Agrippa : Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (62-12BC) was a supporter of Octavian (later Augustus) from his first arrival in Rome, and became his adviser, particularly in military matters. He was also responsible for some important architectural works.
Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love (Roman Venus). According to Hesiod, when Cronos used his sickle to sever Uranusí member, it fell into the sea, and she sprang from the foam around it.
Apuleius (c125-c170) is mainly remembered for his romance The Golden Ass (alternatively called The Metamorphoses). He was born in Africa (in present day Algeria), and began his studies in Carthage, then travelled to Athens and later Rome. On his way to Alexandria, he was taken ill, and a student friend invited him to stay with his mother, Aemilia Pudentilla, a wealthy widow. The widow took a liking to him, and they were married, but members of her family opposed the union, and brought a case against Apuleius in which they alleged that he had used magic. Apuleius took the opportunity of the case to show off his wit and erudition, delivering a discourse subsequently published as De Magia (On Magic).
Augustus was an honorary title conferred on C Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian) in 27BC. He was given this title because it did not imply kingship, but did effectively indicate that he was rather more than an ordinary citizen. It was a title that was assumed by succeeding emperors, gradually becoming their official designation.
Battle of Actium : The Battle of Actium was a naval battle fought in 31BC between the forces of Octavian under the command of Agrippa, and Marc Antony, who was supported by the forces of Cleopatra. Both Cleopatra and Mark Antony subsequently committed suicide.
Battle of Philippi : Philippi was a city in Macedonia, near the Aegean coast in the northeast of Greece. The army of Brutus and Cassius was well supplied from the sea, and it was to their advantage to avoid a decisive battle with a force larger than their own, commanded by Antony and Octavian (later Augustus), whose supplies were precarious. But Brutus was persuaded by his impatient officers to engage the enemy, and he was defeated. Both Brutus and Cassius took their own lives.
Bithynia formed a part of what is present day Turkey.
Brutus, M Junius Brutus (85-42BC, was a Roman senator and, with Cassius, a leader of the plot to assassinate Caesar. He committed suicide after the battle of Philippi.
Caesar : G Julius Caesar (100BC - 44BC) was a Roman general and statesman who tried to do away with the Republic. In the end, it did away with him. He was murdered by a group of pro Republican conspirators led by Cassius and Brutus. 'Caesar did not hide the fact that a permanent blot had been put on his name by the verses that Valerius Catullus had made about Mamurra. But when Catullus apologised, Caesar invited him to dinner that very day. And Caesar kept up his old friendship with Catullus' father.' Suetonius Life of Julius Caesar.
For more on Julius Caesar see http://heraklia.fws1.com/
Coliseum : The Coliseum : the Emperor Vespasian began the building in 72. The dedication ceremony included the slaughtering of 5000 animals, which was followed by 100 days of games.
Consulship was the highest elected office in the Roman Republic. Two consuls a year were elected, with the power of veto over each otherís actions.
Dionysius : Dionysius of Helicarnassos (fl c 25BC) was a Greek writer based in Rome. He was a literary critic and historian.
Domitian : Titus Flavius Domitianus (51-96), became emperor in 81. He was assassinated in 96.
Drusus, Nero Claudius Drusus (38-9BC), was the stepson and son in law of Augustus, and the younger brother of Tiberius. He carried out a series of successful campaigns against the Germanic tribes between 12-9BC. He died from injuries sustained after falling from his horse.
Equestrian status : originally applied to those wealthy enough to serve in the military with a horse, but later came to designate simply wealthy people who were not senators, and, under Augustus, to those who had property worth more than 400,000 sesterces.
Lesbia : the name recalls the most renowned of the love poets of antiquity, Sappho (c620BC - c550BC), who was a native of Lesbos.
Lucan, M Annaeus Lucanus (39-65) was a poet, and one time friend of the Emperor Nero. He wrote a history of the Civil War (Pharsalia). He joined Calpurnius Pisoís plot to overthrow Nero, and, when the plot was discovered, was given the option of execution or suicide. He chose the latter.
Maecenas was a trusted counsellor to Augustus and the enlightened patron of a literary circle, which included Horace, Virgil, Propertius and Varius.
Messalla : M Valerius Messalla Corvinus, was a member of the Roman aristocracy, and an important commander on the Republican side at the battle of Philippi. He was an author and orator, and the patron of a literary circle which included Tibullus and Ovid.
Nero : Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (37-68) was the adopted son of Claudius. He became emperor in 54, and committed suicide in 68.
Ovid : P Ovidius Naso (43BC-18AD), was a Roman poet who wrote extensively about love, seduction and mythology. He was banished from Rome by Augustus, who was seeking to promote sound republican and family values.
Pliny the Younger (62-113) was quaestor, tribune, praetor and consul. His fame rests on his letters, which give a detailed account of Roman life.
Plutarch (c46-120) : Greek historian, essayist and biographer who became a Roman citizen, taking the name Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus. During his youth, he travelled widely in the Roman empire, but later spent most of his time in his native village, Cheronaea, near Delphi, where he was one of the two priests of the Temple of Apollo. His Lives (lives of well known Greeks and Romans) and Moralia (78 essays on a variety of subjects, ranging from fraternal affection, to the rites of Isis and Osiris, to the delay in Divine vengeance) were very influential during Late Antiquity, and became so again in translation during the 16th century.
Quaestor : a quaestor was originally an assistant to the consul in tracing criminals, but later had charge of the state treasury, collecting and recording revenue. At first two in number, more were added as the Roman empire expanded. They were elected annually.
Quintilian : Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (35-95) was a native of Spain, but accompanied Galba to Rome when he was proclaimed emperor and there took up pleading and teaching rhetoric.
Quirinal : one of the seven hills of Rome.
Suda : The Suda is a 10th century Byzantine encyclopaedia, containing about 30,000 entries on literature, history and biography. In spite of its inconsistencies, it preserves a great deal ultimately derived from the best authorities in ancient scholarship.
Suetonius : G Suetonius Tranquillus (c69 - c150), was a Roman biographer and historian who wrote Lives of the Caesars, covering the period from Julius Caesar to Domitian.
Tiberius, Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar (42BC-37AD), was the stepson and son in law of Augustus. He was emperor from 14-37.