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Article Details:

Ancient Rome

  • Author Staff

  • Website Name

  • Year Published


  • Title

    Ancient Rome

  • URL

  • Access Date

    December 05, 2016

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks


Article #1

Genre Historical drama
Created by John Milius
William J. MacDonald
Bruno Heller
Starring Kevin McKidd
Ray Stevenson
Ciarán Hinds
Kenneth Cranham
Lindsay Duncan
Tobias Menzies
Kerry Condon
Karl Johnson
Indira Varma
David Bamber
Max Pirkis
Lee Boardman
Nicholas Woodeson
Suzanne Bertish
Paul Jesson
James Purefoy
Polly Walker
Simon Woods
Lyndsey Marshal
Ian McNeice
Composer(s) Jeff Beal
Country of origin Italy
United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Bruno Heller
John Melfi
Anne Thomopoulos
William J. MacDonald
John Milius
Location(s) Lazio, Italy
Sofia, Bulgaria
Cinematography Alik Sakharov, ASC
Martin Kenzie
Marco Pontecorvo
Running time 44–65 minutes
Original network BBC / HBO / Rai Fiction
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original release 28 August 2005 (2005-08-28) – 25 March 2007 (2007-03-25)

Plot overview[edit]


  • Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus (Season 1 and 2) – A staunch, traditional Roman officer who struggles to balance his personal beliefs, his duty to his superiors, and the needs of his family and friends. The basis for this character is the historical Roman soldier of the same name, who is briefly mentioned in Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico 5.44.
  • Ray Stevenson as Titus Pullo (Season 1 and 2) – A friendly, upbeat, devil-may-care soldier with the morals of a pirate, the appetites of a hedonist, and a total lack of personal responsibility, who discovers hidden ideals and integrity within himself.
  • Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar (Season 1) – Caesar is ambitious but his aims and motives are often kept ambiguous to further complicate the plot and test the personal loyalties of other characters. He advertises himself as a reformer who sides with the Plebeians, though he is himself a Patrician. He is also merciful to his beaten enemies, genuinely distressed by their deaths and relieved at their willingness to make peace where a more vindictive individual would have simply killed them.
  • Kenneth Cranham as Pompey Magnus (Season 1) – A legendary general, past the days of his prime, who tries to recapture the glories of his youth as well as to do what is right for the Republic. The real Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus was a Roman general and politician who was as ambitious as Caesar and just as unorthodox in his youth. He chose to ally himself with the optimates in opposing Caesar and supporting the traditional Roman Republic.
  • Polly Walker as Atia of the Julii (Season 1 and 2) – The niece of Julius Caesar and mother of Octavian/Augustus and Octavia. She is depicted as a cheerfully amoral and opportunistic manipulator. Her family connections and sexual liaisons have brought her into contact with some of the most powerful individuals in Rome, making her a highly influential figure in Roman society. Atia is very loosely based on the historical figure Atia Balba Caesonia about whom little detail is known. Rome Historical Consultant Jonathan Stamp identifies the historical figure Clodia as the primary basis for the character of Atia[citation needed].
  • James Purefoy as Mark Antony (Season 1 and 2) – A very popular and cunning Roman general and politician and a close supporter of Julius Caesar in Season 1. In Season 2, he fights the power hungry and unaccomplished Octavian.
  • Tobias Menzies as Marcus Junius Brutus (Season 1 and 2) – Portrayed as a young man torn between what he believes is right, and his loyalty and love of a man who has been like a father to him. The real Marcus Junius Brutus was the most famous of Julius Caesar's assassins, and one of the key figures in the civil wars that followed the assassination.
  • Lindsay Duncan as Servilia of the Junii (Season 1 and 2) – The mother of Marcus Junius Brutus, lover of the married Julius Caesar, and enemy of Atia of the Julii. Servilia is depicted as a sophisticated and regal Roman matron who follows her heart to her detriment, betrayed by love, and hungering for revenge. She slowly becomes as cruel as those whom she would destroy. Servilia is loosely based on the historical personage of Servilia, mother of Marcus Junius Brutus, and famous lover of Julius Caesar.
  • Indira Varma as Niobe (Season 1) – A beautiful woman devoted to her family, Niobe is a proud Plebeian from a large clan. After marrying Lucius Vorenus and giving birth to their two daughters, she functioned as a single parent when Lucius went off to war.
  • Max Pirkis (Season 1 and early 2) and Simon Woods (Season 2) as Gaius Octavian – Portrayed as a shrewd, if somewhat cold, young man, with an understanding of the world, people, philosophy and politics that go well beyond his years. Despite this, he is very power hungry and uses the accomplishments of others he is related to as a means to further his political career. The basis for this character is the early life of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.
  • Nicholas Woodeson as Posca (Season 1 and 2) – A Greek slave of Julius Caesar, yet also his friend, aide-de-camp, and confidant in most things personal and professional. As a slave, he will seldom receive credit, but it appears that many of the more simple and elegant solutions to Caesar's problems come from the mind of Posca. Posca is freed and given a stipend in Caesar's will at the start of the second season. He throws his support behind Antony in later episodes, but later strategically defects to Octavian. In the second episode of the second season, Mark Antony refers to him as a Greek, which is in keeping with his highly educated and influential position for a slave.
  • Kerry Condon as Octavia of the Julii (Season 1 and 2) – The character is based on the Roman matron Octavia Thurina Minor, sister of Roman Emperor Augustus, born to one of the most powerful families in Rome, the Julii. Octavia is the only daughter and elder child of Atia of the Julii, who is the niece of Gaius Julius Caesar. In Season 2, she marries Mark Antony, something she did in real life when Antony was newly a widower in 40 BC as part of the Pact of Brundisium, having been ordered by the Senate to set aside the mandatory ten-month term of widowhood after the death of her first husband, Claudius Marcellus.
  • Rick Warden as Quintus Pompey (Season 1 and 2) – The son of Pompey. There is no basis for this character, but the character may be meant to represent the younger of Pompey's historical sons Sextus Pompeius.
  • Karl Johnson as Porcius Cato (Season 1) – An extreme traditionalist, against political and social decay, and a staunch defender of the Roman Republic. The real Cato the Younger was a Roman orator, author and politician who committed suicide to avoid living under Caesar's tyranny.
  • David Bamber as Marcus Tullius Cicero (Season 1 and 2) – A moderate politician and scholar, who is challenged with trying to save the traditional Republic from the ambitions of the various characters on the show. The real Cicero was a Roman politician, writer and orator.
  • Lee Boardman as Timon (Season 1 and 2) – A Roman Jew, depicted as a "hired sword" – from bodyguard to assassin – for Atia of the Julii, from whom he is quite willing to take her body in lieu of coin.





Apted also said that he only learned of the edits by accident, "...a couple of weeks ago when one of the actors told me". Since then, the original uncut Season 1 episodes aired on UKTV Drama, coincident with the UK broadcast of Season 2 on BBC Two.


Broadcast and DVD releases[edit]

International syndication[edit]

Cancellation and future[edit]

I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end. The second was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the Messiah in Israel. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There's certainly more than enough history to go around.[27]


Home release[edit]


Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 12 August 28, 2005 November 20, 2005
2 10 January 14, 2007 March 25, 2007



Awards and nominations[edit]

Historical deviations[edit]

See also[edit]

  • List of historical drama films
  • List of films set in ancient Rome



External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rome (TV series)
  • Official website on
  • Official website on
  • Rome at the Internet Movie Database
  • Rome at
  • The Real Pullo and Vorenus illustrated article about the Caesarian centurions Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus


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