Characters in 5 Quotes: Lysander

Lysander in 5 Quotes:

1) Lysander was a tall man, elegantly so, well proportioned, trim. He was a pleasing addition to any room positioned by the door, with his fine voice and words. What he wasn’t was strong, nor much of a fighter. He’d never needed to be. He was an announcer, all he had to do was talk and stand; you didn’t need muscles for that.

2) Lysander, head bowed, not from respect but from the memory of the last time he’d delivered bad news to the empress and she’d flung a shoe at his head.

3) Lysander’s mother Lysandria had been a hairstylist to Agrippina, mother of Nero. Now retired she had got through a surprising number of husbands since her freedom. To be widowed once was a misfortune, twice a tragedy, five times bordered on the suspicious.

4) Apollodorus’ top breeder for the last thirteen years was going to be put out to pasture finally. The announcer was secretly relieved, though publicly he crowed his successes to anyone who wasn’t fast enough to flee; privately he had found it more and more dispiriting to have sex with girls who clearly didn’t want to have sex with him.

Freebies, as the announcer always referred to freeborn girls, were different to Lysander’s mind. If they slept with you it was because they wanted to not because they’d been told to or because of what you might be able to secure for them, a promotion or cash. They would be soft and willing, and Lysander could not wait to try one out.

5) All that seemed normal in the palace was considered quite differently in the outside world. This Lysander had discovered when he’d commented over supper one night on how Apollodorius had paired Ampelius with Penelope in the breeding programme and what a duff match it was because everyone knew she hated him and she’d been so keen not to be sown by him during the last round that she’d shoved a vinegar soaked sponge up her _. Which was the point at which Philo abruptly, and rather rudely Lysander thought, changed the subject.


Characters in 5 Quotes: Felix

And I thought it was difficult to pin down Sporus to only five quotes!
Rummaging through Palatine, Galba’s Men and Nero in Greece: The Tour! I found so many great Felix quotes.
After much deliberation I have selected the below that best reflect the ‘cross red bearded man’ as Empress Statilia Messalina describes him.

Felix in five quotes:

1) He was a barrel of a man rivalling Straton for sheer bulk with thick red knuckles and possessed of the sort of explosive temper that had flattened Carthage.

2) “How do you think I ended up married? Yes, let my lovely wife be a lesson to you. Keep your legs crossed or pay your way. The alternative is a lifetime of sheer horror.”

Having met Felix’s wife, Lysander knew the truth of that statement. She resembled a marginally attractive orang-utan

3) Philo sympathised, he keenly recalled Felix describing him to Epaphroditus. “We all thought he was a fucking mute but apparently he can talk. Just ain’t got nothing to say have you, Philo?”

4) “Felix?” asked the centurion with a gulp.

So far that evening the centurion had defeated a band of marauding heavily armed slaves, casually executed the remaining prisoners, murdered the jailer and then lied shamelessly to his superior officer. What he was not about to do was get Felix out of bed. Some assignments were just far too dangerous.

5) It was Felix’s experience that behind every suspicious Imperial death there was a Greek secretary staring up at the ceiling pretending he knew nothing about it.

Nero in 5 quotes

Characters in Five Quotes – Nero

To celebrate 13th October the day Nero became emperor here are five quotes from Palatine relating to him.


1) You could always tell when Nero was about to enter a room. The air was sucked out, there was a momentary silence, and then you were hit in the face with a full blown typhoon. It was, Epaphroditus imagined, like hearing the whistle of a ballista bolt above your head just before it obliterated you off the face off the earth.

2) “You will leave. You will all leave. I wish to spend time with my Poppaea. Rome needs an heir as everyone keeps telling me. It is my duty. Our duty.”
Good luck with that one, thought Epaphroditus as he departed to the sounds of a giggling eunuch and his amorous emperor

3) Where it had fallen down was the timing, which was his department. He wasn’t going to beat himself up about it, though. Who would have thought to check the delivery schedule for the day? And why would anyone have thought it necessary to inform him about the delivery of a water organ? And how was he supposed to know that water organs were Nero’s newest and greatest passion? Nero’s passions were so numerous it was impossible to keep track of them all. And water organs? Why water organs?

4) Nero, placated, attempted a smile. “Answer me honestly, Epaphroditus.”
“I always have, Caesar.”
“Tell me, am I a good lyre player?”
Epaphroditus affected incredulity. “Caesar, you have spent many years in a painstaking cultivation of the art.”
“I have, haven’t I?”
“How could one fail to be a good player after such a length of study?”
It was a good question and one Epaphroditus had wondered about for years.

5) “We should expel all the Gauls from Rome, don’t you think? They are going to be in on it and they’re just waiting for the signal and then they’ll kill us all in our beds. We should execute them first. Can you look into that?
“I am going to Gaul. No, don’t protest. I am going. When the troops see their emperor and see him weep before them …
We could use the elephants. The ones from that show last year, we could ride them to Gaul, across the Alps. Like Hannibal. Vindex would never expect that. Poppaea could sit on the trunk dressed up like an Indian. I can just see you in a turban, you’d look so sweet. Get Calvia to design an outfit

Fabulous review from UNRV

A rather wonderful review from a reviewer who has spent time contemplating the characters and themes of Palatine.

It is interesting to see Philo described as innocent.
It is a topic that crops up in the books and i am not sure it holds up.

Despite his apparent naivety, working for Epaphroditus Philo is complicit in the assassinations and interrogations of probably innocent people.
In Palatine he is given the task of sourcing a good assassin to depose of Galba.
At no time does he even question this order or ask what Galba has done to deserve this fate.

It is this tendency to blindly follow orders that leads Philo into grave peril in Galba’s Men.