Empires may totter , armies may battle, politicians may plot, but it is family relations which provide the most dramatic material.
Buffeted by violent economic crises and challenged by powerful socialist movements that seemed everywhere on the move, the system often seemed to totter .
You may say that none of this sounds like a leap forward, more like a totter backwards.
Or, say the liberals, we waste our money on video games and trashy novels while the fine arts totter on the brink of extinction.
When the doors eventually open and the audience - no exaggeration - totter in, the candidate had moved next door, leaving only a whiff of cigar smoke hanging in the air.
These books examine notions of government and justice in post-colonial times and throw some light on why some Pacific nations seemingly totter from one crisis to another.
Call it a slight totter in an approximately forward direction if you must but it feels like a giant leap to me.
With enough blood collected a young warrior caked the wound with fresh dung and the animal was released to totter away on unsteady legs but otherwise unharmed.
The empire itself would totter on for a few more decades, but Rome would never be the same.
I have seen legends totter across stages, forget their lines, prove themselves incapable of holding a tune.