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  Famous Romans

Here are some of the most famous Romans of all times. These are by far not all famous Romans. For there are too many to mention. But here are some of the most outstanding figures Roman history created - and who created Roman history.

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Vatican Museums
Vatican City
Marius - The great Man of the Army
Gaius Marius was the man who organized the army into the most effective fighting machine on earth. At times it appeared nothing could withstand the mighty legions of Rome. It was Marius who changed the way the army organized itself. Men from the provinces could now sign up to serve in the Roman army, and in time become Roman citizens themselves. So too was it Marius who granted land to the veterans of the legions in reward for their services.
He also won some famous battles with his new army, most famous of all the Aquae Sextiae and Campi Raudii, where his victories saved Italy and Rome from an invasion of barbarians from the north.
Caesar - General, Politician, Statesman
Julius Caesar is no doubt the most famous Roman of them all ! He conquered Gaul in a brilliant campaign which is still used in studies for training generals today. His victories in Gaul brought into the empire what should later become one of the most important new territories to the empire. The conquest of Gaul also brought the border of the empire to the river Rhine, where it should remain for centuries to come. He also led expeditions into Germany and Britain, which were at that time completely unknown to Romans. But his political enemies never stopped plotting against him and tried to take away his power. Caesar famously crossed the river Rubicon (which was the border between the province he ruled and the Italian territories of the Roman empire) and took power over Rome as a dictator. When away in Egypt he fell in love with the legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Julius Caesar also reformed the calendar. With only minor changes his is the calendar we use today. One month, July, is named in his honour.
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Julius Caesar
Museo della Civilta
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Museo della Civilta
  Augustus - The first Emperor
Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. His real name was Octavian but he was given the name 'Augustus' by the senate as an honour for his great achievements. He avenged the death of Caesar together with Mark Antony, before falling out with him. He defeated Mark Antony together with the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra and thereafter, together with the senate of Rome, created a new constitution for the great empire. Augustus stood at the head of this empire as the emperor. He used his ruled wisely and built roads, aqueducts and buildings. Not only was Augustus the first, but he was most certainly one of the best emperors Rome ever had.
Nero - The Madman of Rome
Nero is the most notorious Roman of all times. It is most likely that Nero was insane. He came to power because his mother murdered his step-father emperor Claudius. During his rule much of Rome burnt down in the Great Fire of Rome. Helpless to stop the fire, he is supposed to have sung as he watched Rome burn. After this he built himself a magnificent palace on some of the land cleared by the fire. To quell rumours that he had started the fire himself, he blamed the Christians for it and then had many captured and thrown to the lions in the circus.
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Capitoline Museums
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Museo della Civilta
Trajan - The kind-hearted Soldier
Trajan is one of Rome's most outstanding emperors. Under his rule the empire reached its largest extent. He famously conquered the rich kingdom of Dacia north of the Danube. Trajan was one of the greatest soldiers among the emperors. But unlike many of the later warrior-like rulers, he was also known for his wisdom and dignity, and his humility when dealing with the senate. Alike Augustus, Trajan's reign was a glittering one, during which many public works, roads and harbours were built. He also set up an imperial fund which should look after the poor, especially the children.
Constantine the Great - Unifier of the divided Empire
Constantine the great was the first Christian emperor of the Roman empire. He defeated all the other would-be emperors and re-united the empire, which had been divided between many rulers. He also decided to move the capital of the empire from Rome to a town called Byzantium, which he renamed after himself - Constantinopolis (Greek for: the city of Constantine). He also called together many bishops for the Council of Nicaea at which the exact nature of the Christian religion was defined. It is known today as the 'Nicene Creed'. For his many achievements he is known as 'Constantine the Great' and in the Christian church he is known as 'Saint Constantine'.
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Capitoline Museums
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Museo della Civilta
  Justinian - The last 'Great' Emperor
Under the rule of Justinian, the eastern empire (the west had since fallen to the barbarians) enjoyed a last flowering. His great generals Belisarius and Narses reconquered many parts of the empire, including the city of Rome itself. So too is Justinian known to have collected the many Roman laws and created a unified code of laws, the so-called 'Justinian Code'. This code formed the basis of all systems of law in the western world. He also built many great buildings in his capital, the city of Constantinople. His most outstanding building is the great church Santa Sophia, which today is the famous mosque 'Aya Sophia' in the Turkish city of Istanbul

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