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  • Writer's pictureJP Kenwood

Africans in the Roman Army

If modern folks could transport themselves back to ancient Rome, many might be surprised by the diversity of the peoples who lived, loved, fought, and died under the Roman Eagle: Egyptians, Germans, Syrians, Britons, Spaniards, Africans… Ancient Rome was a most colorful place.

I started this saga from the point of view of Max. Our beloved Maximus, Gaius’s former pleasure slave and now his trusted freedman, is an ebony-skinned man from Kush (Sudan). As I tap away at my keyboard on this sunny afternoon, I’ve just introduced the second major African character in the Dominus saga. He only makes a cameo in Book 3, but he’ll be a significant player in the final book.

Lusius Quietus lived and fought during the late first and early second centuries AD. Under Trajan, he served as the commander of the auxiliary horsemen during the Dacian Wars; for his valor and victories on the battlefield, he was promoted to Senator and then Governor of Judea. According to the scant sources, Lusius was a Berber from Mauretania (hence the more modern ‘Moorish’ designation). He and his skilled Berber cavalry with their distinctive ‘ethnic’ braided hairstyle appear among the Roman troops on the Column of Trajan.


We don’t know how old Lusius was when he fought the Dacians alongside Gaius, but I imagine him in his lusty late thirties. I’ve been searching for a model for visual inspiration, and this gorgeous man fits the bill (and then some). Anyone know who he is in real life? I could use much more inspiration. 😀


Meet our dear  Lusius Quietus: a real historical character, a celebrated Roman war hero, and a close friend and comrade of Gaius Fabius:

JPK xo

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