On this page you can find brief biographies of the historical characters in The Roman Conspiracy, as well as links to their Wikipedia articles or other resources on them. Aulus Lucinus Spurinna and Homer are inventions, but their personalities and interaction are largely based on main characters in the works of Plautus, a Roman playwright.
Born in 106 BC, Cicero was 43 years old at the time of this story. He had been Consul (a one-year office) for 10 months, a position he and every other Roman politician coveted. The authentic portrait to the left shows Cicero about ten years later. Cicero was the great champion of peace during the late years of the Roman Republic; he was eventually killed for his opposition to Mark Anthony in 43 BC.
Tullia was born sometime between 80 and 76 BC; in The Roman Conspiracy she is about 13 or 14. Cicero wrote of her, "I believe her like on earth has never been seen." When she died, in childbirth, in February of 45 BC, he was inconsolable. The portrait to the left is not of Tullia herself, but of a Roman girl from about the same period. You can see what we know of her, along with some letters her father wrote to her, at this site.
We know from the Roman historian Sallust, who wrote a history of the Catilinarian Conspiracy, that Fulvia was instrumental in the intelligence-gathering that brought Catiline down (Chapter 23 of De coniuratione Catilinae is mostly about her). In this version of the story, she is a friend of Tullia's; but we do not know much about the historical Fulvia. Here is Sallust's chapter.
Lucius Sergius Catilina (108-62 BC) was even more ambitious than most Roman politicians, but never seemed to get anywhere. He begame a Judge (praetor) in 68 BC and after that was Governor of Africa; but when he returned to Rome he immediately began running for Consul. After losing the election twice in a row, the second time against Cicero, he organized his Conspiracy, this history of which is told in this book and by the contemporary historian Sallust.
Titus Volturcius was originally from Croton, a city in southern Italy. Historically, it was Volturcius who led the ride to the Mulvian Bridge on 2 December 63 BC, where he was arrested and forced to testify against Catiline in the Senate. But his character in this novel blends in two other Catilinarian conspirators, M. Porcius Laeca (who lived in Sicklemaker St.) and P. Furius, who had estates near Faesulae.
Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC. He had just been elected praetor urbanus at the time when The Roman Conspiracy takes place; historians have still not decided whether Caesar knew about Catiline's conspiracy before it happened or if he was a shadow member. Shortly after this story ends, Caesar got himself elected Pontifex Maximus and was well on the way to the wildly successful military and political career that would end with his assassination in 43 BC.
The Catilinarian Conspirators were a group of disaffected and (usually) debt-ridden Roman aristocrats who felt that their only hope for continuing to play a role in Roman public life was to destroy the existing order. Their supporters were mostly the poor and the downtrodden, who would also benefit from social reform of some sort; and veteran soldiers of the old dictator Sulla, who had not propsered as they had hoped they would.
The Allobroges were a Celtic tribe of ancient Gaul. Their territory lay between modern-day Lyon and modern-day Geneva. Famous warriors, they fought unsuccessfully against Hannibal during his march into Italy and later helped Julius Caesar in his Gallic wars. They are mostly remembered for having chosen to betray Catiline, more or less as described in The Roman Conspiracy.
The Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was already in trouble in 63 BC. Though it survived Catiline's conspiracy, Caesar and two other powerful politicians were soon to form a powerful alliance, called the First Triumvirate, to dominate politics at Rome; and there were few years of liberty left before powere would definitively pass to the Emperors in 31 BC. More information about ancient Rome and its Republic is available elsewhere on this site.