HBO’s Rome was a show built for heroes. Based upon one of the most tumultuous times in the entire span of history, Rome covers a period where people rose and fell at the whims of powerful rulers, and one successful battle or scheme could change your destiny. As men scrabbled around in the mud and the blood for the slightest bit of control, the fate of the republic was always hanging in the balance. Pragmatism often won out over honor, but that is how the game was played.
Despite a short run of only two seasons, Rome (which can be streamed on HBO Now) managed to imbue a number of characters, both real and fictional, with both a deep sense of loyalty to the republic and also a seemingly insatiable thirst for power. As they tear the growing empire apart due to their desire to grab a piece, a few characters managed to rise above the fray through whatever means necessary. On a show with a complex view of heroism, here are a few who managed to leave their mark, for better or for worse, ranked from least to most heroic.