earlier books).
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Dreaming of Things to Come
  • Guilt Complex
  • Four Man Band: The Lancer to Flavia's The Leader, he is often the most levelheaded of the group and quickest to point out flaws in Flavia's plans or reasoning. He also has a tendency to strike out on his own.
  • Heroic BSoD - Jonathan experiences this at the end of The Enemies of Jupiter when he blames himself for a massive fire that killed thousands of people. It results in examples of Hurting Hero, It's All My Fault, and Survivor Guilt. For a time, he also adopts an alter ego called Ira (meaning wrath) that almost results in Becoming the Mask. When his friends first try to shake him out of it, he expresses a That Man Is Dead attitude toward his real name and identity. His new identity includes some of the elements of Madden Into Misanthropy and something that may even be mild form of Split Personality.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation - Jonathan has a tendency towards pessimism and poor self esteem
  • Hurting Hero - Begining with The Assassins of Rome and increasing in The Enemies of Jupiter.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt - Jonathan's favorite activity is hunting, and he does pretty well at it.
  • Missing Mom - It becomes the main plot point of The Assassins of Rome and The Enemies of Jupiter.
  • Plucky Comic Relief - Only to a moderate degree. He is good at telling jokes and making people laugh, however he can be serious when need be and unlike many characters labeled comic relief, he is not in anyway a looser, incompetent, bumbling or otherwise a Butt-Monkey.
  • Signature Instrument - The Syrian Barbiton. He is taught to play by his uncle Simeon.
  • Slave Brand - Branded in The Assassins of Rome.
  • Took a Level in Badass - The effect of going through Gladiator School
  • Twofer Token Minority - Jonathan in his family are Jewish and Christian. Of course, being a Christian may not seem to be a minority thing to most modern Anglophonic readers, but they are minorities in pagan Rome.

Nubia / Shepenwepet, daughter of Nastasen of the Leopard Clan

Actor: Rebekah Brookes-Murrell

Click here to see Nubia 

Click here to see Nubia in the TV series 

"We are marched for a very long way. I do not remember those days and nights very well, I am so full of misery. My feet are blister and my throat dry. On that journey many die and are left beside the road for jackals and vultures. My mother and baby sister are among them. I cry and scream and try to stay with them, but the chain is till around by neck and they force me to walking on... You would think that losing everything I do not want to live, but now I am wanting to live more than ever." - Nubia in The Roman Mysteries Treasury.

Tropes:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love - To Aristo in the last book.
  • Artists Are Attractive - A beautiful and skilled musician.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me - In The Man from Pomegranate Street the newly crowned Emperor Domitian sends his servant Messallinus to dress Nubia in his wife's clothes and make up before he has her accompany to him to his private theatre.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice - While she prefers to play her flute, she also has this.
  • Birds of a Feather - With Aristo. Their shared love of music is key factor the development of her feelings for him.
  • Catchphrase - "Behold!"
  • Colour Coded Characters - Is often seen wearing yellow.
  • Dark and Troubled Past - A raid by slavers killed most of her family, and she was enslaved and brought to Ostia under less than ideal conditions. She still has nightmares at times.
  • Duet Bonding - With Aristo.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry - Owns a pair of tiger's eye earrings that were gifted to her by Admiral Pliny.
  • Four Man Band: As The Chick, she is the kindest and most empathetic of the group.
  • False Start - Attempts to confess her feelings to Aristo when they're locked in the Cave of the Furies, but is interrupted by their rescue.
  • First Love - Aristo.
  • Fluffy Tamer - Appears to share a special connection with animals. She is able to calm the wild dogs with music in The Thieves of Ostia, allowing her and her friends to escape. She also subdues a lion in The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (although he turned out to be tame afterwards).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble - Explicitly discussed in the books, as doctors in the time period still believed in the four humours. It is debated by her friends whether she is Phlegmatic or Choleric, but by this Wiki's definition she would be a Phlegmatic (it is likely the author only included this debate so all four could be described).
  • Friend to All Living Things - Has a special relationship with animals that occasionally borders on the mystical.
  • Happily Married - To Aristo in the last book. In front of the Emperor no less!
  • Happiness in Slavery - Zigzagged. Her thoughts in the early books give an indication of this, and she's certainly grateful for Flavia's kindness, but The Pirates of Pompeii has Nubia almost become a runaway slave after her cruel treatment at the hands of Pulchra. By the end of the book she is set free, but elements of this are still explored in her life in Roman society and dynamic with Flavia.
  • The Heart
  • Home Sweet Home - with Aristo in the Villa Vinea, along with Flavia and Flaccus.
  • Iconic Item - Her lionskin cloak and lotus/cherry wood flute both count.
  • Love Epiphany - Has one in The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina when during a song they're playing together she realises her feelings for Aristo. She's so overcome that she has to stop playing and leave the room.
  • Made a Slave
  • Meaningful Rename - Nubia is really a name that was given to her by Venalicius when she was Made a Slave; her real name is Shepenwepet. When she is freed, she decides to keep the name, saying "Nubia can be my new name for my new life."
  • Naked on Arrival - In the book, but not in the TV series seeing how it is a kids show and the character is played by a child actor...
  • Sidekick - Appears as and often considers herself one to Flavia.
  • Signature Instrument - The flute. She also sings occasionally.
  • Signature Song - Has a few, but her first composition 'Slave Song' is probably it. Playing it often reduces people to tears.
  • Slave Collar - Is introduced in one.
  • Trademark Favourite Food - Dates.

Lupus / Λύκος (Lykos)

Actor: Harry Stott

Click here to see Lupus 

Click here to see Lupus in the TV series 

"When I was six years old, a terrible thing happened... After that terrible thing, I did not trust anyone. Anger snarled inside me like a wild dog or a wolf. Like an animal, I made my home in the tombs outside of Ostia. Sometimes I begged. Sometimes I stole... I like drawing and I like spying on people... I am very clever and determined. I'm not bragging. It's the truth." - Lupus, in The Roman Mysteries Treasury

Tropes:

  • Artful Dodger - Lupus's life as a beggar boy and innate intelligence makes him sneaky and street smart.
  • Colour Coded Characters - Is often wearing green or 'sea green'.
  • Dark and Troubled Past - See the quote above.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!
  • Drives Like Crazy
  • Four Man Band: Despite being the smallest and youngest, Lupus fills the role of The Big Guy by performing many of the more physically active tasks in the group's adventures.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble - Explicitly discussed in the books, as doctors in the time period still believed in the four humours. He is labelled as Phlegmatic, although by this Wiki's definition he could also be labelled Choleric (interestingly it is Nubia who receives this debate rather than him).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper - Lupus looses his temper easily, especially when people ask him about his past or mention his missing tongue.
  • Meaningful Name - Lupus, the name of the wild character, means wolf.
  • Mysterious Past - Lupus's origins and the reason he has no tongue are not revealed until several books into the series.
  • Orphan's Ordeal
  • Passing the Torch - To Threptus in the last book.
  • Rags to Riches
  • Signature Instrument - The drums.
  • Snooping Little Kid - Lupus uses his skills at snooping, sneaking and eavesdropping several times throughout the series.
  • The Speechless - His tongue was cut out when he was very young. In the TV version, he had a tongue but was unable to speak because of psychological trauma.
  • Street Urchin - Lupus is homeless at the beginning of the series.
  • What the Heck, Hero? - Lupus really, really wants Venalicius dead, even it means attacking him when he's down and out (Felix has to pull him off) or trying to hire an assassin to murder him.
    • It makes a lot more sense when you think about the fact that Venalicius cut out Lupus's tongue and killed his Father.

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    Flavia's House 

Marcus Flavius Geminus

Actor: Eoin McCarthy

Flavia's father is a sea captain merchant who uses his ship to conduct trade. He is fairly well off financially, being of the equestrian class and owning his own boat and house, however he is not among the upper crust of Roman society and wouldn't qualify as wealthy. He is a widower and is frequently absent on ocean voyages, leaving Flavia in the care of his slaves Alma and Caudex. He is unusually liberal for his time period in that he allows his daughter to be educated and gives her a great deal of freedom. This fact meets with the disapproval of some of the other Romans, including his own patron.

Tropes:

  • The Captain - He is a literal captain of a ship.
  • Intrepid Merchant - He is a merchant seaman sailing around the Mediterranean Sea to buy and sell goods.
  • Meaningful Name - Geminus means twin, which he is.
  • Parental Abandonment - A mild example of this in that he is frequently away on buisness. This is not because he is a neglectful or uncaring father but simply because of the nature of his job.
  • Polar Opposite Twins - Not quite so extreme, however Marcus chose the adventure of being a sailor while while his twin brother chose being a farmer.
  • Team Dad - He is the literal dad to Flavia, and together with Mordecai performs the role of father figure in the stories.

Aristo

Actor: Christopher Harper

Aristo is a tutor to Flavia and later all of the four detectives. He is a young Greek man from the city of Corinth. His looks are frequently compared to the god Apollo, and like Apollo he is a skilled musician.

Tropes:

  • A Day in the Limelight - The Fugitive from Corinth.
  • The Ace - He borders on this, and certainly all the females around (including the main two female characters) seem to think of him as one.
  • All Love Is Unrequited - Ironically he could probably have any woman except the one he falls for, as his feelings for Miriam are not returned.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love - To Nubia in the last book.
  • Artists Are Attractive - Aristo's good looks are matched by his skill on the Lyre.
  • Birds of a Feather - with Nubia. Their shared love of music is key factor the development of their feelings for eachother.
  • Broken Ace - Did Not Get the Girl and spends a good number of books depressed by it.
  • Cain and Abel - His younger brother Dion tries to kill him in The Fugitive from Corinth.
  • The Charmer - He has stunning good looks and a skill at music that has resulted in in collecting a large number of Fangirls, almost but not quite to the point of a Groupie Brigade. Unlike the Chick Magnet, he is most certainly not an innocent who is unaware of his effect on woman, and unlike The Casanova he couldn't be described as a sexual predator. Because this series is for children, it is left vague as to just how far he does go with women. However he does state that he is tired of shallow love interests, and the first woman he first truly falls in love with does not return his affection but marries another.
  • Cock Fight - Has one with Pliny the Younger over their feelings for Miriam, much to her consternation (she's engaged to Gaius at this point).
  • Colour Coded Characters - Is often seen wearing red.
  • Cool Teacher
  • Did Not Get the Girl - Is hung up on his feelings for Miriam long after she's engaged to someone else.
  • Duet Bonding - With Nubia.
  • False Soulmate - Considers Miriam this after he realises his feelings for Nubia.
  • False Start - Nubia runs away the first time he tries to confess his feelings to her.
  • Girls Like Musicians
  • Gentleman and a Scholar
  • Gorgeous Greek
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany - First realises his feelings for Nubia after mistakenly believing she's in love with Flaccus.
  • Happily Married - To Nubia in the last book. In front of the Emperor no less!
  • Held Gaze: With Nubia as he tells her (and Flavia) the story of the Sabine Women.
  • Home Sweet Home - with Nubia in the Villa Vinea, along with Flavia and Flaccus.
  • Hot Teacher
  • Love Epiphany - Has one in The Prophet from Epheseus when he realises his feelings for Nubia.
  • Love Hurts - His unrequited love for Miriam is seen to effect him long after she's engaged to someone else.
  • Loving a Shadow - Eventually comes to view his love for Miriam as this.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt - Aristo is frequently out hunting with his friend Lysander.
  • The Mentor - Of the Cool Teacher variant
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon - Apparently not into Diana's look when she literally styles herself after the Amazons.
  • Oblivious to Love - Seems to be aware of his effect on most women, but apparently oblivious to Nubia's feelings for him.
  • Official Couple - With Nubia.
  • Pretty Boy - Described as such.
  • Renaissance Man
  • Second Love - Again, Nubia.
  • Signature Instrument - The Lyre.
  • Sixth Ranger - Of all the side characters Aristo is the most frequent companion to join the children's mystery solving exploits, partially due to his role as both tutor and guardian. In the last two books he's essentially upgraded to the fifth detective, to the point where he's exiled from Rome along with the main four.

Alma

Actor: Sara Harris Davies

Alma is one of two slaves in the Flavia's family. She started out as Flavia's nurse and got promoted too cook when the old cook died. She has strong maternal feelings towards Flavia, which extends toward her friends. When she appears in the story she is normally doing household work, fussing over the children, or serving one of her excelent meals. She would qualify as an Apron Matron except that she is a softhearted slave and Flavia can generally order or manipulate her to do whatever Flavia wants. Alma is the only one that is allowed to call Lupus "Wolfie."

Tropes:

  • All There in the Manual - The novels say very little about her background, but The Roman Mysteries Treasury gives much more information about her, told from her own perspective.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook - Alma is a Supreme Chef.
  • Gossipy Hens - Alma and the other women living on the street all exchange information over at the water fountain. This isn't shown on screen but information she gathers is sometimes used by the Four Detectives during their investigations.
  • Happiness in Slavery - Alma is one of the closest examples to this trope being played straight. She is appreciated and well treated by her master and loved almost as a mother by Flavia. She genuinely loves Flavia, Nubia and (in a platonic familial way) Marcus. However, her first mistress treated her poorly.
  • Kindly Housekeeper
  • Made a Slave - She was a slave since shortly after birth, long before the series takes place. See the next trope.
  • Parental Abandonment - Alma was found abandoned as a baby in amidst the tombs on the Via Appia outside of Rome. It was a common practice in Classical times to abandoned unwanted children in a place where they might be found by others and made a slave or adopted by families with no children. It was sort of like the Door Stop Baby trope, but unlike the Door Stop Baby the child isn't left in a place it is sure to be found immediately, and there is an acceptance of the possibility that the child might die of exposure. The premise was that if the child did die, it was the gods that killed it, not the parent.
  • Team Mom - Since all the Four Detective are suffering from Missing Mom Syndrome, Alma does much of the mothering for them, but most especially for Flavia.

Caudex

Actor: Jamie Baughan

The door slave of the Geminus household, Caudex is a strong but gentle slave that sometimes acts as a bodyguard for Flavia and her friends. In The Gladiators from Capua it was revealed that he is from Britannia and was enslaved during the Roman conquest of Britain. He was originally trained to be a gladiator but refused to kill.

Tropes:

Scuto

Flavia's faithful dog who accompanies the four on several of their adventures.

Tropes:

Nipur

Nubia's puppy, who's father was the leader of a pack of wild dogs running around the Graveyard behind Flavia's house. Nubia rescues him at the end of the first book. He is a black mastiff.

Tropes:

    Jonathan's House 

Mordecai ben Ezrah

Actor: Stephen Mapes

The father of Jonathan and Miriam, Mordecai is a Jewish doctor. He married Susannah bat Jonah, the daughter of a Jewish priest, and had two children with her. He also converted to Christianity, which invoked the displeasure of many of his fellow Jews, including his wife's relatives. His lost his wife during the Siege of Jerusalem. He was able to escape with with his son and daughter, and he moved around until he ended up living in Ostia. Mordecai starts out as a mentor and moral guide to the children, though as the series progresses he becomes a more complex and imperfect character.

Tropes:

  • Addled Addict - After Miriam's death Mordecai falls into a severe depression and spends his time drinking and consuming poppy tears (opium). He spirals even further when news reaches that Jonathan has died in a shipwreck.
  • All There in the Manual - The Roman Mysteries Treasury contains Backstory that never makes it into the novels.
  • Arranged Marriage - As per the Jewish customs of the time, his marriage to Susannah was arranged between him and her father. Unfortunately this caused a lot of pain as Susannah was in love with someone else.
  • Break the Cutie - Mordecai starts off the series as one of the kindest and most reliable characters . By the last few books he spends his time in an alcohol and drug induced stupor to cope with the loss of his daughter.
  • The Conscience - Preaches pacifism and forgiveness as part of his Christian beliefs.
  • Despair Event Horizon - Turns to drink and poppy tears (opium) upon the death of his daughter.
  • Determined Doctor - Is seen losing sleep in his effort to attend to the sick during a fever outbreak.
  • Team Dad - He is the literal dad to Jonathan and Miriam and together with Marcus performs the role of father figure in the stories.
  • The Heart - As part of his status as Team Dad Mordecai often offers advice to the children when they get into fights.
  • The Hermit - The epilogue reveals that after deciding not to kill the Emperor, Mordecai took the first ship out of Ostia and lived as a hermit in the deserts of Judea for two years.
  • Love at First Note - Fell in love with his wife Susannah upon hearing her laugh.
  • Love Before First Sight - After hearing her laugh, Mordecai requested Susannah's hand in marriage from her father before ever having met her.
  • The Medic - He is a doctor, and a very capable one by the standards of the day.
  • The Mentor
  • Recovered Addict - Upon hearing that Jonathan is alive and wanted by the Emperor, he cleans up his act and travels to Rome under the guise petitioning on his behalf, but is actually planning to assassinate him.
  • Twofer Token Minority - Christian and Jewish, living in a pagan Roman town.
  • What You Are in the Dark - Revealed in the epilogue that despite being in position to kill the Emperor, Mordecai could not go through with the act and instead dropped his weapon and ran. This was due to seeing a boy who looked like Jonathan earlier in the day, and he later discovers that it was in fact his son.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds - Despite blaming the Emperor for the destruction of his home city of Jerusalem and death of his wife, and then finding out his wife was alive and in the Emperor's captivity, Mordecai always insisted on practicing forgiveness on the grounds of his religious beliefs. However, following the death of his two children and his extended substance abuse, he decides to assassinate the Emperor after finding out his son is actually alive and wanted for treason.

Miriam bat Mordecai

Actor: Natasha Barrero

Miriam is the older sister to Jonathan. She is described as being so good looking that she is always turning heads and once caused an accident because people were looking at her instead of paying attention to what they were doing. She performs many of the traditionally female domestic duties in her household, such as cooking. She generally does to her household duties instead of getting involved in the mystery solving adventures of Tom Boy Flavia, her brother Jonathan, and their friends.

Tropes:

  • Caring Gardener - Has a love of flowers and is often seen carrying them. She keeps a rose garden once she moves to the Laurentum farm with Gaius.
  • Death by Childbirth - Played straight
  • Feminine Women Can Cook
  • Gibberish of Love - Invokes this in several men.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple - Often wears shades of violet or lavender to match her eyes, and is considered mature enough to marry.
  • Happily Married - To Uncle Gaius.
  • Head-Turning Beauty
  • Hospital Hottie - Assists her father in his medical practices.
  • Housewife - To Flavia's Uncle Gaius.
  • Matzo Fever - To just about every man she meets that's not related to her.
  • Missing Mom
  • Scars Are Forever - In The Secrets of Vesuvius, part of her hair catches fire due to falling volcanic debri. The hair never grows back and she's left with an ugly red mark that she often covers with a headscarf.
  • Silk Hiding Steel - Shows hints of this throughout the series.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse - She can't stand having men always staring at her.
    "'I hate being beautiful!' said Miriam, with such vehemence that Flavia recoiled. 'And don't envy me. You least of all, Flavia. Everyone loves you because of who you are. Not because of how you look. It's awful to have men stare at you as if they're starving and you're some tasty morsel of bread dipped in gravy...'"
  • Twofer Token Minority - Christian and Jewish, living in a pagan Roman town.
  • Unwanted Harem - She has men literally fighting over her, much to her distress.

Bobas

The family's watchdog who is killed in the first book.

Tropes:

  • We Hardly Knewy Ye - Is killed in the first book, making him the the first murder victim of the entire series.

Tigris

Jonathan's puppy, who's father was the leader of a pack of wild dogs running around the Graveyard behind Flavia's house. Nubia rescues him at the end of the first book and gifts him to Jonathan. He is a black mastiff.

Tropes:

    Others 

Venalicius / Philippos

Actor: Richard Ridings

Venalicius is the slave trader that sold Nubia to Flavia. He is later revealed to be Lupus's uncle and the man who cut out his tongue.

Tropes:

  • Criminal - Slave trading is perfectly legal in Rome, but he also kidnaps freeborn children to sell as slaves.
  • Lukos, I am your uncle - In an interesting twist of the trope, Lupus knew about the relationship all along, as does Venalicius. It is just the rest of the characters and the audience that are kept in the dark
  • Heel–Face Turn - Venalicius repents of his evil ways and tries to become The Atoner to those that he hurt. Unfortuantly Redemption Equals Death and he dies very painfully in one of the most effective Tear Jerker scenes of the series. Fortuantly for the plot, it is also revealed that he is not the Big Bad but that in fact he is just The Dragon for the Big Bad, allowing the characters to go after yet more villains.
  • Made a Slave - Revealed as part of his Freudian Excuse that his Father sold him to slave-traders aged 13.
  • Red Right Hand - Venalicius is ugly, has rotten teeth and has a blind eye. This is part of his Freudian Excuse where his blind eye is revealed to be the result of diving too many times to retrieve a pearl for the one girl who was nice to him.

Admiral Pliny / Pliny the Elder / Gaius Plinius Secundus

Actor: Simon Callow

Pliny The Elder in one of the several Real Life historical characters in the book, and the first that the main characters meet. Pliny the Elder is one of most famous Roman Authors. He was a naturalist as well as a well connected and high ranking military commander. He appears in The Secrets of Vesuvius and his writings are referenced throughout the series.

Tropes:

Marcus Artorius Bato

Actor: Tom Harper

Bato is a city magistrate for Ostia and the most frequent face the law in Ostia. As a magistrate, part of his duty is to enforce law and investigate crimes, however in many ways he's more a politician than a cop. Bato is ambitious to a fault and conscious of his socially superior position in relationship to the Four Detectives. He seems to regard the Four Detectives as troublesome kids, but is willing to work with them to arrest the criminals that the Four Detectives identify.

Tropes:

  • Police Are Useless - Not entirely useless, but he hardly ever seems to be able to identify the villain without the help of a bunch of children.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure when he isn't being a Corrupt Politician - He is usually on the side of the Four Detectives but not always.
  • Unreliable Narrator - One of the short stories is told in form of a letter written by him, and it is obvious that he is putting a slant on the story to try to make himself look better.

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Pompeii

    Uncle Gauis's Farm 

Gaius Flavius Geminus

Actor: Eoin McCarthy

Gaius is Flavia's uncle and twin brother to Marcus. He first appears in The Secrets of Vesuvius, as the owner of a prosperous farm near Pompeii. He also marries Miriam, Jonanthan's sister.

Tropes:

Frustilla

The old cook at Gaius's farm. She dies from the fumes during the eruption of Vesuvius.

Tropes:

Ferox

Uncle Gaius's fierce guard dog. After being stabbed in the chest saving Gaius's life, he becomes much more docile and friendly.

Tropes:

    The Villa Pomponiana 

Titus Tascius Pomponianus

Owner of the Villa Pomponiana and friend to Pliny the Elder.

Tropes:

  • Affair? Blame the Bastard - Mistakenly believed that Vulcan was a product of his wife's infidelity with his friend Pliny and purposely abandoned him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out - By Pliny rather than Vulcan, but it has the desired effect.
  • Green-Eyed Monster - His jealousy of Pliny and his relationship with Rectina led him to believe that Vulcan was Pliny's son and not his when he was born with a clubfoot. He subsequently leaves him by the river to be found by slaves.
  • Heel Realisation - Realises his error and welcomes Vulcan back into the family. Vulcan happily accepts.
  • I Have No Son! - Refuses to believe that Vulcan is his due to his jealousy of Pliny.
  • Missing Child - His son was kidnapped as a baby. It is later revealed to be Vulcan and that Tascius himself abandoned him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
  • Parental Favouritism - Believes his father favoured Pliny the Elder over him.
  • Strong Family Resemblance - Vulcan has his eyebrows. This is considered proof that he is Tascius's son and not Pliny's.
  • Tears of Remorse

Rectina Pomponiana

Wife of Tascius. Unable to have more children after her first child went missing, she instead adopted nine orphan girls and later another boy and girl and named them after the nine muses.

Tropes:

  • Determinator - Walked all the way to Neapolis from Herculaneum to escape the volcano with her daughters.
  • Missing Child - Her son was kidnapped as a baby. It is later revealed to be Vulcan.
  • Strong Family Resemblance - The resemblance between her and Vulcan are what clues the Four Detectives in to their relationship.

Clio Pomponiana

One of Tascius and Rectina's nine adopted daughters. She strikes up a friendship with Lupus.

Tropes:

    Others 

Vulcan / Lucius / Publius Tascius Pomponianus

A Blacksmith working in Pompeii, who's nickname comes from his occupation and clubfoot. He was abandoned at birth and is looking for his missing parents.

Tropes:

  • Abandon the Disabled - His father Tascius chose to see his clubfoot as a sign of his wife's infidelity and abandoned him.
  • The Blacksmith
  • Determinator - Rows himself and Lupus across the Bay of Naples in the midst of a volcanic eruption in order to get a message to Pliny and rescue Rectina and her nine children.
  • Did Not Get the Girl - Falls for Miriam but was unable to woo her with his gifts.
  • Doorstop Baby - Was found on the banks of the river Sarnus and given to his adoptive parents.
  • Happily Adopted - Despite being determined to find his real parents he did have a good relationship with his adoptive ones.
  • Illegal Religion - Is revealed to be a Christian, which was illegal in Roman times.
  • Meaningful Name - Is nicknamed after the God Vulcan, who was also a Blacksmith and lame.
  • Strong Family Resemblance - The resemblance between him and Rectina are what clues in the Four Detectives to their relationship. It is also later shown that he has Tascius's eyebrows, which serves as proof that he is his son and not Pliny's.

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Surrentum

    The Villa Limona 

Publius Pollius Felix

Actor: Tom Mannion

Felix is Uncle Gauis's patron and a very wealthy and influential individual. He's also friends to Emperor Titus. Some characters say he is the second most powerful person in Italy after The Emperor. Others say he is the most powerful person in Rome.

Tropes:

  • The Beautiful Elite - He and his family are rich, charismatic, powerful upper class Romans.
  • Big Fancy House - The Villa Limona
  • Conspicuous Consumption - Lemons are very rare and exensive in Rome. He has a lemon tree of his own so he uses lemon juice for everything. He also gives away priceless antiques to children.
  • The Casanova
  • Drives Like Crazy - He drives recklessly fast, in part to show off his enthusiasm for living in the moment, and in part to test the courage of his passengers.
  • Historical Domain Character - Only partially. There was a rich patron named Pollius Felix that may have lived in the same place as the book character, but historians don't really know much about him.
  • The Mafia - Well, technically this is set before the modern Mafia, but this does take place in Italy and it is implied that he may be involved in shady dealings.
    • "Most of the crime in this whole area... can somehow or other be linked back to him. They call him the Patron."
    • Mooks - Felix has a number of men working for him that are officially clients but Pulchra calls soldiers. It is strongly implied that he had his bodyguard kill someone in one of the books
    • Of course, he also is friends to The Emperor and acts as Titus's agent in distributing disaster relief. He is patron to Flavia's uncle, who is not a criminal. So is he a criminal mastermind or an okay guy with a bad rep? It isn't so clear.
    • The Latin word patronus later became the Italian word padrino, the expression used to describe the godfather in the Mafia. Many have compared the Roman patron-client system to the workings of the modern Italian mafia.
  • Maid Corps - Not quite, but he is well supplied with slaves, all dressed in lemon-yellow, and even his kids each have personal slaves. Many of the slaves provide Felix with personal attention.
  • Red Oni - Personality wise, though there is no color association.
  • Travel Cool - In the TV series he drives a chariot. In the books he drives a more historically plausible example of a Roman carriage.

Polla Felicia Pulchra

Actor: Millie Binks

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/beautifulpulchra_4844.jpg
Pulchra in the TV Series

The daughter of Felix, Pulchra is introduced as the quintessential spoiled brat. However, because of the events of The Pirates Of Pompeii, her spoiled brat tendencies soften a bit and she becomes a friend to Flavia.

Tropes:

Rome

    Emperors 

Titus Flavius Vespasianus

Actor: Nicholas Farrell

Emperor Titus is a historical character who reigned as the emperor of Rome. His reign provides the time frame of the series. He off screen assumption of power (June, 79 AD) is mentioned in the first book and his death (September 81 AD) provides the plot of the final book. Titus appears briefly in The Pirates of Pompeii and plays a major role in The Assassins of Rome, The Enemies of Jupiter, The Gladiators from Capua. Titus is also mentioned in subsequent stories, and plays an important but off screen role in the final four books.

Tropes:

Titus Flavius Josephus

Actor: Andrew Scarborough

Josephus was a Real Life Jewish historian who is now remembered as one of the most important historical sources for 1st century Jewish history. He is a controversial figure, in that he accepted patronage from the Flavian emperors, who were hated by Jews for their role in suppressing the Jewish Revolt and destroying the Jewish Temple. He accepted Roman citizenship and changed his name from Yosef Ben Matityahu to Titus Flavius Josephus. In The Roman Mysteries, he appears in The Assassins of Rome and The Enemies of Jupiter. He is a member of Titus's court and completely loyal to Titus, even to the point of exposing Jonathan and his uncle as they try to infiltrate the imperial palace however he is is not depicted as a bad guy. In The Enemies of Jupiter he helps the Four Detectives in one of their investigations.

Tropes:

Titus Flavius Domitianus

Actor: Duncan Duff

Domitian is a Real Life character who is the younger brother of Emperor Titus. He is featured in The Assassins of Rome, The Gladiators from Capua and plays a role in all of the final four books.

Tropes:

  • The Caligula - As a matter of fact, his name was already listed as a Real Life example of The Caligula before this page was ever written. However, in story, examples include not only the historical anecdotes mentioned on that page, but also arranging for children to be eaten by crocodiles as part of the entertainment in the Flavian Ampitheatre and acting as if he were about to molest Nubia. Still, he isn't quite as bad as the actual Caligula, or even Nero.
  • Historical Domain Character
  • The Emperor - Domitian becomes the new Emperor of Rome by the end of The Man From Pomegranate Street.
  • The Unfavorite - Flauccus suggest that Dormition was the Unfavorite of his father and is also trying to gain his brother's approval, which might be his Freudian Excuse for much of his poor behavior.

Alternative Title(s): The Roman Mysteries Series

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