A successful stage version of the novel by Stanislaus Stange was produced in 1900. Film versions of the novel were produced in 1901, 1912 and 1924. A 1951 version directed by Mervyn LeRoy was nominated for eight academy awards. The novel was also the basis for a 1985 mini-series starring Klaus Maria Brandauer as Nero and a 2001 Polish mini-series directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. It was also comically satirized as the quintessential school play gone horribly awry in "Shivering Shakespeare", a 1930 Little Rascals short by Hal Roach.
Jean Nouguès composed an opera based on the novel, to a libretto by Henri Caïn; it was premiered in 1909.  Feliks Nowowiejski composed an oratorio based on the novel, performed for the first time in 1907, and then his most popular work.
Following the success of the film Quo Vadis, Ursus was used as a superhuman Roman-era character who became the protagonist in a series of Italian adventure films made in the early 1960s.
When the "Hercules" film craze hit in 1959, Italian filmmakers were looking for other muscleman characters similar to Hercules whom they could exploit, resulting in the 9-film Ursus series listed below. Ursus was referred to as a "Son of Hercules" in two of the films when they were dubbed in English (in an attempt to cash in on the then-popular "Hercules" craze), although in the original Italian films, Ursus had no connection to Hercules whatsoever. In the English-dubbed version of one Ursus film (retitled Hercules, Prisoner of Evil), Ursus was actually referred to throughout the entire film as "Hercules".
There were a total of 9 Italian films that featured Ursus as the main character, listed below as follows: Italian title/ English translation of the Italian title (American release title);
- Ursus / Ursus (Ursus, Son of Hercules, 1961) a.k.a. "Mighty Ursus", starring Ed Fury
- La Vendetta di Ursus / The Revenge of Ursus (The Vengeance of Ursus, 1961) starring Samson Burke
- Ursus e la Ragazza Tartara / Ursus and the Tartar Girl (Ursus and the Tartar Princess, 1961) a.k.a. The Tartar Invasion, starring Joe Robinson
- Ursus Nella Valle dei Leoni / Ursus in the Valley of the Lions (Valley of the Lions, 1962) starring Ed Fury
- Ursus gladiatore ribelle / Ursus Rebel Gladiator (The Rebel Gladiators, 1962) starring Dan Vadis
- Ursus Nella Terra di Fuoco / Ursus in the Land of Fire (Son of Hercules in the Land of Fire, 1963) starring Ed Fury
- Ursus il terrore dei Kirghisi / Ursus, the Terror of the Kirghiz (Hercules, Prisoner of Evil, 1964) starring Reg Park
- Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus: gli invincibili / Hercules, Samson, Maciste and Ursus: The Invincibles (Samson and His Mighty Challenge, 1964) starring Yan Larvor as Ursus (a.k.a. "Combate dei Gigantes" or "Le Grand Defi")
- Gli Invincibili Tre / The Invincible Three (Three Avengers, 1964) starring Alan Steel as Ursus