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Comic Book / Les Aigles de Rome

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"You will be a great god of war, Ermanamer, you will rule our people and your enemies... Riding a white horse, you will emerge from our deep, black forests... And you will forever chase Romans away from our land..."
Freja the Seer

Les Aigles de Rome (The Eagles of Rome) is a French comic book series by Enrico Marini taking place in the early first century, and is mostly about the origins and happening of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest through the eyes of two men, one on each side of the Rhine, though they are friends.

After the Romans defeated and made the tribes of Germania swear allegiance to the former's empire, the latter must provide them with hostages to prove their goodwill in maintaining the alliance. Ermanamer, the son of the chief of the Cherusci, is brought to Rome. At the same time in Italia, Marcus Valerius Falco, the son of a veteran officer, is brought to the capital by his father, who is to meet with the Emperor. The elder Falco is charged with Ermanamer, who is renamed Arminius, in order to make him a true Roman along with his own son. Through long and arduous training, the two young men come to bond to the point of being blood-brothers. But Ermanamer has his own calling on the other side of the Rhine...


Tropes in this work:

  • Abduction Is Love: When Segestes refuses to marry off Thusnelda to Arminius, he and his men sneak into Segestes' town and kidnap Thusnelda so they can elope together. Since they're already head over heels in love with each other prior to this incident, she's very happy with this state of affairs.
  • Abusive Parents: As normal as his behavior is for his time, Falco Sr is physically and mentally abusive of his son, and it shaped Marcus as a man.
  • The Ace: Arminius is an excellent warrior by the standards of both the Romans and the Germans. By the time he reaches full maturity, he is confident in his fighting skills to the point where he boasts to Marcus that the latter had never beaten him in single combat in all the years they've known one another.
  • Action Dad: What Titus Valerius Falco, Marcus's father, used to be, before he took an arrow to the thigh that prevents him from even walking without a stick. Meanwhile, Ermanamer's father Sigmar also leads his tribesmen into battle despite his age.
    • Marcus becomes one after he fathers Titus with Priscilla.
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  • Adorably Precocious Child: Titus, Priscilla's son. The kid still has more than that into him.
  • Aerith and Bob: Played with. All barbarians brought to Rome are given Roman names. Thus, Ermanamer is known as Arminius to the Romans, and it's strongly implied that Albinia is not the original name of Marcus' mother too.
  • A Father to His Men: Arminius, Marcus, and Prefect Eggius. As in Real Life, the last is one of the few Roman officers who actually attempts to lead his troops competently during the Battle of Teutoberg Forest. In this universe, he is slain by Segestes during the Romans' Last Stand at the Great Swamp.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: As long as he's not a Roman, for Thusnelda.
  • Alpha Bitch: Morphea, "the most beautiful whore in Rome", is petty enough that she will swear terrible revenge on anyone who fails to attend her lavish orgies.
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • Albinia, Marcus's mother, is a German princess who was married off to his father to consolidate the peace between Rome and her people.
    • Invoked by Segestes, who wishes to marry off his daughters - including Thusnelda - to affluent Romans for this reason.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Marcus receives an ornate gladius that belonged to his grandfather at the end of Book 2 before he leaves for Germania. Doubles as a Cool Sword.
  • Ancient Rome: Set during the reign of Emperor Augustus, the city of Rome itself is actually only half of the setting. The other half being the wild frontiers of Germania.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: After Marcus saves Thamis from ritual drowning by her husband Loknar, the chieftain of the Bructeri tribe, she is more than willing to offer him Rescue Sex.
    Thamis: You saved my life and now I'm yours.
    What? You don't fancy me? Or do you prefer men?
  • Arranged Marriage: A central motif in the plot, as upper class Roman families created and maintained ties to one another in this manner.
    • Marcus' father and his mother Albinia. See Altar Diplomacy above.
    • Marcus is betrothed to Silvia, the daughter of a patrician. She loves him, but he hates her for not being Priscilla.
    • Lucilla is married off to a fat old Roman senator, though she asks Arminius to deflower her before she leaves. When they run into each other in Rome, Lucilla turns out to be pretty happy. The senator in question is quite the hedonist, and their marriage is an open one.
    • Priscilla is married to Quintus Aemilius Lepidus, the grandson of one of Emperor Augustus' disgraced rivals, as part of a bid by the latter to regain his family's power in Rome.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • While the series by and large is brilliantly researched, several of the historical events depicted are condensed, simplified, or had their sequence of events altered for the sake of efficient storytelling.
      • The conclusive stage of the Battle of Teutoberg Forest, which occurred in a large swamp now known as Kalkriese Hill, is depicted as follows: Varus and his officers lead their battered army away from the forest swarming with Germans and into the Great Swamp. On their way there, Legatus Vala attempts to flee back across the Rhine on his own accord, but is intercepted and killed. The Romans enter the Great Swamp only to find themselves trapped by Arminius' army behind a long wooden wall, and Prefect Eggius is forced to take command of the Romans when Varus is too traumatized to do so. Prefect Ceionius then surrenders and is captured to be tortured in full view of the Romans, which is followed by the Germans storming the field and slaughtering most of the defiant Romans and Eggius with them.
      • Arminius was supposed to have a younger brother, Flavia, who was also brought up in Rome and joined the army. Flavus forsake his Germanic roots and choose to stay with the Romans. Supposedly, the author decided to combine this arc into Marcus' story.
    • By the naming standards of the time, Lucilla's name should be Valeria, as Romans women were called for their father's family name (here, Titus Valerius Falco). Priscilla, for example, is the daughter of Priscus.
  • Asshole Victim: By the end of Book 5, Lepidus is killed by Arminius as he was about to kill his abused wife Priscilla and her son Titus. Meanwhile, Varus commits suicide after his hubris leads to the deaths of thousands of Roman soldiers and civilians under his command, culminating in one of the Roman Empire's worst defeats.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • To unite the German tribes, Ermanamer has to prove his competence by defeating another German chieftain.
    • Meanwhile, Marcus has to cement his authority over a leaderless Roman garrison by dueling a defiant centurion who had become its leader prior to his arrival.
  • Attempted Rape: After Morphea and Lepidus intercepts Marcus' attempt to flee from Rome with Priscilla, the thugs they hired attempt to rape a naked Marcus in a slum's alley. They are killed in time by Volcanus, who had been warned by Arminius.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: By Book 4, Ermanamer has married Thusnelda and become the official leader of the German resistance against Rome.
  • Badass Boast: Almost every single named character, but especially the males, gets to deliver at least one.
    • Cabar gives one of the most memorable in the series after fighting off a band of Managarms ("moon wolves"), German bandits dressed only in wolf-skins.
    Cabar: As a child I used to hunt lions. A pack of wolves doesn't scare me.
  • Barbarian Longhair: All of the Germans have it. Arminius keeps it cut above his shoulders though, also probably due to his Roman upbringing.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Ermanamer and Marcus don't have many scars to testify from their battles. Even more so: Priscilla endures years of physical abuse from her husband, but it doesn't show at all (except right after he beats her).
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: None more than the conclusive stage of the Battle of Teutoberg Forest in Book 5. It features a Splash Panel with numerous male characters from both sides all fighting in different places as Varus' army makes its Last Stand in the Great Swamp.
  • Big Guy: The Germans in general. They call Romans "an army of dwarfs".
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Marcus' (the Falcos) and Priscilla's (the Priscuses).
  • Blind Seer: Freya the woods witch, who predicts Ermanamer's rise to power and his rebellion against the Romans, is apparently blind, given her Prophet Eyes.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three main men in the series: Arminius is the blond, Marcus is the brunet and Lepidus is the redhead. See also: Thusnelda the blonde, Priscilla the brunette and Thamis the redhead.
  • Blood Brothers: Arminius and Marcus become this in their teenage years, after Marcus saved Arminius's life by killing a bear. Arminius breaks the oath in a fit of rage after Marcus decides to part ways with him in favor of Priscilla, but the memory of their friendship remains strong.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
  • Bookworm: In his younger years, Marcus is considered one because he is fond of poetry. This displeases his father, who sees this interest in literature as effeminate.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Priscilla. Being married by force to a man you hate is a thing, but then have your own mother, a renowned prostitute, bed her lover and hear him say he loves her, being reconciled with him only to have to leave him behind, enduring years of abuse from her husband and eventually meeting her Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of German warriors after seeing her son taken away from her...
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: How Marcus's father views him in Book 2.
  • The Casanova: Despite being in love with Priscilla, Marcus doesn't hesitate in engaging with other women. To be fair, he does so because Priscilla isn't available for most of the time.
  • The Cassandra: Marcus knows Ermanamer is up to something massive, but given that he's hated by his superiors, they would believe him.
  • Celeb Crush: At a Roman camp in Germania around 9CE, one of the German recruits talks about how much he'd like to meet "that beautiful Egyptian queen", Cleopatra VII. A fellow legionnaire has to tell him that she's been dead for more than half a century.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ermanamer didn't abduct Thusnelda just for love, it also gave him a reason to claim that his new father-in-law, Segestes, was lying to get a revenge for that when he came to expose Ermanamer's plan to his Roman superiors.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Everything that Arminius learned in Roman strategy from Marcus's father helped him overthrow the Roman legion in his homeland.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Both protagonists, as Ermanamer was born in the Cherusci land across the Rhine, but spent his teenage years in Rome as Arminius. Similarly, Marcus is the son of a Roman war commander and a German princess, but his father wouldn't allow him to embrace anything from her mother's side.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Marcus will not hesitate to save a woman who is about to be killed for adultery... As long as he gets to bed her afterwards.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: Averted: the drawings of the childbirth of a slave girl either Marcus or Arminius impregnated are incredibly gory. Neither she or the child lives. Marcus's mother forces the two boys to watch as a lesson.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Silvia becomes mad with rage at the very mention of Priscilla.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Both Marcus and Arminius, considering they were brought up to be soldiers.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Averted. Though they both have attaches on the other side, Marcus is loyal to Rome and Ermanamer to his people. They don't hesitate for a second.
  • Cool Mask: Lepidus's helmet also includes a mask of his own (more god-like) face.
  • Cool Sword: The one Ermanamer won as a young teen by killing its Suevic owner; the gladius Marcus received from his father before he left to Germania.
  • Cool Uncle: Marcus's uncle is an easy-going hedonist who hosts the two young men during their stays in the big city.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • At the end of book 5, Priscilla is raped by a group of German warriors and decapitated while being raped.
    • Legatus Numonius Vala, the second highest ranking Roman officer next to Varus, is cut in two along with his escort and horses when their retreat is intercepted by the Germans. Their body parts are hung from a tree and made into a grotesque display in the Great Swamp.
  • Crusading Widower: What Marcus is likely to become after book 5.
  • Culture Clash: What Arminius experiences as he arrives in Rome: though he speaks Latin thanks to a soldier made slave back home, he is illiterate and doesn't know anything about basic Roman tactics or what they worship.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ermanamer is very aware of the superiority in number and strategy of the Romans, but thanks to sabotage, he manages to spread the legions enough so that the final battle is this.
  • Daddy's Girl: Thusnelda used to be this back when her father was fighting the Romans invading their lands. She despises him now that he trades with them.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Lucilla, while spying on Arminius and her brother having sex with a slave girl.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Vala, the Varus' second-in-command, as part of his Cruel and Unusual Death along with his aide-de-camp.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: While Old Falco might not hate Arminius (he is a promising ward, after all, and his own wife is Germanic), both he and Lucilla are convinced that her father will kill him if he finds him abed with her. It only makes the affair more exciting for both of them.
  • Death by Childbirth: Marcus and Arminius have their first sexual experience together with the same slave girl. One of them impregnates her and it doesn't end well for her.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: Legatus Vala understands that his troops are doomed and tries to flee on horseback through the woods. In doing so, he isolates himself and is killed by the Germans offscreen.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Marcus's mother, who clearly was more concerned for his safety and mental well-being than his father, dies early in Book 1.
  • Defiant to the End: A recurring trope in the series given its emphasis on military life and history.
    • During the finale of Book 5, Prefect Eggius leads the remnants of Varus' now broken Roman army in a Last Stand at the Great Swamp, where Ermanamer's army is waiting for them behind wooden walls that leave the Romans trapped in it. He gives a fatalistic Rousing Speech that kickstarts the battle by ending with an insult to the Germans' main god:
    Eggius: Soldiers of Rome! I will not bend my back before these sons of whores! I will not end up the slave of the Germani! I am a Roman! And I will die like a Roman! And I say: WODAN SUCKS COCK!
  • Depraved Homosexual: After Marcus arrives at the camp of General Varus with invitation from Emperor Augustus about his assignment and orders for Varus to make good use of him, Varus grows a lecherous smile and jokes that he'll probably "find some use" for Marcus.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Marcus survives the Battle of Teutoburg Forest while his romantic rival Lepidus is killed, but Priscilla is raped and decapitated while his son Titus is enslaved by the Germans.
  • Dirty Business: Morphea has a group of misfits to do hers. For more prestigious dirty business, like bodyguarding her daughter, she has Cabar.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ermanamer's dies in book 3; Marcus's is terminally ill at the end of book 2.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Played with. While the scene where Morphea rapes Marcus is disturbing and drawn as such, it is still filled with fanservice, and the emotional heart of the scene is less the rape and more the misunderstanding that follows. Meanwhile, in the following scene, a man is prevented from comitting the exact same crime, to the same victim, because that would be the sort of rape that would actually kill the power fantasy.
  • The Dragon: What Lepidus is to Varus, and what Seianus is to Lepidus.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Ermanamer pretends to be The Dragon to Varus, but is actually getting information from the inside in order to drive the Roman legions away from his lands.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Marcus often has vague prophetic dreams.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the Roman tradition, a commander can survive too mighty a defeat, because as a consul he can't be taker alive. Varus doesn't manage to impale himself and so asks his help to kill him instead.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Marcus's mother dies suddenly and for no visible reason. We just know that Lucilla, her step-daughter, prayed for her death (though she hoped for something more painful).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Segestes first appears when sons of German chiefs are given away to Rome, but his role gets expanded much more from book 3 on.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: When they first see Morphea naked, both Marcus and Arminius can't do anything but stare for a moment.
  • Ephebophile: Marcus and Arminius's trainer is an old gladiator with a thing for very young men, though Marcus said that if he ever approached him too close, he'd cut off his cupidus. Marcus's father also has a young man for a favorite, and Varus beds his squire. This was acceptable for the time period, so long as the younger partner was a slave and not a Roman citizen.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Ermanamer mercilessly lets his men rape and murder Priscilla, but makes sure to save her (and Marcus's) son.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Arminius is offered services by a male prostitute in book 1. He doesn't take kindly to it.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Due to being Ancient Rome, where being attracted to both women and effeminate men was completely normal. Marcus and Arminius seem to be used to having threesomes with prostitutes, although they're not interested in each other.
  • Evil Redhead: Lepidus. Thamis, who took advantage of Marcus's lust for her to free the German prisoners, is also redhead, but how evil that action was depends on what side you're on.
  • Evil Uncle: Ingomar, Ermanamer's uncle, doesn't trust his nephew and has too much pride to be commanded by him.
  • Famous Ancestor: Lepidus is the grandson of Lepidus the triumvir, who was supposed to command the empire with Octavian and Mark-Anthony. As a result, he considers the emperor betrayed his grandfather and wants revenge against him.
  • Female Gaze: Marcus and Arminius get to show their amazing bodies more than a few times (though it should be noted that like most comic book heroes, they are built more like male power fantasies than female sexual fantasies).
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Marcus's wants him to be a cold-blooded soldier and none of that poetry business.
  • Fat Bastard: Varus. Cassius, Lucilla's husband, also counts.
  • Femme Fatale: Morphea.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: Arminius was brought up in the same house as Lucilla and has an affair with her.
  • Flowers of Romance: Priscilla makes a crown of them for Marcus during one of their dates.
  • Foreign Fanservice:
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Completely seriously.
    Marcus: It's the fifth time we see each other. It's time to ask your father for your hand.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Due to being a Historical Domain Character, anyone with basic knowledge of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest will know that Arminius will eventually betrayed the Romans and lead a successful revolt against them.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Arminius doesn't approve of Marcus' relationship with Priscilla, as he believes it could ruin his career (not unreasonably), and foils his plan to elope with her. Apparently, he still dislikes her years after, allowing his men to brutally rape and murder her.
  • Frontline General: Ermanamer leads his warriors into battle.
  • Gratuitous Rape: Because it would be a shame not to abuse a woman when there's one around, especially after a good battle.
  • Green-Eyed Redhead: Loknar, the Chatte chief, and his wife Thamis.
  • Grim Up North: Most of the Italian Romans hate being posted in Germania for this reason.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played straight with Albinia. More complicated with Ermanamer and Thusnelda.
  • Happily Married: As of book 4, Ermanamer and Thusnelda.
  • Heart Is Where the Home Is: Marcus's love interest is the daughter of a Roman patrician, Ermanamer's is the daughter of a Cherusci chief.
  • The Hedonist: Varus.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ermanamer has Marcus discredited when he tries to denounce him. If it weren't for their childhood friendship, he most likely would have had him killed like his decurion.
  • Heroic Bastard: Given that he is the son of a second marriage, with a non-Roman mother, Marcus is often called a bastard.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Marcus and Arminius in books 1 and 2.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Morphea is qualified as pretty cheap, but the fact that she chooses her clients herself gives her some prestige. Her orgias are a summit of high-ranking people and the child she gave a patrician was legitimated.
  • Historical Domain Character: Arminius, of course. There's also Varus, Augustus and an Early-Bird Cameo of Sejanus, who will get important during Tiberius's reign.
  • Home Field Advantage: One of the reasons the Germans had such an easy victory.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Varus trusts all the people he should be defiant of, and has those he should trust punished.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Arminius to Varus. Obviously, he's a Dragon with an Agenda.
  • If I Do Not Return: Before the great battle of book five, Marcus tells Titus he wishes he could have known him better and entrusts the five-year-old with a dagger to protect his mother. He does, and it saves him.
  • Ignored Expert: Several commanders advise Varus against moving the entire colony south when the native peoples are so agitated, but he doesn't listen.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: When a tree falls on the way and separates the colony, Marcus knows its a trick to scatter the troops. They are attacked a moment after that.
  • Insult of Endearment: As they swear an oath to become Blood Brothers, Marcus and Arminius keep insulting each other as they swear to protect each other too.
    Arminius: Marcus... You're a big dumbass... You can't pee straight... You couldn't tell a girl from a sheep... And by miracle, you saved my life... Still... With my blood, I swear to be your brother forever.
    Marcus: I too swear to always give you a hand to reach for if you trip on your own cock, brother.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Marcus and his former tutor Volcanus enventually share one.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Phidias and Nektarios. Most characters, living in a society that worships hypermasculinity, are disgusted.
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: To break off the burgeoning (and politically-inconvenient) relationship between Marcus and her daughter Priscilla, the High-Class Call Girl Morphea forces Priscilla to overhear her having sex with Marcus (having drugged and bound him beforehand), and hear Marcus say he loves Morphea. As soon as Priscilla's gone she has Marcus thrown out.
  • Kill the Cutie: Goodbye, Priscilla.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Priscilla has the same kind of beauty and gentleness as Albinia.
  • The Lost Woods: Teutoburg Forest for the Romans. They even say it's haunted.
  • Love Father, Love Son: While in Rome, Marcus is a sexual partner for the high-class whore Morphea, but later falls in love with Priscilla, who turns out to be Morphea's daughter. Her husband Lepidus is also one of Morphea's patrons.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: At least, when mixed with alcohol. A drunk Marcus comes to ask for Priscilla's hand while fully knowing she is betrothed (and the fiancé is in the next room). Priscilla asks her father to spare him, calling him an idiot, and he lets him go because he was young and stupid too once and they never had sex before.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Titus eventually understands that Marcus is his real father after spying on his mother. He is not happy about it.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ermanamer. And proud of it.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: We get to see Marcus fully naked twice or thrice, notably when he is vulnerable.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Lepidus, with his Cool Mask helmet.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Titus looks an AWFUL lot like some other guy we know...
  • Marry for Love: Ermanamer and Thusnelda. When her father refuses the marriage, she elopes to him. Marcus and Priscilla would have loved that too but it is impossible, she is already engaged.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The reaction of the Roman army when they see the thousands of German warriors waiting for them in the swamps.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There is a lot of Dreaming of Things to Come in the series.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Falco, Marcus's surname, means Falcon, and he has a pet falcon.
    • The name Arminius symbolizes the wish to rip Ermanamer from his heritage and turn him Roman.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Because this is Ancient Rome after all, some standards have to be respected.
  • The Mentor: Volcanus trains Marcus and Arminius in combat, Marcus's father trains them in military strategy.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Ermanamer is shown in the first pages around five years before the story itself starts.
  • Missing Mom: Albinia dies in book 1. Ermanamer's mother is never mentioned. As of book 5, Titus lost his own mother.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Many of Marcus and Arminius's friends at the training camp believe they are in a relationship.
  • Momma's Boy: Marcus is initially indulged by his kindhearted German mother. Arminius even calls him so. His stern Roman father puts a swift end to it in order to shape him up into a stoic soldier.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Thusnelda gets some very nice, very transparent clothes.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lepidus wants to be this to the Germans.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Marcus promised he'd come back to protect Priscilla after the battle. Alas, he was too late.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: The comic dramatizes the life of Ermanamer the German, who grew up among the Romans as a political hostage before uniting the tribes under his leadership after he returns to his homeland and lures three Roman legions into a trap at Teutoburg Wald, driving the Romans out of Germania for good.
  • Papa Wolf: Marcus is determined to go through an entire battlefield, wounded, exhausted and almost delirious, to protect Titus.
  • Plot Armor: Ermanamer is basically immortal until the point of his historical death. Marcus will most likely live long enough to see all of the events the series cover.
  • Praetorian Guard: Of course. They even find Marcus naked in bed with a senator's wife. He wonders how they were able to find him so quickly, establishing that they have ears anywhere in Rome.
  • Princess Classic: Priscilla, the only difference being that she's not Blue Blood.
  • Proper Lady: Priscilla is virtuous and beautiful, in stark contrast with her mother.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: One for the Roman side. Everything Marcus and his troops have done to warn Varus about Arminius' plans is all for nought and three Roman legions are destroyed. All the competent Roman officers such as Eggius, Caelius, and Tassilo are killed. Priscilla dies a gruesome death at the hands of Arminius and the Germans, who enslave Titus. However, Marcus and Cabar survive the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and successfully prevent the last eagle standard from being captured before slipping away. Anyone with further knowledge will know that Rome will send another army under Germanicus to avenge Varus'.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: As a boy, Ermanamer secretly tags along with his father Sigmar's band of warriors. He's almost killed by a warrior from a rival tribe, but manages to kill the attacker instead. Sigmar is furious, but also pleased that his son has become a man.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Emperor Augustus is depicted as a charismatic and capable administrator who is more than open to reasoned discussion.
  • Red Herring: As he is Segestes's guest, Marcus is warned to be wary of Thusnelda, his daughter, because she's Ermanamer's love interest. They don't even interact at all.
  • La Résistance: The German tribes ally against the Roman invader.
  • Retargeted Lust: After she raped Marcus and threw him out in the street, Morphea has Lepidus come finish her off.
    Morphea: Come. This dog left me in heat.
  • Rich Bitch: Lucilla. She becomes even worse as the wife of a senator.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Marcus is the (slightly more) Sensitive Guy to Ermanamer's Manly Man.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Vala tries this... And fails miserably.
  • Secret Relationship: Between Priscilla and Marcus. He wanted to make it official, only to learn she was betrothed to another man.
  • Seers: One predicted to a child Ermanamer that he would lead his people to push the Romans out of their land.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Priscilla was not ready for life in Germania. However, she endures everything with a lot of courage.
  • Shown Their Work: Though it did take some liberties (Marcus's character is fictional), the series is incredibly accurate according to the work of historians.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Morphea is very dangerous. It reads on her face.
  • Son of a Whore: Priscilla is revealed to be the daughter of Morphea, a High-Class Call Girl in high demand in Rome. It speaks greatly to Morphea's social status that Priscilla was legitimated as the legal daughter of the Roman patrician who sired her.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Marcus and Priscilla.
  • A Threesome is Manly: Marcus and Arminius have threesomes with various prostitutes during their time in Rome, being Blood Brothers and all. Subverted, in that the classic trope is a one guy-two girls power fantasy situation, while this, despite oozing the male power fantasy, is a one girl-two guys situation.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Segestes is initially an ally of the Romans, and often has them as guests in his home. For Thusnelda, who hates them, this is this trope.
  • Wall Glower: Arminius during the orgia organized by Morphea. She and Lucilla have to drag him into it.
  • Warrior Princess: Thusnelda is the daughter of Chief Segestes, and a fierce woman who commands men around her with ease.
  • Wartime Wedding: Ermanamer adbucted and bedded Thusnelda (the reader saw no ceremony as itself) right he went to claim his right as the leader of the rebellion of the tribes.
  • Wicked Stepmother: How Lucilla sees Albinia. The only time the reader sees Albinia act this way against her is when she slapped her for shrugging off the horrible Death by Childbirth of a slave girl.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Lepidus does not hesitate to beat his wife.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Lepidus is determined to kill Titus after learning he's not his son. Even before that, he was pretty abusive.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Caelius is uneasy about how elusive the tribesmen have become, how merchants appear to be spying on the Romans based in Germania and how the forthcoming expedition could be open to attack. Most of the veteran officers dismiss his concerns due to his youth. Marcus also tries to warn Varus of Arminius' treachery but is framed for the murder of a fellow Roman and thus disbelieved by Varus and other officers until it is too late.
  • Young Conqueror: Ermanamer is only in his mid-twenties and leads the Cherusci to drive away the Roman settlements.
  • Younger Than They Look: By the time of the battle of Teutoburg Wood, Marcus and Ermanamer are in their mid-twenties, but look about ten years older.