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Other Roman Figures

Apart from the emperors and rulers, there were many other notable figures in ancient Rome who contributed to the politics, culture, and intellectual life of the empire. From philosophers and writers to generals and politicians, these individuals played a crucial role in shaping the history and legacy of Rome. In this section, we will delve into the lives and achievements of some of the most prominent and influential personalities of the Roman world.

Representational image of the ancient Greek philosopher and biographer Plutarch. Source: Eduardo / Adobe Stock

The Legacy of Plutarch: One of the Greatest Minds of Ancient Greece

Plutarch is a historical figure whose name is a fundamental part of the world’s shared history, standing as one of antiquity's most revered biographers and philosophers. He was born around 46 AD in...
Engraving of Cornelius Tacitus from a drawing by Brooke. Source: Public domain

Tacitus: The Master Chronicler of Ancient Rome

Publius Cornelius Tacitus, better known as just Tacitus, is arguably one of the most illustrious figures in Roman historiography. His writings cast a profound light on the intricacies and nuances of...
Photo of a statue of Spartacus by Denis Foyatier, on display at the Louvre, combined with a 4th-century mosaic depicting gladiators. Source: Public domain

Spartacus: Gladiator and Leader of Slaves Against the Romans – Part 1

The Thracian born Roman gladiator known as Spartacus is now considered the stuff of legend. To this day, books, movies and TV shows have been created to highlight the strength of this heroic rebel...
Roman slave life meant a fate of brutality and the Roman Republic depended heavily on free work from human beings who had no rights nor possessions.  Source:  AS Photo Family/Adobe Stock

Bread, Chains and Rebellion, What It Was Like to Be a Roman Slave (Video)

Roman slavery was a grim reality, far removed from Hollywood glamour. Slaves, stripped of rights and possessions, endured lives of hardship and cruelty . Urban or rural, their roles spanned from...
Gladiators fighting.

The Gladiators Priscus and Verus: Equal they Fought, Equal they Yielded

“As Priscus and Verus each drew out the contest and the struggle between the pair long stood equal, shouts loud and often sought discharge for the combatants. But Titus obeyed his own law (the law...
Pastel style drawing of Anna Komnene writing the Alexiad in the monastery of the Virgin Mary Full of Grace.	Source: Midjourney AI / Public Domain

Anna Komnene: The Byzantine Biographer Princess and First Female Historian

These days, it seems that if an author wants to go straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, all they need to do is release a tell-all memoir or biography aimed at a famous...
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (1785) by Angelica Kauffman.

Who was Cornelia Africana and How Did She Become the Prototype of the Virtuous Roman Woman?

The life of Cornelia Africana could be the basis for a fascinating Hollywood super-production. Since the beginning, her tale was nothing but an adventurous story about a woman whose extraordinary...
Detail of ‘Caius Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage’ (1807) by John Vanderlyn.

Gaius Marius was the Savior of Ancient Rome, but was he a Hero or Villain?

Gaius Marius was easily one of the Roman Republic’s most accomplished men. He was a beloved general, influential military reformer, and a massively successful politician; but later in his career, he...
Replica of the Sarcophagus of Scipio Barbatus at the Scipios Tomb.

Hannibal’s Conqueror Brings Everlasting Glory to the Scipios Family Tomb

A monument created for one man stands in the heart of Rome, but it became an eternal house for his entire family. The remarkable construction conceals the secrets of generations of people whose fame...
Vestal Virgins Tending the Sacred Fire.

Vestal Virgins: Powerful Priestesses of Rome’s Sacred Flame

In the Res Gestae Divi Augustus (‘The Deeds of the Divine Augustus’), Augustus demonstrates his piety by stating that he was a member of all four major priesthoods in Rome – the Pontifices, Augures,...
‘Marius sitting on the Ruins of Carthage’ (circa 1791-1794) by Pierre-Joseph François.

Banished by Caesar and Executed by Mark Antony: Did the Charismatic ‘Grandson of Gaius Marius’ Have a Legitimate Claim to the Roman Empire?

Long before imposters claimed to be Anastasia of Russia’s Romanov dynasty, a genealogical mystery consumed ancient Rome. No later than 45 BC, a man emerged who claimed to be the famous Gaius Marius’...
Pliny the Elder

The Illustrious Life of Pliny the Elder, Ancient Historian and Roman Commander

Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known in history as Pliny the Elder, was an influential administrator, officer, and author during his life. Although he was only fifty-six years old at the time of his...
Detail of ‘The Love Potion’ (1903) by Evelyn de Morgan. Unlike the creation of this woman, Locusta of Gaul’s potions were made in hatred. Source: Public Domain

Locusta of Gaul – Nero’s Notorious Poison Maker

Poison was always the silent killer. Kings and emperors fell prey to it as easily as an unsuspecting servant. Throughout medieval and classical history, poison and those who knew how to prepare it...
Roman gladiators lived fascinating, brutal, lives

The Real Lives of Roman Gladiators

Roman gladiators are some of the most iconic characters in history and have defined how we think of entertainment in ancient Rome. Their portrayal in films and stories has turned them into archetypal...
Livia Drusilla: Imperial Wife of Rome and Emperor Maker

Livia Drusilla: Imperial Wife of Rome and Emperor Maker

Livia Drusilla was the third wife of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Prior to her marriage to Augustus, she was married to a Roman politician by the name of Tiberius Claudius Nero. Through this...
Marble busts of Didius Julianus who bought the Roman Empire at the end of the 2nd century AD in a facial reconstruction artwork created by Daniel Voshart. Source: Daniel Voshart / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Didius Julianus, the Man Who Bought the Roman Empire

In the year 193 AD an auction took place that sent shockwaves throughout the ancient world, as buyers competed for the greatest prize of a generation, the Roman Empire. Following the murder of...
The Emperor Commodus Leaving the Arena at the Head of the Gladiators by American muralist Edwin Howland Blashfield. Source: Public Domain

5 Celebrity Gladiators of Bloodthirsty Ancient Rome

Fierce fighters, enslaved and forced into a world of violence and brutality, Roman gladiators provided gruesome entertainment to the Roman public, training for months in specialized schools managed...
Montage of Roman Empire imagery including statue representative of Livy.	Source: Freesurf/Adobe Stock

Has Livy’s History of Rome Skewed Our View of the Early Empire?

Titus Livius, or just Livy for short, was one of the most famous historians in all of history. One of the three great Roman historians, his masterpiece, Ab Urbe Condita, made him a legend in his own...
The Frumentarii were the eyes and ears of the Roman Emperor. Source: oz/AdobeStock

Frumentarii - The Roman Emperor’s Eyes and Ears

Throughout the world’s history, many of the kingdoms, empires, and rulers depended on some sort of a secretive assistance. Powerful realms are like intricate machines - filled with secrets. To...
Lucretia And Tarquin, 17th century painting

The Rape of Lucretia: A History of the Ancient Wife Who Changed the Destiny of Rome

Sextus Tarquinius was the son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome who was engaged in the siege of Ardea at the time. One day, Sextus invited his friends for supper and drinks at his...