Palatine - An Alternative History of the Caesars with Peter Stothard


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 03 May 2023

A unique and entertaining history of the Roman Empire's first dynasty

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 history of ancient Rome's first imperial dynasty―the Julio-Claudians–with a cast of new men and newly dominant women, those reviled too often in the past as flatterers and gluttons, audacious 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 forever. 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.

Palatine: An Alternative History of the Caesars


0:00​ Introduction
0:50 What is your book about?
4:10 What was your research approach?
7:09 Why did you write this book?
8:49 Do you have a favorite person in the book?
12:27 What was your most fascinating discovery during research?
14:41 What should people know about the topic of your book?
15:47 Outro

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, May 03). Palatine - An Alternative History of the Caesars with Peter Stothard. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Palatine - An Alternative History of the Caesars with Peter Stothard." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 03, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Palatine - An Alternative History of the Caesars with Peter Stothard." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 03 May 2023. Web. 22 Apr 2024.