Famous Ancient Roman Historical Personalities

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Turn the pages of history and you would be enthralled by the fascinating facts of ancient Roman personalities. They were strong and powerful and exerted a profound influence over the Roman civilization and that of the world. Did you know that Julius Caesar, the dictator of Rome who marked the end of Roman Republic was not an emperor? In fact, he was a ‘dictator perpetuus’ or ‘dictator in perpetuity’. Fondly remembered as the lover of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar was a multi-skilled man – he was a general, a statesman, a lawgiver, a jurist, an orator, a poet, a historian, a philologer, a mathematician and an architect. Augustus Caesar was the first emperor of Roman Empire. Now that is a known fact but not many know that Augustus reigned during the life of Jesus Christ. Such was his reverence amongst the roman public that posthumously he was numbered amongst the roman Gods. Did you know that before turning into a mad tyrant, Nero was a modest and philosophic youth? His cruelty and brutality reached the peak when he ordered the city of Rome to be fired. While Rome was engulfed in mad fury of fire, Nero did little to salvage his people or the city and instead blamed the Christians for the tyranny. To know more interesting facts about ancient roman historical personalities, read through the following section.
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 1 
Julius Caesar
(Roman General and Statesman)
Julius Caesar
79
Birthdate: 0100
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 15, 0044

Julius Caesar is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and played an important role in the events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He assumed control of the government after a civil war. He was assassinated by rebel senators on the Ides of March, 44 BC.

 2 
Augustus
(Roman Emperor)
Augustus
51
Birthdate: September 23, 0063
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: August 19, 0014

Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. He transformed Rome from a republic to an empire after Julius Caesar’s assassination. He annexed new territories, brought about peace and prosperity and laid the foundation of an empire that lasted for nearly 1500 years. Historians regard him as an effective but controversial leader.

 3 
Constantine the Great
(Roman Emperor)
Constantine the Great
16
Birthdate: February 27, 0272
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Naissus, Moesia, Roman Empire
Died: May 22, 0337

Constantine the Great served as the Roman emperor between 306 and 337. During his reign, he enacted financial, administrative, military, and social reforms to strengthen the empire. Constantine the Great is also credited with introducing the solidus, a gold coin which became the standard for European and Byzantine currencies for over a thousand years.

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 4 
Claudius
(4th Roman Emperor Who Ruled from AD 41 to 54)
Claudius
13
Birthdate: August 1, 0010
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lugdunum
Died: October 13, 0054

Claudius was made the Roman emperor by the Praetorian Guard after the assassination of Caligula, his nephew and predecessor, and ruled from 41 to 54 A.D. He was slightly limp and deaf since childhood, but his reign was marked by financial stability. He was succeeded by his grand-nephew, tyrant Nero.

 5 
Trajan
(Roman Emperor)
Trajan
10
Birthdate: September 18, 0053
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hispania Baetica
Died: August 8, 0117

Trajan was the Roman emperor from 98 to 117 CE. Remembered as a successful soldier-emperor, he presided over a great military expansion, leading the Roman Empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death. He was the second of the Five Good Emperors and focused on implementing social welfare policies for the benefit of his citizens.

 6 
Attila
(Chieftain of the Hunnic Empire from 434 to 453)
Attila
24
Birthdate: 0406 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: February 29, 0453

Attila, the 5th-century ruler of the Huns, was one of the most powerful and most feared rulers of the world. He often clashed with the Roman Empire, including kingdoms such as the southern Balkan provinces, Greece, Gaul, and Italy. The men who buried him were killed so that his grave couldn’t be discovered.

 7 
Diocletian
(Roman Emperor)
Diocletian
9
Birthdate: December 22, 0244
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Salona (now Solin, Croatia)
Died: December 3, 0311
Diocletian was the Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Some of the significant policies introduced by him were the Edict on Maximum Prices and the Diocletianic Persecution of Christianity. He also established a tetrarchy, including Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius as co-emperors. He also expanded the empire’s civil and military services.
 8 
Herod the Great
(King of Judaea from 37 BC to 4 BC)
Herod the Great
8
Birthdate: November 30, 0072
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edom
Died: 0004 BC

Herod the Great was a client king of Judea. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all male toddlers in the vicinity of Bethlehem, the incident which came to be known as Massacre of the Innocents. Thus, he is believed to have played a major role in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

 9 
Titus
(Roman Emperor)
Titus
8
Birthdate: December 30, 0039
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome
Died: September 13, 0081

Titus was the ruler of the Roman Empire from 79 to 81 CE. Before ascending the throne, he played a crucial role as a military commander, working alongside his father Vespasian during the First Jewish-Roman War. After becoming the emperor, Titus oversaw the completion of the Colosseum. His life and work are depicted in literature, paintings, and visual arts.

 10 
Caligula
(Roman Emperor From 37 AD to 41 AD)
Caligula
25
Birthdate: August 31, 0012
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Anzio, Italy
Died: January 24, 0041

Caligula, the third Roman emperor, is often described as a cruel man who forced his subjects to worship him as their god. Considered an insane tyrant, Caligula is accused of incest and forcing the audience to enter a sporting arena to be eaten alive by wild beasts during the intermission. His stories are famous in popular culture.

 11 
Septimius Severus
(Roman Emperor from 193 to 211)
Septimius Severus
6
Birthdate: April 11, 0145
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leptis Magna, Libya
Died: February 4, 0211
Roman emperor Septimius Severus reigned from 193 to 211. He worked in the senate under Marcus Aurelius and gained strength following the death of Pertinax. He killed incumbent emperor Didius Julianus and annexed many kingdoms, such as Osroene. While on an invasion of Scotland, he died of an infectious disease.
 12 
Tiberius
(Roman Emperor from 14 CE to 37 CE)
Tiberius
15
Birthdate: November 16, 0042
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 16, 0037
Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, ruled from AD 14 to 37. Though his conquests strengthened the Roman empire, he lacked the will to rule. Following his son Drusus Julius Caesar’s death, Tiberius became aloof. He later gave away his administrative powers to his prefects Sejanus and Naevius Sutorius Macro.
 13 
Domitian
(Roman Emperor)
Domitian
6
Birthdate: October 24, 0051
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome
Died: September 18, 0096
Domitian, son of Vespasian, reigned as the Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the last ruler of the Flavian dynasty and was assassinated by his own court officials. His authoritarian regime witnessed the reduction of the Senate’s powers and the strengthening of the defenses and the Roman economy.
 14 
Vespasian
(Roman Emperor Who Reigned from AD 69 to 79)
Vespasian
9
Birthdate: November 18, 0009
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Falacrine
Died: June 23, 0079
Vespasian, the Roman emperor from 69 to 79 AD, established the Flavian dynasty. He was the first emperor from an equestrian family and a great military leader who was the legate of Legio II Augusta. Nero committed suicide when Vespasian besieged Jerusalem, leading to the Year of the Four Emperors.
 15 
Antoninus Pius
(Roman Emperor)
Antoninus Pius
7
Birthdate: September 19, 0086
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lanuvium, Italy
Died: March 7, 0161
Antoninus Pius was the Roman emperor from 138 to 161 and is regarded as one of the Five Good Emperors of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. He was adopted by emperor Hadrian. His reign was marked by peace and the construction of the Antonine Wall. He was largely an efficient ruler.
 16 
Elagabalus
(Roman Emperor from 218 to 222)
Elagabalus
11
Birthdate: March 20, 0203
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 11, 0222
Elagabalus, or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was the Roman emperor from 218 to 222. Related to the Severan dynasty, he was a head priest of the sun god Elagabal in his youth. He was rumored to be a transgender, had married four women, and reportedly had male lovers, too. 
 17 
Commodus
(Roman Emperor)
Commodus
17
Birthdate: August 31, 0161
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lanuvium
Died: December 31, 0192
Commodus ruled Rome as an emperor, with his father Marcus Aurelius, from 176 till 180, and then as a sole ruler till 192. His rule ended the 200-year peaceful era of Pax Romana. His dictatorial rule was portrayed in films such as Gladiator. He was assassinated by his wrestling partner.
 18 
Constantine XI Palaiologos
(The Last Byzantine Ruler Who Died Defending Constantinople against the Turks)
Constantine XI Palaiologos
7
Birthdate: February 8, 1405
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Constantinople, Turkey
Died: May 29, 1453

The fourth son of Emperor Manuel II, Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Byzantine emperor. He died in combat, while defending the city of Constantinople against the Ottoman Turks. In Greek folklore, he is known as the Marble Emperor, referring to a legend that he had turned into marble after his death.

 19 
Nerva
(Roman Emperor)
Nerva
5
Birthdate: November 8, 0030
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Narni, Italy
Died: January 27, 0098

Nerva was the Roman emperor from 96 to 98. He was aged 66 when he ascended the throne, after serving other emperors for several decades. Even though he ruled for just 15 months, historians consider him a wise and moderate emperor. He selected Trajan as his heir, thus ensuring a peaceful transition of power after his death.

 20 
Galba
(Roman Emperor)
Galba
4
Birthdate: December 24, 0003
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Terracina, Italy
Died: January 15, 0069
Galba reigned as the Roman emperor from 68 to 69 and was the Year of the Four Emperors’ first emperor. He was the governor of Hispania when the rebellion of Gaius Julius Vindex broke out in Gaul, and he took over the throne after the tyrannical Nero's suicide.
 21 
Theodosius I
(Emperor)
Theodosius I
9
Birthdate: January 11, 0347
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Coca, Segovia, Spain
Died: January 17, 0395

Theodosius I, or Theodosius the Great, ruled as the Roman emperor from 379 to 395. He made Christianity the state religion of his empire and constructed architectural marvels, such as the Column of Theodosius, the Golden Gate, and the Theodosian Walls, in Constantinople. He ended conflicts with the Goths and barred pagan rituals in the Olympics.

 22 
Agrippina the Younger
(Roman Empress (49 - 54))
Agrippina the Younger
6
Birthdate: November 6, 0015
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium
Died: March 23, 0059

Agrippina the Younger was a Roman empress who ruled from 49 to 54 AD. She is regarded as one of the most prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was the younger sister of emperor Caligula and was married to emperor Claudius. A beautiful and ambitious woman, she has been described as ruthless, violent, and domineering. 

 23 
Otho
(Emperor)
Otho
4
Birthdate: April 28, 0032
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ferentium, Italy
Died: April 16, 0069

Though Otho lost his wife, Poppaea, to Nero, who later married her, he governed Lusitania for 10 years diligently, before he joined a revolt against Nero. He reigned as the Roman emperor for merely 3 months, before committing suicide while fighting the Battle of Bedriacum against Vitellius.

 24 
Flavius Odoacer
8
Birthdate: 0435 AD
Birthplace: Pannonia
Died: March 15, 0493

Flavius Odoacer was a statesman and soldier best remembered for becoming the king of Italy after deposing the then-Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus. He then ruled over Italy from 476 until his death in 493. Odoacer's deposition of Augustulus inspired the 2013 film, 476 A.D. Chapter One: The Last Light of Aries.

 25 
Didius Julianus
(Roman Emperor for Nine Weeks (193))
Didius Julianus
3
Birthdate: January 29, 0133
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mediolanum
Died: June 1, 0193
Born into an influential Roman family, Didius Julianus was raised by Marcus Aurelius’s mother, Domitia. As the man who bid the highest in an auction for the throne, he became the Roman emperor, following Pertinax’s murder. However, just after 66 days of rule, he was murdered in his palace.
 26 
Maximinus Thrax
(Roman Emperor from 235 to 238)
Maximinus Thrax
4
Birthdate: 0173 AD
Birthplace: Thracia
Died: 0238 AD

Maximinus Thrax reigned as Roman emperor from 235 until his death in 238. The accession of Maximinus is generally viewed as the beginning of the Imperial Crisis. Hence, he is often called a barracks emperor of the 3rd century. He died during the Siege of Aquileia when he was assassinated by soldiers of the Legio II Parthica.

 27 
Alexander Severus
(Roman Emperor from 222 to 235)
Alexander Severus
3
Birthdate: October 1, 0208
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Arqa, Lebanon
Died: March 22, 0235

Alexander Severus reigned as the Roman emperor from 222 until his death in 235. He was the last emperor of the famous Severan dynasty. Alexander Severus’ death not only brought an end to the Severan dynasty, but also marked the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century, a period of hardship during which the great Roman Empire almost collapsed.

 28 
Lucius Verus
(Roman Emperor)
Lucius Verus
5
Birthdate: December 15, 0130
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: January 23, 0169

Lucius Verus was the Roman emperor from 161 to 169, alongside his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius. Their succession together marked the first time that the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors. The eldest son of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Verus hailed from the Nerva-Antonine dynasty. He ruled for only a few years before he died of an illness in 169.

 29 
Caiaphas
(High priest)
Caiaphas
3
Birthdate: 0014 BC
Birthplace: Israel
Died: 0036 AD

Caiaphas was a Jewish high priest who organized a plot to kill Jesus of Nazareth, according to the gospels. He is best remembered for presiding over the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus Christ. Over the years, Caiaphas has been depicted in several films like The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Passion of the Christ, King of Kings, and Son of God.

 30 
Valerian
(Emperor)
Valerian
5
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Died: 0264 AD
 31 
Helena
(Empress)
Helena
5
Birthdate: 0246 AD
Birthplace: Helenopolis
Died: 0330 AD
 32 
Pepin the Short
(King of the Franks)
Pepin the Short
7
Birthdate: 0714 AD
Birthplace: Roman Empire
Died: September 24, 0768
 33 
Valentinian I
(Roman emperor from 364 to 375)
Valentinian I
3
Birthdate: July 3, 0321
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vinkovci, Croatia
Died: November 17, 0375
 34 
Livia
(Empress)
Livia
5
Birthdate: January 30, 0058
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 28, 0029
 35 
Macrinus
(Roman emperor)
Macrinus
5
Birthdate: 0164 AD
Birthplace: Caesarea of Mauretania
Died: May 31, 0218
 36 
Gallienus
(Roman emperor)
Gallienus
3
Birthdate: 0218 AD
Birthplace: Roman Empire
Died: August 31, 0268
 37 
Octavia the Younger
(Wife of Mark Antony)
Octavia the Younger
4
Birthdate: 0069 AD
Birthplace: Nola, Italy
Died: 0011 AD
 38 
Annia Galeria Faustina
(Roman patrician)
Annia Galeria Faustina
5
Birthdate: September 21, 0130
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Roman Empire
Died: 0175 AD
 39 
Claudius Gothicus
3
Birthdate: May 10, 0214
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia
Died: December 31, 0270
 40 
Mithridates VI of Pontus
(King of Pontus from 120 BC to 63 BC)
Mithridates VI of Pontus
2
Birthdate: 0135 AD
Birthplace: Sinop, Turkey
Died: 0063 AD

Mithridates VI of Pontus, also known as Mithridates the Great, came to power as a young boy after his father, Mithridates V, was assassinated by poisoning. However, since Mithridates VI’s mother acted as a regent and favored his brother, Mithridates got them both imprisoned and took over the throne.

 41 
Trebonianus Gallus
(Roman Emperor)
Trebonianus Gallus
3
Birthdate: 0206 AD
Birthplace: Perugia, Italy
Died: July 31, 0253
 42 
Constantius Chlorus
(Roman Emperor)
Constantius Chlorus
5
Birthdate: March 31, 0250
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dardania
Died: July 25, 0306
 43 
Manuel I Komnenos
5
Birthdate: November 28, 1118
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Constantinople, Roman Empire
Died: September 24, 1180
 44 
Florianus
(Roman emperor)
Florianus
3
Birthdate: August 19, 0232
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Terni, Italy
Died: July 31, 0276
 45 
Galla Placidia
2
Birthdate: 0392 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: January 27, 0450
 46 
Constantine V
(Byzantine emperor)
Constantine V
2
Birthdate: June 30, 0718
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ancient Rome
Died: September 14, 0775
 47 
Drusus Julius Caesar
(Political figure)
Drusus Julius Caesar
2
Birthdate: 0014 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 14, 0023
 48 
Petronius Maximus
(Roman emperor of the West for two and a half months in 455)
Petronius Maximus
3
Birthdate: 0397 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: May 31, 0455
 49 
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
3
Birthdate: June 13, 0040
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fréjus, France
Died: August 23, 0093
 50 
Servius Tullius
3
Died: 0535 BC