Famous Ancient Roman Historical Personalities

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

Julius Caesar
Famous As: Former Roman dictator
Birthdate: July 13, 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

Famous As: Roman roman emperor
Birthdate: September 23, 0063
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ancient Rome
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.

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 3 Attila

Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 0406 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: February 29, 0453

 4 Claudius

Famous As: Roman emperor
Birthdate: August 1, 0010
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lyon
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 Diocletian

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 6 Trajan

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 7 Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: February 27, 0272
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Niš
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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 8 Domitian

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 9 Titus

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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 Vespasian

Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: November 17, 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.

 11 Nerva

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 12 Elagabalus

Famous As: Emperor of Rome
Birthdate: 0204 AD
Birthplace: Emesa, Syria
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. 

 13 Galba

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 14 Livia

Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: January 30, 0058
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 28, 0029

 15 Antoninus Pius

Antoninus Pius
Famous As: Roman Emperor
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 Otho

Famous As: Emperor
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.

 17 Constantine XI

Constantine XI
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: February 8, 1405
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Constantinople, Turkey
Died: May 29, 1453

 18 Julian

Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0331 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople, Roman Empire
Died: June 26, 0363

 19 Pepin the Short

Pepin the Short
Famous As: King of the Franks
Birthdate: 0714 AD
Birthplace: Roman Empire
Died: September 24, 0768

 20 Didius Julianus

Didius Julianus
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: February 2, 0137
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.

 21 Octavia the Younger

Octavia the Younger
Famous As: Wife of Mark Antony
Birthdate: 0069 AD
Birthplace: Nola, Italy
Died: 0011 AD

 22 Lucius Verus

Lucius Verus
Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 23 Djoser

Famous As: Monarchs
Birthdate: 2700 BC
Died: 2600 BC

 24 Baldwin I of Jerusalem

Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1058 AD
Birthplace: Lower Lorraine
Died: April 2, 1118

 25 Trebonianus Gallus

Trebonianus Gallus
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: 0206 AD
Birthplace: Perugia, Italy
Died: July 31, 0253

 26 Florianus

Famous As: Roman emperor
Birthdate: August 19, 0232
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Terni, Italy
Died: July 31, 0276

 27 Galla Placidia

Galla Placidia
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: 0392 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: January 27, 0450

 28 Manuel I Komnenos

Manuel I Komnenos
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: November 28, 1118
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Constantinople, Roman Empire
Died: September 24, 1180

 29 Tanaquil

Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 30 Caligula

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 31 Commodus

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 32 Tiberius

Famous As: Roman Emperor
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.

 33 Agrippina the Younger

Agrippina the Younger
Famous As: Roman Empress
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. 

 34 Theodosius I

Theodosius I
Famous As: Emperor
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.

 35 Flavius Odoacer

Flavius Odoacer
Famous As: Soldier
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.

 36 Valerian

Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Died: 0264 AD

 37 Helena

Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: 0246 AD
Birthplace: Helenopolis
Died: 0330 AD

 38 Macrinus

Famous As: Roman emperor
Birthdate: 0164 AD
Birthplace: Caesarea of Mauretania
Died: May 31, 0218

 39 Constantius Chlorus

Constantius Chlorus
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: March 31, 0250
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dardania
Died: July 25, 0306

 40 Annia Galeria Faustina

Annia Galeria Faustina
Famous As: Roman patrician
Birthdate: September 21, 0130
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Roman Empire
Died: 0175 AD

 41 Stilicho

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0359 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: August 22, 0408

 42 Claudius Gothicus

Claudius Gothicus
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: May 10, 0214
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia
Died: December 31, 0270

 43 Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius
Famous As: king
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Died: 0535 BC

 44 Constantine V

Constantine V
Famous As: Byzantine emperor
Birthdate: June 30, 0718
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ancient Rome
Died: September 14, 0775

 45 Drusus Julius Caesar

Drusus Julius Caesar
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: 0014 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 14, 0023

 46 Ptolemy Philadelphus

Ptolemy Philadelphus
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: 0036 AD
Birthplace: Antioch, Turkey
Died: 0029 AD

 47 Juba II

Juba II
Famous As: King of Numidia
Birthdate: 0048 AD
Birthplace: Numidia
Died: 0023 AD

 48 Nikephoros I

Nikephoros I
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0760 AD
Birthplace: Byzantine Empire
Died: July 26, 0811

 49 Constans II

Constans II
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: November 7, 0630
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: September 15, 0668

 50 John I Tzimisces

John I Tzimisces
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0925 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: January 10, 0976