Fiction set in the Roman empire

Fiction set in the Roman empire

The following article Fiction set in the Roman Empire lists all works set in the Middle and Late Roman Republic and in the (Western) Roman Empire but not those set in the city of Rome or Byzantium.

The article lists works only from the Middle Republic when the city-state of Rome began to expand over Italy.

Historical novels listed in chronological order

Middle Republic

"If you know of works set in the Middle Republic, please expand this section."
* "Roma", published March 6, 2007, by Steven Saylor. According to the author's website, the book covers part of Rome's Republican history. [ Saylor, Steven. "Steven Saylor website". Retrieved May 16, 2007] No works, apart from Saylor's Roma, are known to be set partially or wholly in the Middle Republic. Books about Hannibal, such as David Anthony Durham's Pride of Carthage (2005), do feature Romans from the Middle Republic.

Late Republic

* "Spartacus" by Howard Fast
* "Spartacus" by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
* The "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough.
* The "Emperor" series by Conn Iggulden, is more alternate history than fictionalized biography in some respects.
*"Young Caesar" (1958) by Rex Warner
* "Pro Caelio" by Stephen Ciraolo, possibly based on Cicero's famous speech Pro Caelio defending a friend on various charges.
* "Imperium (novel)" by Robert Harris, showing Cicero's rise to the consulship in 63 BC; a fictionalized biography told by his slave, later freedman, Tiro
* "A Pillar of Iron" (1965) by Taylor Caldwell, a fictionalized biography of Cicero.
* "Imperial Caesar" 1960) also by Rex Warner
* "The Ides of March" by Thornton Wilder, culminating in Caesar's assassination."Julius Caesar (play)" (16th century) by Shakespeare
* "The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy" (2005) by Michael Curtis Ford
* "The Conquered" by Naomi Mitchison (1923) Gaul & Gallic Wars 1st century BC
* "Beric the Briton: A Story of the Roman Invasion" by G. A. Henty (1893)
* "The Education of Julius Caesar: A Biography, A Reconstruction" by Arthur D. Kahn Schocken Books, New York 1986

Early/High Empire (27 BC to 190 AD)

* "Legion" by William Altimari set during the reign of Augustus Caesar, takes place in 11 B.C. battle of the Lupia River
* "Centurion: A Novel of Ancient Rome" by Peter W. Mitsopoulos set during the reign of Augustus Caesar, takes place in 9A.D., battle of Teutoburg Forest
* "The Eagle of the Ninth" series by Rosemary Sutcliffe (1954) set in Roman Britain c130 AD
* "68 A.D." by D.G. Bellenger
* " [ The Wall] " by Paul Tilbury (2007) an account of a soldiers' life in the garrison manning Hadrians' Wall.
* "Let the Emperor Speak: A novel of Caesar Augustus" by Allan Massie, Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York, 1987 (First published in Great Britain in 1986 by the Bodley Head as AUGUSTUS).

The Julio-Claudian Dynasty

* "Caesar", "Anthony", "Augustus", "Tiberius", "Caligula" and "Nero's Heirs" by Allan Massie.

Books about early Christians or the Christ include:
* (1880) by Lew Wallace; famously made into a film starring Charlton Heston; set in the reign of Tiberius in Judaea, the Mediterranean, and Rome. Epilogues carry the story into the reign of Nero
* "The Robe" (1942), by Lloyd C. Douglas, set in the same period as Ben-Hur; like Ben-Hur, more famous as a film.

* "I Am a Barbarian" (1967, written 1941) by Edgar Rice Burroughs; the fictionalized memoirs of Caligula's slave.

Books about Claudius or set in his reign include:
* "I, Claudius" (1934) and its sequel, "Claudius the God" (1935), by Robert Graves. The classic and influential dramatised account of the life of the emperor Claudius, made into a popular TV series (see below).
* The Eagle series by Nigerian-born British novelist Simon Scarrow. The first book "Under the Eagle" (part of the Eagle series) was published 2000 by Simon Scarrow. Story of Roman invasion of Britain, featuring a young Vespasian. Other books in the series include "The Eagle's Conquest" (2001 set in 42 AD (introducing Boudicca at the end); "When the Eagle Hunts" (2002) set in 44 AD. Other books in the series include "The Eagle and the Wolves" (2003), "The Eagle's Prey" (2004), "The Eagle's Prophecy" (2005), "The Eagle in the Sand" (2006), and the forthcoming "Centurion" (January - 2008).

Books set in Nero's reign include:
* "Quo Vadis" (1895/1896), by Henryk Sienkiewicz set in the reign of Nero in 64 AD.
* "" by Rebecca East
* "A Song for Nero" (2003) by Tom Holt, writing as Thomas Holt.

The Flavian Dynasty

* "The Last Days of Pompeii" by E.G.Bulwer-Lytton
* "Pompeii" by Robert Harris, set in the reign of Titus. A film is forthcoming in 2008.

The Nervan-Antonian Dynasty

* "Medicus" (2007) by Ruth Downie; debut in a mystery series concerning a military doctor stationed in Britannia.

Middle Empire (191 AD to -- AD), when Diocletian splits the Empire

* "Helena" by Evelyn Waugh; follows the quest of the Empress Helena, a Christian and the mother of Emperor Constantine to uncover the remains of the cross upon which Christ was crucified.
* "Mémoires d'Hadrien" by Marguerite Yourcenar
* "Following Hadrian: A Second-Century Journey through the Roman Empire" by Elizabeth Speller
* "The Last Legion: A Novel" by Valerio Massimo Manfredi; fictionalized story of the emperor Valerian and what might have happened to his surviving retinue.
* "The Water Thief" (2007) by Ben Pastor; in 304 AD the historian to Diocletian investigates the death of Antinous, Hadrian's favored male consort.

Late Empire: West (-457 AD)

* "The Young Julian" by Thomas J., Ph.D. Hairston
* "Julian" (1964 by Gore Vidal, fictionalized biography of the emperor Julian who tried to revive Paganism
* "Eagle in the Snow" (1970) by Wallace Breem; set in Britannia and Germania in the late 4th and early 5th Century; features a Mithraic Roman general.
* "Titus Andronicus" (play) (16th century) by Shakespeare, based on a fictional Imperial Roman general fighting the Goths.
* "Gods And Legions: A Novel of the Roman Empire" (2002) by Michael Curtis Ford
* "The Sword of Attila: A Novel of the Last Years of Rome" (2005) by Michael Curtis Ford
* "The Fall of Rome: A Novel of a World Lost" (2007) by Michael Curtis Ford

Late Empire: Byzantine (-457 AD)

Other books about the Byzantine empire and the Crusades are listed under fiction set in Byzantium

* "Count Belisarius" (1938), by Robert Graves, set in the 6th century AD, in the reign of JustinianJustinian, a novel, by H N Turteltaub August 1998

Unknown period

* "Avventura nel primo secolo" by Paolo Monelli
* "The Roman" (1964) by Mika Waltari
* "The Door in the Wall", "The Key", "The Lock" by Benita Kane Jaro
* "Sand of the Arena" by James Duffy
* "The Nero Prediction" by Humphry Knipe
* "In the Army of Marcus Batallius" by David M. Ross
* "Gods and Legions: A Novel of The Roman Empire" by Michael Curtis Ford
* "The Quest For the Lost Roman Legions" by Tony Clunn
* "Three's Company", "Winter Quarters", "Conscience of the King", "The Little Emperors" and "Family Favourites" by Alfred Duggan
* "Domitia & Domitian" by David Corson
* "Games of Venus" by Sylvia Shults
* "The Flames of Rome" by Paul L. Maier
* "Antonia" by Brenda Jagger
* "The Tribune: A Novel of Ancient Rome" by Patrick Larkin
* "Hadrian's Wall: A Novel" by William Dietrich
* "The Centurion: A Novel" (1986) by Jan de Hartog

Detective fiction

* The "Roma Sub Rosa" series (1991-2005) by Steven Saylor, starts with "Roman Blood" (1991); the books cover the period 80 BC to 48 BC.
* The "Marcus Didius Falco" series by Lindsey Davis, starts with The Silver Pigs; set in the reign of Vespasian.
* The "SPQR" series by John Maddox Roberts.
* The "Germanicus Mosaic" series by Rosemary Rowe - set in Roman Britain.
* The "I, Claudia" series of novels by Marilyn Todd featuring her picaresque heroine Claudia Seferius
* The "Publius Aurelius" series by Danila Comastri Montanari
* The "Eagle" series by Simon Scarrow
* The "Marcus Corvinus" series by David Wishart
* "", by Anne Hart
* The "Roman Mysteries" young adults' detective/drama series by Caroline Lawrence
* The "Caius Trilogy" by German author Henry Winterfeld: "Caius ist ein Dummkopf" (Caius is an Idiot); "Caius geht ein Licht auf" (Caius has an Inspiration), and "Caius in der Klemme" (Caius in a Fix). The first part was published in English with the alternate title "Detectives in Togas". The second was published in English with the alternate title "Mystery of the Roman Ransom".
* "The Third Princess: A Septimus Severus Quistus Roman Mystery" by Philip Boast

cience fiction

=Science fiction/time travel novels=

* "Caesar's Bicycle" (1997) (Timeline Wars series) by John Barnes
* "Household Gods" (1999), by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove set in the reign of Marcus Aurelius

Alternate universe fiction

"The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes prior to the present day."
* "Lest Darkness Fall" (1939 by L. Sprague de Camp; time-travel and alternate history set in 535 AD.
* "Agent of Byzantium" by Harry Turtledove set in an alternate 14th century with no Islam.
* "Hannibal's Children" and its sequel "The Seven Hills" by John Maddox Roberts

"The following alternate history story is set in a fictional universe prior to the present day"
* "Delenda Est" (1955) by Poul Anderson; now available in "Guardians of Time" (1960 and 1985) editions); Rome defeated by Carthage in the Second Punic War and what follows.

"The following alternate history novels are set in fictional universes where the Roman Empire never fell, and has endured to the present day:"
* "Romanitas" (2005), by Sophia McDougall
* "Rome Burning" (2006), sequel to "Romanitas", by Sophia McDougall
* "Roma Eterna", a 2003 novel by Robert Silverberg
* The Germanicus trilogy, a collection of books by Kirk Mitchell.
* "Orbis (novel)" (2002), by Scott Mackay Romans return to a modern day Earth to retake it from Alien invaders who exiled them centuries ago and imposed a strange form of Christianity.

Comic books

* "Asterix" series by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations)

Works inspired by Roman history, or by works of fiction and non-fiction about Rome

Science fiction inspired by Rome or works about Rome

*"Empire of the Atom", by A. E. van Vogt, translates Graves' novel (above) into a science fiction context
*The "Foundation series" by Isaac Asimov is derived from Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Comic books

* "Leading Comics" - in the 1940s, a series called "Nero Fox" (about a funny animal fox named Nero Fox, who was emperor of Rome) was published as a backup series in this comic title.
* "Trigan Empire" was a Science Fiction comic series telling of adventures on the planet Elekton with many similarities to the Roman Empire


* "Quo Vadis" - U.S. 1951 director Mervyn LeRoy
* "The Robe" - U.S. 1953 director Henry Koster
* "Demetrius and the Gladiators" - U.S. 1954 director Delmer Daves (sequel to "The Robe")
* "Jupiter's Darling - U.S. 1955 director George Sidney, based on a play by Robert Sherwood
* "Ben-Hur" U.S. 1959
* "Spartacus" - U.S. 1960 director Stanley Kubrick
* "Cleopatra" - U.S. 1963 director Joseph L. Mankiewicz
* "The Fall of the Roman Empire" - U.S. 1964 director Anthony Mann
* "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" - U.S. 1966 director Richard Lester
* "Satyricon" - Italy 1970 director Federico Fellini
* "Caligula" - U.S. 1979 director Tinto Brass
* "History of the World Part 1" - U.S. 1981 director Mel Brooks
* "Gladiator" - U.S. 2000 director Ridley Scott
* "Quo Vadis" - Polish/U.S. 2001 director Jerzy Kawalerowicz, remake of 1951 film


*Joseph Addison
** "Cato"
*Albert Camus
** "Caligula"
*Henrik Ibsen
**"Emperor and Galilean"
*Ben Jonson
** "Sejanus, His Fall"
*Heinrich von Kleist
** "Die Hermannsschlacht"
*William Shakespeare
** "Titus Andronicus"
** "Julius Caesar"
** "Antony and Cleopatra"
** "Coriolanus"
** "Cymbeline"
*Robert Sherwood
**"The Road to Rome" (1927), on which a little-known 1955 film "Jupiter's Darling" was based.
*Stephen Sondheim
** "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"


* "I, Claudius"
* "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (part of season 8)
* "Up Pompeii!"
* "The Roman Holidays"
* "Rome"
* "Spartacus " miniseries by Robert Dornhelm (director)
* "" a dramatized documentary
* "Julius Caesar" minisieries by Uli Edel

Video Games

* ""
* ""
* The "Caesar" video games series
* ""
* "Legion Arena"
* ""
* ""
* ""

ee also

*Fiction set in Ancient Greece


External links

* [ Fictional Rome]
* [ The Detective and the Toga - Roman mysteries]

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