I have been working on this list for a while. Each of the figures on this list should be household names. They are men (and a woman) of state.
As I built this list, I thought I could see good and bad points about all of them (except two). This duality is really what makes these historical figures so interesting. While they have not
Two should be considered "warnings to History".
These people I plan to present briefly and then how they can be used in setting or adventure design.
Like for the influence list, I ordered them randomly.
You should not be surprise that I put Caesar on this list. His book "The Gallic Wars" appeared on my list of major influences. And I painted a number of Caesarean roman armies and enemies (many of which I sold prior to moving to Kentucky). Without him, it is unlikely we would've seen the rise of Imperial Rome.
From the moment he enters politics on the side of the Marian, his life is interesting: fighting Spartacus, the conquest of Gaul, feuding with Pompey and Crassus, the Social Wars, his affair with Cleopatra, to his brutal murder.
What makes him so interesting is that we have writing generally attributed to him and thus can try and divine who he was, two millennium after his death. I would love for my own writings last that long!
Using him (new politician) This is Caesar before 60BC. As a young man, he served in a number of position: he was a priest then a criminal then a military man. Clearly able and ambitious, he rose to power by making judicious and strategic alliances.
Always looking for the next piece of action, he is a man of many talents.
It is easy to see him as a patron or opponent to the PCs.
Using him (general) This is the Caesar of 60-50BC No longer a young man, but an accomplished statesman and general, Caesar is now a warlord whose triumphant conquest win him the envy and hatred of many, but beloved by his troops. Here we find him as a man whose ambition is still intact and who now has the means to pull the strings. Caesar is methodical, ruthless and acutely aware of his reputation and the imprint he will leave on history.
As a ally, Caesar is the shining star in the political firmament, out shined only by equally powerful men. By forming a alliance or coalition, he could easily rule a nation.
Using him (final days) Here we find Caesar on top of the world. His rivals are dead or subdued. He controls a vast empire. He has a lovely 25 year old mistress in Cleopatra of Egypt. Really, he has nothing to fear. But behind closed doors, plots are hatching, and the spoils of his empire split amongst the conspirators.
Using him (aftermath of murder) Caesar's blood had yet to dry that things were moving at a great pace: Mark Anthony's pursuit of the conspirators, Octavian's rise to power, the second triumvirate and the civil war between them.