Even with the success of movies like 300 about Spartan warriors and series like HBO’s Rome about Roman legionnaires, Spartacus stood on its own as a unique insight into the life and times of gladiators prior to Spartacus’s famous rebellion. Not much is known about the courageous Thracian prior to his revolt, so the New Zealand series spent three seasons depicting his early life from 73 to 71 B.C. as a gladiator in the arena.
For fans of nudity and excessive violence, it offered both in abundance. But as fans spent time around Spartacus and his fellow gladiators, they realized the series also offered complex character studies of a variety of men doing what they must to survive. It also offered a glimpse into the debaucherous and petty world of the aristocratic Romans who bought and sold them like chattel. Here are all the characters from the hit series broken down into their respective personalities according to their Myers-Briggs Indicator Type.
10 CRIXUS: ESTP (Entrepreneur)
One of the most skilled gladiators in the gladiator house of Batiatus, Crixus was a skilled combatant and a grandiose showman. In true ESTP fashion, he had a flair for the dramatic, living in the moment whenever he entered the ring. He liked to see immediate results and was hard on himself when he failed to live up to his own expectations.
Though Crixus wasn’t the smartest, he was the biggest risk taker, which made him a perfect ally in Spartacus's rebellion. Though ESTP’s are often not the best at planning ahead, and though he may not have been able to see a future where gladiators were free, he didn’t ask questions; he just fought his hardest.
9 NAEVIA: ISFJ (Defender)
Naevia was a slave in the house of Batiatus, owned by Lucretia. Her elevated status in the home ensured slightly better treatment, though not when it was discovered she was having an affair with Batiatus’s prized gladiator, Crixus. Until she was banished to the mines, her hard-working and dutiful ISFJ traits served her masters well.
Her compassion and resilience shone in her dealings with Crixus, who she knew was not only being used in the arena to line Batiatus’s purse but also by Lucretia, who viewed him as less than human and a means for sexual conquest. Like most ISFJ’s, it was her ability to keep things running smoothly that let their love affair remain a secret as long as it did.
8 SPARTACUS: ISFP (Adventurer)
A famous Thracian warrior known for instigating a rebellion that freed his fellow gladiators, and grew to encompass freeing all slaves in the state of Rome, Spartacus was also a loving husband to his wife Sura. As a true ISFP, Spartacus hated the restrictions of his Roman overlords and believed all people should be treated with equal respect.
Because Spartacus was an ISFP and believed in revolutionary ideas that few had conceived of, he was a polarizing force in his ludus. Some gladiators didn’t side with his beliefs at first, but because ISFP’s are often trendsetters, more and more fell in line with his way of thinking as they witnessed the mistreatment of their brotherhood.
7 ILITHYIA: ESFP (Entertainer)
The wife of Gaius Claudius Glaber and the daughter of Senator Albinius, Ilithyia is an extremely wealthy young woman who enjoys gossip, hedonism and making petty displays of her superiority. A friend to Lucretia and her husband, she is often at their ludus oggling their gladiators, especially Spartacus.
In true ESFP fashion, she must be the center of attention. She will do whatever is necessary to gain favor with her fellow wealthy Roman nobles, such as purchase gladiators to beat or fornicate with at her leisure if it will impress them. Like all ESFP’s she lives in the moment, and almost exclusively for immediate gratification. Her pregnancy alone later in the series almost incites a war over the paternity, much to her delight.
6 OENAMAUS: ISTJ (Logistician)
A serious-minded man chosen by Batiatus to literally whip the gladiators of his ludus into shape, Oenomaus is intimidating, dignified, and demands that every fighter bring honor to the house of Batiatus. Like all ISTJ’s, his demeanor is often reserved and aloof, bordering on formal, but behind his calculating mind there is much wisdom to be gained.
Spartacus soon discovers this, and Oenomaus becomes a good friend and mentor to him, despite the difference in their station. When the house of Batiatus falls in Spartacus’s uprising, Oenomaus believes he has no purpose left, clinging as he has to the personal values and traditions of an ISTJ. Spartacus helps him see that his principles and morality are still needed in the conflicts ahead.
5 LUCRETIA: ENFJ (Protagonist)
The wife of Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, Lucretia is a moderately wealthy woman in Capua that lives above her husband’s ludus of gladiators, floating around in beautiful gowns and jewelry despite their inconsistent finances. As an ENFJ, she is incredibly focused on those around her, and her charismatic wiles aid in her and her husband’s social advancement.
Lucretia is overly concerned with the opinions of others, and like most ENFJ’s, this dictates her actions. She tries to make legitimate connections with people of all stations, such as Glaber’s wife Ilithya, and Crixus, a gladiator she uses as a sexual plaything. But she soon finds she cannot manipulate them and expect they won’t resent her for it, no matter how charming she thinks she is.
4 ASHUR: INFJ (Advocate)
Once a gladiator in the ludus of Batiatus, Ashur found himself becoming his errand boy after he was crippled at the hands of fellow gladiator Crixus. As an INFJ, Ashur demonstrated cunning, intuition, and adaptability, all traits which served Batiatus well in schemes involving subterfuge and the blackmail of rivals.
True to being an INFJ, Ashur had his own set of principles and values which, once broken by others, made him incredibly resentful. Though he secretly longed to return to the arena and the embrace of the gladiator brotherhood, their mockery of his injuries ensured he would never trust them, and that he would only plot their downfall.
3 GAIUS CLAUDIUS GLABER: ENTJ (Commander)
A Roman commander bearing the title of Legatus, and later in the series, Praetor, Glaber is an ambitious and forceful leader who was responsible for enslaving Spartacus and his wife. He is well liked by his men for his take-charge attitude, and somewhat less so by politicians who feel he let the Spartacus Rebellion last too long.
The true embodiment of an ENTJ, he is logically decisive and power hungry. ENTJ’s often have a hard time being empathetic, especially when it involves another person’s perspective, which ensures Glaber will always look down on those of lower social standing. He has little regard for others, even his wife Ilithya, favoring instead to focus on his own exploits.
2 VARRO: ESFP (Entertainer)
Varro took a non-traditional route to become a gladiator. Whereas most are forced into it as penance for crimes they’ve committed, Varro chose to become a gladiator to pay off his debts. Whatever winnings he received from fighting in the arena went to his wife Aurelia, who took care of their young son. This ensured he wouldn’t have to flee Capua and hide out to evade his debtors.
Like a true ESFP, Varro has a very candid and boisterous nature. He has no delusions about how the world around him functions, and he makes the most of performing in it. He’s warm, generous, and kind, a rarity among the other bloodthirsty gladiators he spars with. His inspiring personality makes him a good friend to Spartacus.
1 QUINTUS LENTULUS BATIATUS: ENTJ (Commander)
As an ambitious socialite and a competitive owner of a prestigious gladiator house, Lentulus Batiatus aims to be one of the most influential and powerful men in Capua. Like most ENTJ’s, he likes to be in a position of leadership and in control, and will slowly remove his emotional involvement from his actions if they guarantee his social ascent, no matter how ruthless (like murder).
As a lanista, his position was low in society, but as an ENTJ, he used his gladiators’ skills well in advancing his status among the noble populus. Getting into financial or social trouble didn’t impede his plans - as an ENTJ, his calculated scheming and ability to talk his way out of any predicament ensured his success.