I don't have the energy to write up extensive notes on both of the sessions that I haven't described, so we'll go with the brief version of the highlights. We wanted to introduce some political changes that have been building for a while now. There's increasing resentment between Families and Filii, and frustration at the role of the Vestals, and something really had to get done. The PCs did some plotting - actually, I believe there were three totally independent plots going on, none of which were aware of the others - to advance their own ends. They made some deals which resulted in them sacrificing things they thought were unimportant in order to get the things they wanted, and through coincidence those deals resolved to pretty much screw the Filii and the Vestals. It was very nice that the PCs independently went where we'd hoped they'd be! Of course, it makes it rather difficult for the characters who are deeply involved with both the Filii and the Vestals to figure out where their real loyalties lie, but given some things that we've got planned coming up, I don't mind having a "pro-Family" group and a "pro-Filii" group who get run in alternating story arcs.
Also, I think I have a new favorite character. Julia Maesa, the grandmother of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, was historically incredibly hard-core. (It's pretty clear that she basically ruled Rome single-handedly for a dozen years or more!) I've adopted her for the game and made her a subtle, courageous, ruthless, venomous old woman who has more pride than is necessarily good for her. Oh dear. I fear her, and I'm not even a PC.