One reason HBO's Game of Thrones was so popular was its capacity to shock us. Loyal audiences loved it because each season was filled with larger-than-life events - bloody fights and political intrigue alike - all set against the backdrop of familial drama. But as wild as a show like Game of Thrones can be, none will ever compare to the theatrics of actual history - Roman history in particular.
From its founding as a kingdom in 753 BC, through its days as a republic from 509-27 BC, and up to the imperial era from 27 BC to 476 AD, the Roman civilization was one of the most powerful in the ancient world. At its height, Rome controlled territory from modern Great Britain all the way to Mesopotamia, with a population of up to 100 million citizens. That level of wealth and power meant constant behind-the-scenes machinations. There was always someone new who wanted the throne all to himself and would do anything to get it. Here are 13 stories from Roman history that make the Lannister family look like playful kittens.