|First appearance||S2E01: Fugitivus|
|Last appearance||S2E09: Monsters|
|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)
Marcus Crassus (Friend/Rival)
|Status||Deceased (Pushed by Crixus and Killed by a Roman Catapult)|
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.
He is normally seen wearing robes that match his status asPraetor, but has worn a set of armor after he was deployed into action by the Senate.
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.
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.
In Rome, Varinius accompanies Senator 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 then presses Glaber, and goes to speak with Cossutius and tells Albinius that his daughter has his apologies as he couldn't stay to gaze upon her, quietly angering Glaber. 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 embarrass 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 and reveals he captured some of the rebels after an attack on the Mines, calming them briefly. To avoid further bitterness, Ilithyia 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, while sarcastically thanking Glaber for the honor.
The nobility of Capua then gather at the Ludus to enjoy celebration, in which Varinius brings along Seppius, Seppia, Mercato, Gallienus and Cossutius. Varinius then 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 thanking Glaber for the honor and his tireless hunt of Spartacus but declines stating the prisoners 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 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.
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, Rhaskos, and Oenomaus. He watches as the gladiators fight and many of the nobles in the pulvinus praise him, and also insult Glaber. 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 and is found by Glaber who he pleads to for help, but the latter 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 as she breaks down but he comforts her as they will make it through this as husband and wife. A distraught Ilithyia looks to Varinus, who realizes there is nothing he can do and leaves, heading back to Rome, putting all thoughts of Ilithyia and marriage to her behind him,
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, but he does say anything. He continues to speak with Glaber but the latter accidentally reveals Spartacus' location as he warns him of the repercussion of not following the Senate's orders. He soon speaks with Seppia before berating her for a lack of evidence as he angrily storms out after she comes to him seeking help.
Having learned the location of Spartacus' hideout from Glaber, Varinus and his army travel to Vesuvius in attempt to eliminate the rebels. As Spartacus' men are outnumbered in the forest, they rush back to the temple while Varinius is personally attacked by the rebel leader and Gannicus in the forest. After his men are killed, he attempts to flee on his horse but Spartacus grabs him as he discovers he wasn't Glaber and knocks him out. Captured, he is taken to the temple where he watches his men being killed before he orders his remaining men to lay down their arms to the rebels who earned their first major victory over the Roman army
Crixus then advances on the Praetor, hoping to kill Varinius to avenge his fallen comrades, but Spartacus firsts interrogates him as to where Glaber is. Varinius just smiles, and at that moment, a large flaming boulder from Glaber's army comes crashing down.
In the chaos, Varinius attacks Crixus who then sees another flaming boulder, pushes Varinius and evades it, which Varinius couldn't do in time and was set on fire. Varinius falls dead on the ground, with half of his face burnt to crisp.
Publius Varinius was one of the eight elected Praetors for 73 BC, and like the others, would have been at the most thirty-nine years old. Historically, Varinius was said to have been a keen horseman.
After the defeat of Glaber at Mount Vesuvius by the rebel slave Spartacus, Varinius was sent to quell the growing rebellion pillaging around southern Italia. 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 led another army, this time with at least 4,000 men, that was also defeated. Varinius commanded three known Praetors in these battles, Lucius Cossinius, Lucius Furius and Gaius Toranius. Publius was eventually defeated for a final time.
While in the show Varinius is killed, there is evidence of a "Publius Varinius" serving as governor of the province of Asia Minor from 65 to 64 BC, but it is unknown if this is the same Publius Varinius who fought against Spartacus in 73 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.