Nero had been dead for six months and Rome was a changed city. His butterfly world had vanished before a bookkeeping emperor in his seventies, and Rome would have to wait for Galba’s death before the glamorous people could return. In one respect, however, Roman life would never change. An heiress who could combine the noblest breeding with impressive wealth was always an important political pawn and Antonia’s ancestry and assets were the most impeccable in Rome.
Antonia was twenty and had already been tactically betrothed four times when Piso was presented to her as her future husband. Piso, the returned exile with his way to make, was correct and passionless and perhaps the next emperor. There was also Ortho with his charm and his flair for living and his elegant friends – very much the sort of man girls like Antonia were warned against. While in Germany the legions were restive, and Vespasian waited in Judea, nothing in the political arena had any certainty; while Rome, like a courtesan, bowed to the possessor of the moment.