A stunning account of Rome from Tiberius to Claudius, Caligula and Nero for readers of Tom Holland and Mary Beard.
14 CE: The first Roman emperor is dead. A second is about to succeed. The Forum of Rome, once fought over so fiercely, has become hardly more than a museum. The house of all power is up above on the Palatine Hill, about to become the birthplace of Western bureaucracy, a warren of banqueting and bedrooms, a treacherous household where it takes special talents to survive.
This is a Roman history with a cast of new men and newly dominant women, those reviled too often in the past as flatterers and gluttons, uppity slaves and former slaves, lawyers-for-hire, chancer arrivistes and unhinged party animals. Palatine uncovers the lives of the Vitellii, perhaps Rome´s least admired imperial clan, of Publius, an old-fashioned soldier snared in the politics of the new age, of Lucius, an exceptionally skilled and sycophantic courtier, and of Aulus a genial sluggard whose prowess at the table carries him all the way to the throne before collapsing his family´s reputation for ever. Few now remember them. Yet in their creeping ascent to the very summit of the imperial hierarchy lie neglected truths about a lasting legacy of Rome.