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.
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.
As everybody who is in Galba’s Men appeared in Palatine, here is a taster of some of the journeys various characters will be undertaking in Galba’s Men.
For some there will be adventure, for some tragedy, for some joy and for others despair.
Though he’d enjoyed his break spending time with his family he was starting to get just a little bored. An Otho scheme was always worth hearing, if only for the sheer level of preposterousness it invariably held.
The world is neatly divided between those who can make an amusing anecdote out of being chased out of the Temple of the Great Mother by a dozen Syrian eunuchs armed with costume jewellery, and those who prefer to bury the story in red-faced humiliation. Alex fell firmly into this second camp, hurrying back to the palace thoroughly ashamed as the Galli priests stood in the temple doorway bouncing up and down and yelling at him in their strange native tongues.
They reached the far end of the scrum, Mina jumping to her feet and looking back at the pandemonium she had somehow got through.
It was possibly the most energetic act he had ever committed. His arms burned from the effort and his feet scrabbled and scraped on the bricks but the thought of freedom from those whirling nutters gave him the necessary spur.
Philo was thus a man on the edge, a precipice of an edge which he expected to plunge off at any moment.
“May I say how attractive you look tonight?” came a melodious voice.
Its owner was not a handsome man; he was bulky with bowed legs yet he was rewarding her with the most charming smile. Statilia felt almost giggly under his appraising eyes.
For those of you who know your Roman history this is a fairly momentous first meeting.
“This is Flavius’ nephew.”
Epaphroditus took another look at the boy. “I have heard much about you, your heroics at the siege of Yodfat pleased Nero greatly. He had you marked for a good position when you returned to Rome. This new emperor I am sure will be willing to recognise your successes.”
“You’re talking about my brother. I’ve never been to Judaea. I’ve never been anywhere. I’ve not done anything.”
“Oh,” said Epaphroditus, then to Caenis, “Am I?”
“You look a lot like him.”
A platitude that failed placate Domitian, who said, “He’s ten years older than me.”
“I was going to say you look like him when he was your age,” soothed Epaphroditus.
Domitian did not look soothed.
Caenis put an arm around her stepson, “Come on lets join Flavius. They’ll start the entertainment soon.”
1) Tigellinus strode in, his unsteady gait betraying his unusual wakefulness; he was drunk, roaring drunk.
2) But Tigellinus was afternoon drunk. He was the Praetorian prefect. A friend to Nero. He thought himself invincible
3) “I thought you weren’t coming.”
“Why would you think that?” slurred the prefect.
“Because you weren’t invited.”
“Wasn’t I? I go to everything, it is my thing. Besides I’m the pre, pre, pre, the soldier thing, I look after the emperor.”
4) Dribbling from the side of his mouth, Tigellinus had yet to experience the all-time killer hangover that was waiting to hit him, or the painfully stiff neck incurred while sleeping curled up by an ornamental fountain
5) Diplomacy had never been Tigellinus’ strong point. It was difficult to know what his strong point actually was, each positive aspect to his nature being anchored down firmly by the negative
1) His path from imperial slave to pre-eminence had been a treacherous one; he’d survived by successfully skidding between palace factions, keeping his head down when others were literally losing theirs, and by being really quite good at his job.
2) Epaphroditus was just old enough to remember Livia, though not her husband the Emperor Augustus. If asked to recall he offered some vague waffles, infected by the freedman’s insistence that his life began on the day of his manumission from slavery. This was a shame since he possessed the type of tip top stellar imperial gossip that sadly never makes the history books.
3) With an absurdly generous emperor you could find yourself at the end of the day up by a seaside villa, a dozen slaves, and two bags of denarii just for complimenting Sporus’ slippers. Epaphroditus had done very well for himself.
4) Aphrodite was an intelligent woman, and even if she had not caught Mina’s suggestive eyes, the quick flash of panic that ran across her husband’s countenance would have alerted her. He smoothed it away and offered her the smile he utilised whenever he was about to suggest something he knew she would object to.
5) The grounds and house were confiscated and shortly after the old Eemperor’s death they were discreetly handed over to Epaphroditus. A reward which had garnered much palace speculation.
1) An evil, raised scar ran across his neck, the origins of which had been hotly discussed by several generations of imperial slaves.
If it gave comfort that some brave soul had once stood up to Straton, the fact that he had survived such a deadly encounter had given rise to the all too plausible rumour that he was immortal.
2) Pressed against Juba’s naked back, the overseer decided to start his day off on a high. Feeling something distinctly stiff pushing into his spine the slave squeaked, “You can’t.”
Which made Straton chuckle. Because he could.
3) Love was an emotion that hit the overseer periodically every few years and always culminated in an absolute disaster that had Felix threatening to slice off his penis with a meat cleaver.
4) Turning to his side Straton removed a dagger from his hip with something akin to annoyance, punching its owner (a pale slave he had whipped earlier that day) in the face impatiently and gesturing Mina to follow him. Mina had one thought: “What a man!” Then immediately scratched it as the consequences of spending too much time with eunuchs
5) Straton only legitimately took orders from one man, Felix. Anything else he deigned to do had been carefully weighed up as to its “fun factor”. Coshing Sabinus would definitely fall under that category