Publius Varinius
First appearance S2E01: Fugitivus
Last appearance S2E09: Monsters
Profession Praetor
Race Roman
Relationships Ilithyia (Potential Lover, deceased)
Gaius Claudius Glaber (Political Rival, deceased)
Seppia (Potential Lover, deceased)
Seppius (Ally, deceased)
Albinius (Friend, deceased)
Cossutius (Friend, deceased)
Mercato (Friend, deceased)
Gallienus (Friend)
Marcus Crassus (Friend)
Status Deceased (Pushed by Crixus and Killed by a Roman Catapult)
Actor/Actress Brett Tucker
Publius Varinius is a high-ranking Praetor in the Roman Senate. His power and influence rivals Glaber’s own, causing much friction between the two as Varinius seeks to use Spartacus' rebellion as a way to gain favor for himself in the Republic, and knows that catching Spartacus would bring him glory. He serves as the secondary antagonist of Vengeance.


Varinius is a tall man with short blonde hair and a thin, yet toned, build. He is noted as being very handsome which catches the eye of many women, including Ilithyia and Seppia. He is normally seen wearing robes that match his status as Praetor, but will wear a set of armor whenever he is to be deployed into action.


Varinius is a man of ambition, desiring to see himself rise and considers individuals like his fellow Praetor, Gaius Claudius Glaber as insignifigant. Despite his own arrogance, however, Varinius is very socialable and well-liked by many as he possesses a charismatic way with words.

Unmarried, wealthy and with a promising future, Varinius has the affections of many attractive women, including Seppia and Glaber's wife, Ilithyia

Combat Prowess

As a Praetor of the Republic, Varinius has proven himself an able tactician and strategist in battle though he is quick to underestimate his enemies. He also holds skill in battle, but does not equal to that of a gladiator. 


Albinius & Varinius.

Albinius and Varinius meeting Glaber.

In Rome, Varinius accompanies Sentaor Albinius in giving Glaber the assignment of hunting down and destroying Spartacus and his rebels. He informs Glaber of the unit's recently routed by Spartacus, one of the fallen bore his name carved into his chest. Varinius presses Glaber, and reminds Albinius that his daughter was nearly killed a few weeks prior. He then takes leave for Albinius and Glaber to speak in private.  As Glaber departs for Capua to end Spartacus it is revealed that Varinius lends to support to a Capuan noble, Seppius, and aids him in pursuit of Spartacus and should he claim victory he will be able to rise and embaress Glaber.

Varinius later comes to Capua in order to host numerous games in order to strengthen the spirit of the citizens. When he speaks to the crowd they clearly favor him and goes to present Glaber's troops (By request of Albinius), but Glaber's troops do not appear as he has sent them with his Tribune, Marcus and the slave, Ashur. The crowd grows angry at the failed spectacle but Glaber stands up and announces to the crowd that they are gone to capture Spartacus. This act both humiliates Varinius and also gains Glaber favor with the people.

The nobles then return to Batiatus' Ludus, now used as Glaber's garrison and base of operations, where Albinius scolds Glaber for insulting Varinius. Glaber justifies his actions by saying claiming Spartacus is important. Ilithyia, however, proposes that they host a feast for Varinius in order to pay forgiveness. Varinius agrees to it and smiles, looking at how Ilithyia favors him over her own husband.

The nobility of Capua then gather at the Ludus to enjoy celebration. Varinius brings along Seppius, Seppia, Mercato, Gallienus and Cossutius. Varinius compliments them on the celebration when Glaber announces his own tribute to Varinius. He has Salvius bring out four captured Rebels. They are chained and offered to Varinius to slay as a means to forgive him for how Glaber humiliated Varinius earlier. Varinius, however, twists this by saying they would be executed, not for himself, but the people of Capua in the arena. This gathers him much favor from the crowd and slightly gets back at Glaber. Seppius, however, remains angered at how the Rebels still appear ready to kill them and reminds the crowd of how his cousin, Sextus, was killed. Glaber uses Seppius' anger and brings the topic of slaying them back up. Varinius then states

Ilithyia killing Acer at the celebration for Varinius.

that one should be slain to which Glaber insists Lucretia, the Rebels' former Domina, choose who is to be killed. She then chooses Acer, and he is tortured by the guests. Varinius attemtps to aid Seppia, who has an affinity for him, in slaying the man but she is unable to. Ilithyia then jumps in and kills Acer herself, impressing the crowd and Varinius who is the first to applaud her.

While Varinius enjoys the attention he gains from other guests, he finds himself favoring the more mature and confident Ilithyia, who promises him she can convince her father, the paterfamilias senator Albinius, to dissolve her marriage to Glaber.


Varinius and Ilithyia expressing desire for one another.

Unfortunately for Ilithyia, her father is not interested in dissolving her marriage, despite his dislike of Glaber, but he soon changes his mind after Lucretia sleeps with him.

As Ilithyia, Albinius and Varinius secretly conspire about the dissolution, Glaber happens to finds out about Ilithyia's plans. He confronts his wife and she coolly replies that there is no love left between them and that there is nothing he can do to stop her.

Varinius attends the final games and execution at the arena - for Crixus,

Varinius speaking to the crowd of Capua.

Rhaskos, and Oenomaus. He watches as the gladiators fight and many of the nobles in the pulvinus praise him, and also insult Glaver. He then announces the final event, the execitions and watches as the skilled gladiators, led by Gannicus face off against the rebels. The event is eventually ended prematurely, however, as Spartacus and his rebels set fire to the arena and rescue two of their friends. In the ensuing chaos, Albinius gets trapped by falling debris. Glaber finds the man, pleading for help, and promptly smashes his head in with a timber beam. Glaber finds Ilithyia and Varinius outside, and harshly tells his wife of her father's death. Varinius leaves, heading back to Rome, leaving all thoughts of Ilithyia and marriage behind him.

Varinius is killed by fire in Vesuvius.


Varinius in his armour.

Varinius returns to Capua after Seppia sends him a desperate letter pleading for his help - she knows Glaber killed her brother, and also tells him that Spartacus has taken Ilithyia. Varinius attempts to get Glaber to return to Rome and let his own army take care of Spartacus, but Glaber refuses. With the appearance of Ilithyia, it appears to Varinius that Seppia's letter was just a lie, and he angrily storms out after she comes to him seeking help.

When the location of Spartacus' hideout is discovered, both men send an army in an attempt to capture the rebels. As Spartacus and his men become outnumbered, Varinius is captured, and he orders his men to lay down to surrender their arms to the rebels. Crixus hopes to kill Varinius to avenge his fallen comrades, but Spartacus firsts interrogates him where Glaber is. Varinius just smiles, and at that moment, a large flaming boulder from Glaber's army comes crashing down. Varinius attacks Crixus, who then sees another flaming boulder and thrusts his enemy in its direction, setting Varinius on fire. Varinius falls dead on the ground, with half of his face burnt to crisp.

Historical Context

Publius Varinius was a Roman praetor in 73 BC who suffered several defeats against Spartacus and his rebellion during the Third Servile War. Although the historical records are filled with gaps, what is recorded is that Varinius led an army of at least 2,000 men, who were eventually defeated by Spartacus. He also lead another army, this time with at least 4,000 men, that was also defeated. The rebels (an estimated 10,000 men, women and children) later sacked Varinius' camp.

Historically, Varinius was said to be a keen horseman. Varinius had in fact survived the rebellion, as there is evidence he later served as governor of the province of Asia in 65 BC.


  • When Varinius retells the story of Hannibal at the games, he says that "Hannibal passed from this life at the end of a Roman sword." This is technically not true. Hannibal actually poisoned himself to avoid capture by the Romans, but it can nevertheless be considered a Roman victory.
  • Unlike Glaber, he is highly respected and loved by other nobles and the Senate.
  • In history, Varinius takes over the fight against Spartacus and the rebel slaves after Glaber is defeated at the foot of Mt Vesuvius.
  • Varinius was the seventh main character to be killed.
  • Publius Varinius appears to lack a cognomen, a distinguishable third name which was common among members of the Roman elite. Varinius was possibly a Novus Homo, or "new man", the first of his family to enter the Roman Senate.


External Links

Publius Varinius at Wikipedia

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