HOME

TheInfoList




Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth
emperor of Rome The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rom ...
. He was
adopted Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting Parenting or child rearing promotes and supports the physical, emotion Emotions are biological states associated with all of the nerve systems brought on by neurophysiological ...
by the Roman emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
at the age of 13 and succeeded him to the throne. Nero seems to have been popular with the members of his
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
, and with lower-class commoners in Rome and the provinces, but was deeply resented by the Roman aristocracy. Most contemporary sources describe him as tyrannical, self-indulgent and debauched. He was overthrown by his
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
and committed suicide aged 30, as the last emperor of the
Julio-Claudian dynasty , native_name_lang=Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
. Nero was born at
Antium Anzio (, also , ) is a city and ' on the coast of the region of , about south of . Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the of , , and . The city bears great historical sign ...

Antium
in AD 37, the son of
Gnaeus Domitius AhenobarbusGnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was the name of several Roman politicians: *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 192 BC). *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 162 BC), son of the previous. *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 122 BC), son of the previous ...
and Agrippina the Younger, a great-granddaughter of the emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
. When Nero was two years old, his father died. His mother married the emperor Claudius, who eventually adopted Nero as his heir; when Claudius died in 54, Nero became emperor, with the support firstly of the Praetorian Guard, and then of the Senate. In the early years of his reign Nero was advised and guided by his mother Agrippina, his tutor
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
, and his
praetorian prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Itali ...
Sextus Afranius Burrus Sextus Afranius Burrus (born AD 1 in Vasio, Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis can be seen in the south of modern-day France as a Roman province. Gallia Narbonensis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic ...
, but he soon sought to rule independently, and to rid himself of restraining influences. His power struggle with his mother was eventually resolved when he had her murdered. Roman sources also implicate Nero in the deaths of his wife
Claudia Octavia Claudia Octavia (late 39 or early 40 – 8 June 62 AD) was an empress of Rome An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. ...

Claudia Octavia
– supposedly so that he could marry
Poppaea Sabina Poppaea Sabina (known as Poppaea Sabina the Younger to differentiate her from her mother, and, after AD 63, as Poppaea Augusta Sabina; AD 30 – 65) was a Roman Empress as the second wife of the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, ...

Poppaea Sabina
– and of his foster-brother
Britannicus Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus (c. 12 February AD 41 – 11 February AD 55), usually called Britannicus, was the son of Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC) ...
. Most Roman sources present Nero as sexually dissolute. He is said to have "married" a freedman
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...
, acting the part of bride at the ceremony. After Poppaea's death in unclear circumstances, Nero in short succession married an aristocratic woman
Statilia Messalina Statilia Messalina (c. AD 35 – after 68) was a Roman patrician woman, a Roman Empress and third wife to Roman Emperor Nero Nero ( ; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, rul ...

Statilia Messalina
and another freedman,
Sporus Sporus was a young boy whom the Roman Emperor Nero Nero ( ; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, ruling from 54 to 68. His infamous reign is usually associated with Tyrant, ...
, whom he had castrated. Nero's practical contributions to Rome's governance focused on
diplomacy Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the inte ...

diplomacy
,
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
, and
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...
. He ordered the construction of
amphitheaters An amphitheatre (British English) or amphitheater (American English; both ) is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek ἀμφιθέατρον (''amphitheatron''), from ἀμφ ...

amphitheaters
, promoted athletic games and contests, and made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician, and charioteer. This scandalised his aristocratic contemporaries as these occupations were usually the domain of slaves, public entertainers and
infamous persons
infamous persons
. The provision of such entertainments made Nero popular among lower-class citizens, but his performances undermined the Imperial dignity. The costs involved were borne by local elites either directly or through taxation, and were much resented. During Nero's reign, the general
Corbulo Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (Peltuinum c. AD 7 – 67) was a popular Ancient Rome, Roman general, brother-in-law of the emperor Caligula and father-in-law of Domitian. The emperor Nero, highly fearful of Corbulo's reputation, ordered him to commit sui ...

Corbulo
fought the
Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 The Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 or the War of the Armenian Succession was fought between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire over control of Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Armenia, a vital buffer state between the two realms. Armeni ...
, and made peace with the hostile
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
. The Roman general
Suetonius Paulinus Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (fl. AD 41–69) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle ...
quashed a major
revolt Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behavio ...

revolt
in
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
led by the
Iceni The Iceni ( , ) or Eceni were a Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brit ...
's queen
Boudica Boudica or Boudicca (, ), also known as Boadicea (, also ) or Boudicea, and in Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language fami ...
. The
Bosporan Kingdom The Bosporan Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (, ''Basileion tou Kimmerikou Bosporou''), was an ancient Greco-Scythian state located in eastern Crimea Crimea; crh, Къырым, translit=Kirim/Qırım; grc, ...
was briefly
annexed upCivilians and coalition military forces wave Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian flags as they celebrate the reversal of the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq (28 February 1991). Annexation (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging t ...
to the empire, and the
First Jewish–Roman War The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt ( he, המרד הגדול '), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Isra ...
began. When the Roman senator
Vindex Gaius Julius Vindex (c. AD 2568) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the ...
rebelled, with support from the eventual Roman emperor
Galba Galba (; born Servius Sulpicius Galba; 24 December 3 BC – 15 January AD 69) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...

Galba
, Nero was declared a public enemy and condemned to death ''in absentia''. He fled Rome, and on 9 June AD 68 he committed suicide. His death sparked a brief period of
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
known as the
Year of the Four Emperors The Year of the Four Emperors, AD 69 AD 69 (Roman numerals, LXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Galba, Augus ...

Year of the Four Emperors
. Most Roman sources offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign. The historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
claims the Roman people thought him compulsive and corrupt. Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the
Great Fire of Rome The Great Fire of Rome ( la, incendium magnum Romae), was an urban fire that occurred in July AD 64. The fire began in the merchant shops around Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus The Circus Maximus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a cla ...
was instigated by Nero to clear land for his planned " Golden House". Tacitus claims that Nero seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and had them burned alive, seemingly motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty. Some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts, considering his popularity among the Roman commoners. In the eastern provinces of the Empire, a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. After his death, at least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as " Nero reborn" in order to gain popular support.


Early life

Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on 15 December 37ADin
Antium Anzio (, also , ) is a city and ' on the coast of the region of , about south of . Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the of , , and . The city bears great historical sign ...

Antium
(modern Anzio).Barrett, Anthony A. 2010. "Nero." In ''The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome'', edited by M. Gagarin
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for fre ...

Oxford University Press
. . .
He was an only-child, the son of the politician
Gnaeus Domitius AhenobarbusGnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was the name of several Roman politicians: *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 192 BC). *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 162 BC), son of the previous. *Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 122 BC), son of the previous ...
and Agrippina the Younger. His mother Agrippina was the sister of the third Roman emperor
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
. Nero was also the great-great grandson of former emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
(descended from Augustus' only daughter,
Julia Julia is usually a feminine given name. It is a Latinate feminine form of the name Julio (given name), Julio and Julius. (For further details on etymology, see wikt:Iulius#Latin, Wiktionary entry “Julius”.) The given name ''Julia'' had been ...
). The ancient biographer
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
, who was critical of Nero's ancestors, wrote that emperor Augustus had reproached Nero's grandfather for his unseemly enjoyment of violent
gladiator A gladiator ( la, gladiator, "swordsman", from , "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run thr ...

gladiator
games. According to Jürgen Malitz, Suetonius tells that Nero's father was known to be "irascible and brutal", and that both "enjoyed chariot races and theater performances to a degree not befitting their position". Suetonius also mentions that when Nero's father Domitius was congratulated by his friends for the birth of his son, he replied that any child born to him and Agrippina would have a detestable nature and become a public danger. Domitius died in 40 AD. A few years before his father's death, his father was involved in a serious political scandal. His mother and his two surviving sisters, Agrippina and
Julia Livilla Julia Livilla ( – ) was the youngest child of Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germ ...
, were exiled to a remote island in the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
. His mother was said to have been exiled for plotting to overthrow the emperor Caligula. Nero's inheritance was taken from him, and he was sent to live with his paternal aunt
Domitia Lepida the Younger{{For, the genus of beetles, Domitia (beetle) Domitia is the Roman naming conventions#Female names, name of women from the ''gens'' Domitia gens, Domitia of Ancient Rome. Women from the ''gens'' include: * Domitia, wife of Quintus Lutatius Catulus ...
, the mother of later emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
's third wife,
Messalina Valeria Messalina or Messallina (; ) was the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius. She was a paternal cousin of Emperor Nero, a second cousin of Emperor Caligula, and a great-grandniece of Emperor Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 Septem ...

Messalina
. After Caligula's death, Claudius became the new Roman Emperor. Nero's mother married Claudius in 49AD, becoming his fourth wife. By February, 49 AD, his mother had persuaded Claudius to adopt her son Nero. After Nero's adoption by the emperor, "Claudius" became part of his name: Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. Claudius had gold coins issued to mark the adoption. Classics professor Josiah Osgood has written that "the coins, through their distribution and imagery alike, showed that a new Leader was in the making." However,
David Shotter David Colin Arthur Shotter (3 January 193922 May 2021) was a British archaeologist and Professor of Roman Imperial History at the University of Lancaster. Career Shotter was born in London and educated at King's College School, Wimbledon, Lond ...
noted that, despite events in Rome, Nero's step-brother
Britannicus Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus (c. 12 February AD 41 – 11 February AD 55), usually called Britannicus, was the son of Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC) ...
was more prominent in provincial coinages during the early 50s. Nero formally entered public life as an adult in 51AD at approximately 14 years old. When he turned 16, Nero married Claudius' daughter (his step-sister),
Claudia Octavia Claudia Octavia (late 39 or early 40 – 8 June 62 AD) was an empress of Rome An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. ...

Claudia Octavia
. Between the years 51AD and 53AD, he gave several speeches on behalf of various communities, including the Ilians; the Apameans (requesting a five-year tax reprieve after an earthquake); and the northern colony of
Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese dialect, Bolognese, Bulåggna ; lat, Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous ...

Bologna
, after their settlement had suffered a devastating fire.
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
died in 54AD; many ancient historians claim that he was poisoned by Agrippina. Shotter has written that "Claudius' death in 54AD has usually been regarded as an event hastened by Agrippina due to signs that Claudius was showing a renewed affection for his natural son". He also notes that among ancient sources, the Roman historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
was uniquely reserved in describing the poisoning as a rumor. Contemporary sources differ in their accounts of the poisoning. Tacitus says that the poison-maker
Locusta Locusta or Lucusta (died 69), was a notorious maker of poisons in the 1st-century Roman Empire, active in the final two reigns of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She supposedly took part in the assassinations of Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Cl ...

Locusta
prepared the toxin, which was served to the Emperor by his servant
Halotus Halotus (c. 20–30 ADc. 70–80 AD) was an eunuch A eunuch ( ) is a man who has been castration, castrated. Throughout history, castration often served a specific social function. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce e ...
. Tacitus also writes that Agrippina arranged for Claudius' doctor
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...
to administer poison, in the event that the Emperor survived. Suetonius differs in some details, but also implicates Halotus and Agrippina. Like Tacitus, Cassius Dio writes that the poison was prepared by Locusta, but in Dio's account it is administered by Agrippina instead of Halotus. In ''
Apocolocyntosis The ''Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii'', literally ''The pumpkinification of ''(''the Divine'')'' Claudius'', is a satire on the Roman emperor Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 Octobe ...
'',
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
does not mention mushrooms at all. Agrippina's involvement in Claudius' death is not accepted by all modern scholars. Before Claudius' death, Agrippina had maneuvered to remove Claudius' sons' tutors in order to replace them with tutors that she had selected. She was also able to convince Claudius to replace two prefects of the Praetorian Guard (who were suspected of supporting Claudius' son) with Afranius Burrus (Nero's future guide). Since Agrippina had replaced the guard officers with men loyal to her, Nero was subsequently able to assume power without incident.


Reign (54–68 AD)

Most of what we know about Nero's reign comes from three ancient writers:
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
,
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
, and Greek historian
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
. According to these ancient historians, Nero's construction projects were overly extravagant and the large number of expenditures under Nero left Italy "thoroughly exhausted by contributions of money" with "the provinces ruined". Modern historians, though, note that the period was riddled with deflation and that it is likely that Nero's spending came in the form of public-works projects and charity intended to ease economic troubles.


Early reign

Nero became emperor in 54 AD, aged sixteen years. This made him the youngest sole emperor until
Elagabalus Elagabalus ( 204 – 11 March 222), also called Heliogabalus and officially known as Antoninus, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 ...
, who became emperor aged 14 in 218. As
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...

Pharaoh
of Egypt, Nero adopted the royal titulary ''
Autokrator ''Autokratōr'' ( grc-gre, αὐτοκράτωρ, autokrátōr, self-ruler", "one who rules by himself, , ; grc, αὐτοκράτορες, autokrátores, label=none, from grc, αὐτός, autós, self, label=none + grc, κράτος, krátos, ...
Neron Heqaheqau Meryasetptah Tjemaahuikhasut Wernakhtubaqet Heqaheqau Setepennenu Merur'' ('Emperor Nero, Ruler of rulers, chosen by
Ptah Ptah ( egy, ptḥ, reconstructed ; grc, Φθά; cop, ⲡⲧⲁϩ) is an ancient Egyptian deity Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictiona ...

Ptah
, beloved of
Isis Isis (; ''Ēse''; ; Meroitic language, Meroitic: ''Wos'' 'a''or ''Wusa'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Ol ...

Isis
, the sturdy-armed one who struck the foreign lands, victorious for Egypt, ruler of rulers, chosen of
Nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...
who loves him'). Nero's tutor, Seneca, prepared Nero's first speech before the Senate. During this speech, Nero spoke about "eliminating the ills of the previous regime". H.H. Scullard writes that "he promised to follow the Augustan model in his principate, to end all secret trials ''intra cubiculum'', to have done with the corruption of court favorites and freedmen, and above all to respect the privileges of the Senate and individual Senators." His respect of the Senatorial autonomy, which distinguished him from Caligula and Claudius, was generally well received by the . Scullard writes that Nero's mother, Agrippina, "meant to rule through her son". Agrippina murdered her political rivals: Domitia Lepida the Younger, the aunt that Nero had lived with during Agrippina's exile; Marcus Junius Silanus, a great grandson of Augustus; and
Narcissus Narcissus may refer to: Biology * Narcissus (plant), ''Narcissus'' (plant), a genus containing daffodils and others People * Narcissus (mythology), Greek mythological character * Narcissus (wrestler) (2nd century), assassin of the Roman emperor Co ...
. One of the earliest coins that Nero issues during his reign shows Agrippina on the coin's
obverse Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...
side; usually, this would be reserved for a portrait of the emperor. The Senate also allowed Agrippina two
lictors A lictor (possibly from la, ligare, "to bind") was a Roman civil servant who was an attendant and bodyguard A bodyguard (or close protection officer/operative) is a type of security guard, government law enforcement officer, or servicemember w ...
during public appearances, an honor that was customarily bestowed upon only magistrates and the Vestalis Maxima. In AD55, Nero removed Agrippina's ally Marcus Antonius Pallas from his position in the treasury. Shotter writes the following about Agrippina's deteriorating relationship with Nero: "What Seneca and Burrus probably saw as relatively harmless in Nero—his cultural pursuits and his affair with the slave girl
Claudia Acte Claudia Acte was a freedman, freedwoman of ancient Rome who became a mistress of the emperor Nero. She came from Asia Minor and might have become a slave of the Emperor Claudius, following his expansion of the Roman Empire into Lycia and Pamphylia; ...
—were to her signs of her son's dangerous emancipation of himself from her influence." Britannicus was poisoned after Agrippina threatened to side with him. Nero, who was having an affair with Acte, exiled Agrippina from the palace when she began to cultivate a relationship with his wife Octavia. Jürgen Malitz writes that ancient sources do not provide any clear evidence to evaluate the extent of Nero's personal involvement in politics during the first years of his reign. He describes the policies that are explicitly attributed to Nero as "well-meant but incompetent notions" like Nero's failed initiative to abolish all taxes in 58AD. Scholars generally credit Nero's advisors Burrus and Seneca with the administrative successes of these years. Malitz writes that in later years, Nero panicked when he had to make decisions on his own during times of crisis. Nevertheless, his early administration ruled to great acclaim. A generation later those years were seen in retrospect as an exemplar of good and moderate government and described as ''Quinquennium Neronis'' by
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
. Especially well received were fiscal reforms which among others put tax collectors under more strict control by establishing local offices to supervise their activities. After the affair of Lucius Pedanius Secundus who was murdered by a desperate slave, Nero allowed slaves to file complaints about their treatment to the authorities.


Residences

Outside of Rome, Nero had several villas or palaces built, the ruins of which can still be seen today. These included the Villa of Nero at
Antium Anzio (, also , ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public se ...
, his place of birth, where he razed the villa on the site to rebuild it on a more massive and imperial scale and including a theatre. At
Subiaco, Lazio Subiaco is a town and ''comune'' in the Metropolitan City of Rome, in Lazio, central Italy, from Tivoli, Italy, Tivoli alongside the river Aniene. It is a tourist and religious resort because of its sacred grotto (Abbey_of_Saint_Scholastica, ...
, near Rome he built 3 artificial lakes with waterfalls, bridges and walkways for the luxurious villa. He stayed at the Villa of Nero at
Olympia, Greece Olympia ( el, label=Modern Greek, Ολυμπία ; grc, Ὀλυμπία ), officially Archaia Olympia ( el, label=Modern Greek, Αρχαία Ολυμπία; grc, Ἀρχαίὰ Ὀλυμπία, links=no; "Ancient Olympia"), is a small town in E ...
, during his participation at the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
of 67 AD.


Matricide

''The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome'' cautiously notes that Nero's reasons for killing his mother in 59AD are "not fully understood". According to
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, the source of conflict between Nero and his mother was Nero's affair with
Poppaea Sabina Poppaea Sabina (known as Poppaea Sabina the Younger to differentiate her from her mother, and, after AD 63, as Poppaea Augusta Sabina; AD 30 – 65) was a Roman Empress as the second wife of the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, ...

Poppaea Sabina
. In ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'' Tacitus writes that the affair began while Poppaea was still married to
Rufrius Crispinus Rufrius Crispinus was an Equites, equestrian who lived during the later Julio-Claudian dynasty. Under the Roman Emperor Claudius he was the commander of the Praetorian Guard. In 47, he suppressed a rebellion and was promoted by the Senate to the r ...
, but in his later work ''
Annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the History ...
'' Tacitus says Poppaea was married to
Otho Marcus Otho (; born Marcus Salvius Otho; 28 April 32 – 16 April 69) was for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the . A member of a noble family, Otho was initially a friend and courtier of the young ...
when the affair began. In ''Annals'' Tacitus writes that Agrippina opposed Nero's affair with Poppaea because of her affection for his wife . Anthony Barrett writes that Tacitus' account in ''Annals'' "suggests that Poppaea's challenge drove
ero ''Ero'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anat ...
over the brink". A number of modern historians have noted that Agrippina's death would not have offered much advantage for Poppaea, as Nero did not marry Poppaea until 62AD. Barrett writes that Poppaea seems to serve as a "literary device, utilized y Tacitusbecause could see no plausible explanation for Nero's conduct and also incidentally ervedto show that Nero, like Claudius, had fallen under the malign influence of a woman." According to
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
, Nero had his former freedman Anicetus (freedman), Anicetus arrange a shipwreck; Agrippina survived the wreck, swam ashore and was executed by Anicetus, who reported her death as a suicide.


Decline

Modern scholars believe that Nero's reign had been going well in the years before Agrippina's death. For example, Nero promoted the exploration of the Nile river sources with a Nero exploration of Nile river, successful expedition. After Agrippina's exile, Burrus and Seneca were responsible for the administration of the Empire. However, Nero's "conduct became far more egregious" after his mother's death. Miriam T. Griffins suggests that Nero's decline began as early as 55AD with the murder of his stepbrother Britannicus, but also notes that "Nero lost all sense of right and wrong and listened to flattery with total credulity" after Agrippina's death. Griffin points out that Tacitus "makes explicit the significance of Agrippina's removal for Nero's conduct". He began to build a new palace, the Domus Transitoria, from about AD 60. It was intended to connect all of the imperial estates that had been acquired in various ways, with the Palatine including the Gardens of Maecenas, Horti Lamiani, Horti Lolliani, etc. In 62AD, Nero's adviser Burrus died. That same year Nero called for the first treason trial of his reign (''maiestas'' trial) against Antistius Sosianus. He also executed his rivals Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix, Cornelius Sulla and Rubellius Plautus. Jürgen Malitz considers this to be a turning point in Nero's relationship with the . Malitz writes that "Nero abandoned the restraint he had previously shown because he believed a course supporting the Senate promised to be less and less profitable." After Burrus' death, Nero appointed two new Praetorian Prefects: Faenius Rufus and Ofonius Tigellinus. Politically isolated, Seneca was forced to retire. According to Tacitus, Nero divorced Octavia on grounds of infertility, and banished her.Tacitus, ''Annals'' s:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 14#60, XIV.60. After public protests over Octavia's exile, Nero accused her of adultery with Anicetus and she was executed. In 64AD during the Saturnalia, Nero married
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...
, a freedman.#Champlin, Champlin, p. 146


Great Fire of Rome

The Great Fire of Rome began on the night of 18 to 19 July 64, probably in one of the merchant's shops on the slope of the Aventine Hill, Aventine overlooking the Circus Maximus, or in the wooden outer seating of the Circus itself. Rome had always been vulnerable to fires, and this one was fanned to catastrophic proportions by the winds.#Champlin, Champlin, p. 122Tacitus, ''Annals'', s:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#38, XV.38 Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and modern archaeology describe the destruction of mansions, ordinary residences, public buildings and temples on the Aventine, Palatine and Caelian hills.#Champlin, Champlin, p. 125 The fire burned for over seven days;then it subsided, and then it started again and burned for three more. It destroyed three of Rome's fourteen districts and severely damaged seven more.Tacitus, ''Annals'', s:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#40, XV.40 Some Romans thought the fire an accident; the merchant shops where it probably started were timber-framed, they sold flammable goods, and the outer seating stands of the Circus were timber-built. Others claimed that it was arson, committed on Nero's behalf. The accounts by Pliny the Elder, Suetonius and Cassius Dio suggest several possible reasons for Nero's alleged arson, including his creation of a real-life backdrop to a theatrical performance about the burning of Troy. Suetonius wrote that Nero started the fire to clear the site for his planned, palatial Golden House. This would include lush artificial landscapes and a 30-meter-tall statue of himself, the Colossus of Nero, sited more or less where the Colliseum would eventually be built. Suetonius and Cassius Dio claim that Nero sang the "Sack of Ilium" in stage costume while the city burned. The popular legend that Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned "is at least partly a literary construct of Flavian dynasty, Flavian propaganda [...] which looked askance on the abortive Neronian attempt to rewrite Augustan models of rule". Tacitus suspends judgment on Nero's responsibility for the fire; he found that Nero was in Antium when the fire started, and returned to Rome to organize a relief effort, providing for the removal of bodies and debris, which he paid for from his own funds.Tacitus, ''Annals'', s:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#39, XV.39 After the fire, Nero opened his palaces to provide shelter for the homeless, and arranged for food supplies to be delivered in order to prevent starvation among the survivors. Tacitus writes that to remove suspicion from himself, Nero accused Christians of starting the fire. According to this account, many Christians were arrested and brutally executed by "being thrown to the beasts, crucified, and being burned alive". Tacitus asserts that in his imposition of such ferocious punishments, Nero was not motivated by a sense of justice, but by a penchant for personal cruelty.
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, ''
Annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the History ...
''. XV.44.
Houses built after the fire were spaced out, built in brick, and faced by porticos on wide roads.Tacitus, ''Annals'', s:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#43, XV.43 Nero also built himself a new palace complex known as the Domus Aurea in an area cleared by the fire. The cost to rebuild Rome was immense, requiring funds the state treasury did not have. To find the necessary funds for the reconstruction, Nero's government increased taxation. In particular heavy tributes were imposed on the provinces of the empire. To meet at least a proportion of the costs, Nero devalued the Roman currency, increasing inflationary pressure for the first time in the Empire's history.


Later years

In 65AD, Gaius Calpurnius Piso (conspirator), Gaius Calpurnius Piso, a Roman statesman, organized a Pisonian conspiracy, conspiracy against Nero with the help of Subrius Flavus and Sulpicius Asper, a tribune and a centurion of the Praetorian Guard. According to Tacitus, many conspirators wished to "rescue the state" from the emperor and restore the Roman Republic, Republic. The freedman Milichus discovered the conspiracy and reported it to Nero's secretary, Epaphroditos. As a result, the conspiracy failed and its members were executed including Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Lucan, the poet. Nero's previous advisor Seneca the Younger, Seneca was accused by Natalis; he denied the charges but was still ordered to commit suicide as by this point he had fallen out of favor with Nero. Nero was said to have kicked Poppaea to death in 65AD, before she could have his second child. Modern historians, noting the probable biases of Suetonius, Tacitus, and Cassius Dio, and the likely absence of eyewitnesses to such an event, propose that Poppaea may have died after miscarriage or in childbirth. Nero went into deep mourning; Poppaea was given a sumptuous state funeral, Imperial cult (ancient Rome)#Divus, deus and the numen, divine honors, and was promised a temple for her cult. A year's importation of incense was burned at the funeral. Her body was not cremated, as would have been strictly customary, but embalmed after the Egyptian manner and entombed; it is not known where. In 67, Nero married
Sporus Sporus was a young boy whom the Roman Emperor Nero Nero ( ; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, ruling from 54 to 68. His infamous reign is usually associated with Tyrant, ...
, a young boy who is said to have greatly resembled Poppaea. Nero had him castrated, tried to make a woman out of him, and married him in a dowry and bridal veil. It is believed that he did this out of regret for his killing of Poppaea.


Revolt of Vindex and Galba and Nero's death

In March 68, Vindex, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policies.Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LXIII.22
Lucius Virginius Rufus, Lucius Verginius Rufus, the governor of Germania Superior, was ordered to put down Vindex's rebellion.Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LXIII.24
In an attempt to gain support from outside his own province, Vindex called upon Galba, Servius Sulpicius Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to join the rebellion and to declare himself emperor in opposition to Nero.Plutarch, ''The Parallel Lives'', Life of Galb
5
At the Battle of Vesontio (68), Battle of Vesontio in May 68, Verginius' forces easily defeated those of Vindex, and the latter committed suicide. However, after defeating the rebel, Verginius' legions attempted to proclaim their own commander as Emperor. Verginius refused to act against Nero, but the discontent of the legions of Germania and the continued opposition of Galba in Hispania did not bode well for him. While Nero had retained some control of the situation, support for Galba increased despite his being officially declared a public enemy ("hostis publicus"). The prefect of the
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
, Nymphidius Sabinus, Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, also abandoned his allegiance to the Emperor and came out in support of Galba. In response, Nero fled Rome with the intention of going to the port of Ostia Antica, Ostia and, from there, to take a fleet to one of the still-loyal eastern provinces. According to Suetonius, Nero abandoned the idea when some army officers openly refused to obey his commands, responding with a line from Virgil's ''Aeneid'': "Is it so dreadful a thing then to die?" Nero then toyed with the idea of fleeing to Parthian Empire, Parthia, throwing himself upon the mercy of Galba, or appealing to the people and begging them to pardon him for his past offences "and if he could not soften their hearts, to entreat them at least to allow him the Egypt (Roman province), prefecture of Egypt". Suetonius reports that the text of this speech was later found in Nero's writing desk, but that he dared not give it from fear of being torn to pieces before he could reach the Forum.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Ner
47
Nero returned to Rome and spent the evening in the palace. After sleeping, he awoke at about midnight to find the palace guard had left. Dispatching messages to his friends' palace chambers for them to come, he received no answers. Upon going to their chambers personally, he found them all abandoned. When he called for a
gladiator A gladiator ( la, gladiator, "swordsman", from , "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run thr ...

gladiator
or anyone else adept with a sword to kill him, no one appeared. He cried, "Have I neither friend nor foe?" and ran out as if to throw himself into the Tiber. Returning, Nero sought a place where he could hide and collect his thoughts. An imperial freedman, Phaon (freedman), Phaon, offered his villa, located outside the city. Travelling in disguise, Nero and four loyal freedman, freedmen, Epaphroditos, Phaon (freedman), Phaon, Neophytus (freedman), Neophytus, and
Sporus Sporus was a young boy whom the Roman Emperor Nero Nero ( ; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, ruling from 54 to 68. His infamous reign is usually associated with Tyrant, ...
, reached the villa, where Nero ordered them to dig a grave for him. At this time, a courier arrived with a report that the Senate had declared Nero a public enemy, that it was their intention to execute him by beating him to death, and that armed men had been sent to apprehend him for the act to take place in the Roman Forum. The Senate actually was still reluctant and deliberating on the right course of action, as Nero was the last member of the Julio-Claudian family.. Indeed, most of the senators had served the imperial family all their lives and felt a sense of loyalty to the deified bloodline, if not to Nero himself. The men actually had the goal of returning Nero back to the Senate, where the Senate hoped to work out a compromise with the rebelling governors that would preserve Nero's life, so that at least a future heir to the dynasty could be produced. Nero, however, did not know this, and at the news brought by the courier, he prepared himself for forced suicide, suicide, pacing up and down muttering ''Qualis artifex pereo'' ("What an artist dies in me"). Losing his nerve, he begged one of his companions to set an example by killing himself first. At last, the sound of approaching horsemen drove Nero to face the end. However, he still could not bring himself to take his own life, but instead forced his private secretary, Epaphroditos, to perform the task. When one of the horsemen entered and saw that Nero was dying, he attempted to stop the bleeding, but efforts to save Nero's life were unsuccessful. Nero's final words were "Too late! This is fidelity!"Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Ner
49
He died on 9 June 68, the anniversary of the death of his first wife
Claudia Octavia Claudia Octavia (late 39 or early 40 – 8 June 62 AD) was an empress of Rome An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. ...

Claudia Octavia
, and was buried in the Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi, in what is now the Villa Borghese (Pincian Hill) area of Rome. According to Sulpicius Severus, it is unclear whether Nero took his own life. With his death, the
Julio-Claudian dynasty , native_name_lang=Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
ended. When news of his death reached Rome, the Senate posthumously declared Nero a public enemy to appease the coming Galba (as the Senate had initially declared Galba as a public enemy) and proclaimed Galba as the new emperor. Chaos would ensue in the year of the Four Emperors.Tacitus, ''Histories'' s:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#2, I.2.


After Nero

According to Suetonius and Cassius Dio, the people of Rome celebrated the death of Nero. Tacitus, though, describes a more complicated political environment. Tacitus mentions that Nero's death was welcomed by Senators, nobility and the upper class.Tacitus, ''Histories'' s:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#4, I.4. The lower-class, slaves, frequenters of the arena and the theater, and "those who were supported by the famous excesses of Nero", on the other hand, were upset with the news. Members of the military were said to have mixed feelings, as they had allegiance to Nero, but had been bribed to overthrow him.Tacitus, ''Histories'' s:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#5, I.5. Eastern sources, namely Philostratus and Apollonius of Tyana, mention that Nero's death was mourned as he "restored the liberties of Roman Greece, Hellas with a wisdom and moderation quite alien to his character" and that he "held our liberties in his hand and respected them". Modern scholarship generally holds that, while the Senate and more well-off individuals welcomed Nero's death, the general populace was "loyal to the end and beyond, for Otho and Vitellius both thought it worthwhile to appeal to their nostalgia". Nero's name was erased from some monuments, in what Edward Champlin regards as an "outburst of private zeal". Many portraits of Nero were reworked to represent other figures; according to Eric R. Varner, over fifty such images survive.John Pollini (September 2006), Review of ''Mutilation and Transformation: Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture'' by Eric R. Varner, ''The Art Bulletin''. This reworking of images is often explained as part of the way in which the memory of disgraced emperors was condemned posthumously (see ''damnatio memoriae''). Champlin, however, doubts that the practice is necessarily negative and notes that some continued to create images of Nero long after his death. Damaged portraits of Nero, often with hammer-blows directed to the face, have been found in many provinces of the Roman Empire, three recently having been identified from the United Kingdom (see ''damnatio memoriae''). The civil war during the year of the Four Emperors was described by ancient historians as a troubling period. According to Tacitus, this instability was rooted in the fact that emperors could no longer rely on the perceived legitimacy of the imperial bloodline, as Nero and those before him could.
Galba Galba (; born Servius Sulpicius Galba; 24 December 3 BC – 15 January AD 69) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...

Galba
began his short reign with the execution of many of Nero's allies. One such notable enemy included Nymphidius Sabinus, who claimed to be the son of Emperor
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
.
Otho Marcus Otho (; born Marcus Salvius Otho; 28 April 32 – 16 April 69) was for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the . A member of a noble family, Otho was initially a friend and courtier of the young ...
overthrew Galba. Otho was said to be liked by many soldiers because he had been a friend of Nero and resembled him somewhat in temperament. It was said that the common Roman hailed Otho as Nero himself.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Oth
7
Otho used "Nero" as a surname and reerected many statues to Nero. Vitellius overthrew Otho. Vitellius began his reign with a large funeral for Nero complete with songs written by Nero. After Nero's death in 68, there was a widespread belief, especially in the eastern provinces, that he was not dead and somehow would return. This belief came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend. The legend of Nero's return lasted for hundreds of years after Nero's death. Augustine of Hippo wrote of the legend as a popular belief in 422.Augustine of Hippo, ''City of God''
XX.19.3
At least pseudo-Neros, three Nero impostors emerged leading rebellions. The first, who sang and played the cithara or lyre and whose face was similar to that of the dead emperor, appeared in 69 during the reign of Vitellius.Tacitus, ''Histories'' s:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 2#8, II.8. After persuading some to recognize him, he was captured and executed. Sometime during the reign of Titus (79–81), another impostor appeared in Asia and sang to the accompaniment of the lyre and looked like Nero but he, too, was killed. Twenty years after Nero's death, during the reign of Domitian, there was a third pretender. He was supported by the Parthians, who only reluctantly gave him up, and the matter almost came to war.


Military conflicts


Boudica's uprising

In Britannia (Britain) in 59AD, Prasutagus, leader of the
Iceni The Iceni ( , ) or Eceni were a Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brit ...
tribe and a client king of Rome during Claudius' reign, had died. The client state arrangement was unlikely to survive following the death of Claudius. The will of the Iceni tribal King (leaving control of the Iceni to his daughters) was denied. When the roman Procurator (ancient Rome), procurator Catus Decianus scourged the former King Prasutagus' wife Boudica and raped her daughters, the Iceni revolted. They were joined by the Celtic Trinovantes tribe and Boudica's Rebellion, their uprising became the most significant provincial rebellion of the 1st centuryAD. Under Queen Boudica, the towns of Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St. Albans) were burned, and a substantial body of Roman legion infantry were eliminated. The governor of the province, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, assembled his remaining forces and Defeat of Boudica, defeated the Britons. Although order was restored for some time, Nero considered abandoning the province. Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, Julius Classicianus replaced the former procurator, Catus Decianus, and Classicianus advised Nero to replace Paulinus who continued to punish the population even after the rebellion was over. Nero decided to adopt a more lenient approach by appointing a new governor, Petronius Turpilianus.


Peace with Parthia

Nero began preparing for war in the early years of his reign, after the Parthian Empire, Parthian king Vologases I of Parthia, Vologeses set his brother Tiridates I of Armenia, Tiridates on the Roman Armenia, Armenian throne. Around 57AD and 58AD Domitius Corbulo and his legions advanced on Tiridates and captured the Armenian capital Artaxata. Tigranes VI of Armenia, Tigranes was chosen to replace Tiridates on the Armenian throne. When Tigranes attacked Adiabene, Nero had to send further legions to defend Armenia and Syria from Parthia. The Roman victory came at a time when the Parthians were troubled by revolts; when this was dealt with they were able to devote resources to the Armenian situation. A Roman army under Paetus surrendered under humiliating circumstances and though both Roman and Parthian forces withdrew from Armenia, it was under Parthian control. The triumphal arch for Corbulo's earlier victory was part-built when Parthian envoys arrived in 63 AD to discuss treaties. Given ''imperium'' over the eastern regions, Corbulo organised his forces for an invasion but was met by this Parthian delegation. An agreement was thereafter reached with the Parthians: Rome would recognize Tiridates as king of Armenia, only if he agreed to receive his diadem from Nero. A coronation ceremony was held in Italy 66AD. Dio reports that Tiridates said "I have come to you, my God, worshiping you as Mithras." Shotter says this parallels other divine designations that were commonly applied to Nero in the East including "The New Apollo" and "The New Sun". After the coronation, friendly relations were established between Rome and the eastern kingdoms of Parthia and Armenia. Artaxata was temporarily renamed Neroneia.


First Jewish War

In 66, there was a Jewish revolt in Judea stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. In 67, Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order. This revolt was eventually put down in 70, after Nero's death. This revolt is famous for Romans breaching the walls of Jerusalem and destroying the Second Temple of Jerusalem.


Pursuits

Nero studied poetry, music, painting and sculpture. He both sang and played the ''cithara'' (a type of lyre). Many of these disciplines were standard education for the Roman elite, but Nero's devotion to music exceeded what was socially acceptable for a Roman of his class. Ancient sources were critical of Nero's emphasis on the arts, chariot-racing and athletics. Pliny described Nero as an "actor-emperor" (''scaenici imperatoris'') and Suetonius wrote that he was "carried away by a craze for popularity...since he was acclaimed as the equal of Apollo in music and of the Sun in driving a chariot, he had planned to emulate the exploits of Hercules as well." In 67 AD Nero participated in the Ancient Olympic Games, Olympics. He had bribed organizers to postpone the games for a year so he could participate, and artistic competitions were added to the athletic events. Nero won every contest in which he was a competitor. During the games Nero sang and played his lyre on stage, acted in tragedies and raced chariots. He won a 10-horse chariot race, despite being thrown from the chariot and leaving the race. He was crowned on the basis that he would have won if he had completed the race. After he died a year later, his name was removed from the list of winners. Champlin writes that though Nero's participation "effectively stifled true competition,
ero ''Ero'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anat ...
seems to have been oblivious of reality." Nero established the Neronian games in 60AD. Modeled on Greek style games, these games included "music" "gymnastic" and "questrian" contents. According to Suetonius the gymnastic contests were held in the Saepta area of the Campus Martius.


Historiography

The history of Nero's reign is problematic in that no historical sources survived that were contemporary with Nero. These first histories, while they still existed, were described as biased and fantastical, either overly critical or praising of Nero. The original sources were also said to contradict on a number of events. Nonetheless, these lost primary sources were the basis of surviving secondary and tertiary histories on Nero written by the next generations of historians. A few of the contemporary historians are known by name. Fabius Rusticus, Cluvius Rufus and Pliny the Elder all wrote condemning histories on Nero that are now lost. There were also pro-Nero histories, but it is unknown who wrote them or for what deeds Nero was praised. The bulk of what is known of Nero comes from
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
,
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
and
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
, who were all of the upper classes. Tacitus and Suetonius wrote their histories on Nero over fifty years after his death, while Cassius Dio wrote his history over 150 years after Nero's death. These sources contradict one another on a number of events in Nero's life including the death of
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
, the death of Agrippina the Younger, Agrippina, and the Roman fire of 64, but they are consistent in their condemnation of Nero. A handful of other sources also add a limited and varying perspective on Nero. Few surviving sources paint Nero in a favourable light. Some sources, though, portray him as a competent emperor who was popular with the Roman people, especially in the east. ;Cassius Dio
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
(c. 155–229) was the son of Cassius Apronianus, a Roman senator. He passed the greater part of his life in public service. He was a senator under Commodus and governor of Smyrna after the death of Septimius Severus; and afterwards suffect consul around 205, and also proconsul in Africa and Pannonia. Books 61–63 of Dio's ''Roman History'' describe the reign of Nero. Only fragments of these books remain and what does remain was abridged and altered by John Xiphilinus, an 11th-century monk. ;Dio Chrysostom Dio Chrysostom (c. 40–120), a Greek philosopher and historian, wrote the Roman people were very happy with Nero and would have allowed him to rule indefinitely. They longed for his rule once he was gone and embraced imposters when they appeared: ;Epictetus Epictetus (c. 55–135) was the slave to Nero's scribe Epaphroditos. He makes a few passing negative comments on Nero's character in his work, but makes no remarks on the nature of his rule. He describes Nero as a spoiled, angry and unhappy man. ;Josephus The historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
(c. 37–100), while calling Nero a tyrant, was also the first to mention bias against Nero. Of other historians, he said: ;Lucan Although more of a poet than historian, Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Lucanus (c. 39–65) has one of the kindest accounts of Nero's rule. He writes of peace and prosperity under Nero in contrast to previous war and strife. Ironically, he was later involved in a conspiracy to overthrow Nero and was executed. ;Philostratus Philostratus II "the Athenian" (c. 172–250) spoke of Nero in the Life of Apollonius Tyana (Books 4–5). Although he has a generally bad or dim view of Nero, he speaks of others' positive reception of Nero in the East. ;Pliny the Elder The history of Nero by Pliny the Elder (c. 24–79) did not survive. Still, there are several references to Nero in Pliny's ''Natural Histories''. Pliny has one of the worst opinions of Nero and calls him an "enemy of mankind". ;Plutarch Plutarch (c. 46–127) mentions Nero indirectly in his account of the Life of Galba and the Life of Otho, as well as in the Vision of Thespesius in Book 7 of the Moralia, where a voice orders that Nero's soul be transferred to a more offensive species. Nero is portrayed as a tyrant, but those that replace him are not described as better. ;Seneca the Younger It is not surprising that Seneca the Younger, Seneca (c. 4 BC–65 AD), Nero's teacher and advisor, writes very well of Nero. ;Suetonius
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
(c. 69–130) was a member of the equestrian order, and he was the head of the department of the imperial correspondence. While in this position, Suetonius started writing biographies of the emperors, accentuating the anecdotal and sensational aspects. By this account, Nero raped the vestal virgin Rubria. ;Tacitus The ''Annals'' by
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
(c. 56–117) is the most detailed and comprehensive history on the rule of Nero, despite being incomplete after the year 66AD. Tacitus described the rule of the Julio-Claudian emperors as generally unjust. He also thought that existing writing on them was unbalanced: Tacitus was the son of a Promagistrate, procurator, who married into the elite family of Agricola. He entered his political life as a senator after Nero's death and, by Tacitus' own admission, owed much to Nero's rivals. Realising that this bias may be apparent to others, Tacitus protests that his writing is true. ; Girolamo Cardano In 1562 Girolamo Cardano published in Basel his ''Encomium Neronis'', which was one of the first historical references of the Modern era to portray Nero in a positive light.


In Jewish and Christian tradition


Jewish tradition

At the end of 66AD, conflict broke out between Greeks and Jews in Jerusalem and Caesarea. According to the Talmud, Nero went to Jerusalem and shot arrows in all four directions. All the arrows landed in the city. He then asked a passing child to repeat the verse he had learned that day. The child responded, "I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel" (Ezekiel 25:14). Nero became terrified, believing that God wanted the Second Temple to be destroyed, but that he would punish the one to carry it out. Nero said, "He desires to lay waste His House and to lay the blame on me," whereupon he fled and converted to Judaism to avoid such retribution. Vespasian was then dispatched to put down the rebellion. The Talmud adds that the sage Rabbi Meir, Reb Meir Baal HaNess lived in the time of the Mishnah, and was a prominent supporter of the Simon bar Kokhba, Bar Kokhba Bar Kokhba's revolt, rebellion against Roman rule. Rabbi Meir was considered one of the greatest of the Tannaim of the third generation (139–163). According to the Talmud, his father was a descendant of Nero who had converted to Judaism. His wife Bruriah is one of the few women cited in the Gemara. He is the third-most-frequently-mentioned sage in the Mishnah. Roman and Greek sources nowhere report Nero's alleged trip to Jerusalem or his alleged conversion to Judaism. There is also no record of Nero having any offspring who survived infancy: his only recorded child, Claudia Augusta, died aged 4 months.


Christian tradition

Non-Christian historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
describes Nero extensively torturing and executing Christians after the fire of 64.
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
also mentions Nero punishing Christians, though he does so because they are "given to a new and mischievous superstition" and does not connect it with the fire. Christian writer Tertullian (c. 155–230) was the first to call Nero the first persecutor of Christians. He wrote, "Examine your records. There you will find that Nero was the first that persecuted this doctrine." Lactantius (c. 240–320) also said that Nero "first persecuted the servants of God".Lactantius, ''Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died'' II
as does Sulpicius Severus. However, Suetonius writes that, "since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, the [emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
] expelled them from Rome" ("''Iudaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit''"). These expelled "Jews" may have been early Christians, although Suetonius is not explicit. Nor is the Bible explicit, calling Priscilla and Aquila, Aquila of Pontus and his wife, Priscilla, both expelled from Italy at the time, "Jews" (Acts 18:2).


Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul

The first text to suggest that Nero ordered the execution of an apostle is a letter by Pope Clement I, Clement to the Corinthians traditionally dated to around AD 96. The apocryphal Ascension of Isaiah, a Christian writing from the 2nd century, says, "the slayer of his mother, who himself (even) this king, will persecute the plant which the Twelve Apostles of the Beloved have planted. Of the Twelve one will be delivered into his hands"; this is interpreted as referring to Nero.Ascension of Isaiah Chapter 4.2
Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275–339) was the first to write explicitly that Paul was beheaded and Peter crucified in Rome during the reign of Nero. He states that Nero's persecution led to Peter and Paul's deaths, but that Nero did not give any specific orders. However, several other accounts going back to the 1st century have Paul surviving his two years in Rome and travelling to Hispania, before facing trial in Rome again prior to his death. Peter is first said to have been crucified Cross of St. Peter, specifically upside-down in Rome during Nero's reign (but not by Nero) in the apocryphal Acts of Peter (c. 200). The account ends with Paul still alive and Nero abiding by God's command not to persecute any more Christians. By the 4th century, a number of writers were stating that Nero killed Peter and Paul.


Antichrist

The Sibylline Oracles, Book 5 and 8, written in the 2nd century, speak of Nero returning and bringing destruction. Within Christian communities, these writings, along with others, fueled the belief that Nero would return as the Antichrist. In 310, Lactantius wrote that Nero "suddenly disappeared, and even the burial place of that noxious wild beast was nowhere to be seen. This has led some persons of extravagant imagination to suppose that, having been conveyed to a distant region, he is still reserved alive; and to him they apply the Sibylline verses." Lactantius maintains that it is not right to believe this. In 422, Augustine of Hippo wrote about 2 Thessalonians 2:1–11, where he believed that Paul mentioned the coming of the Antichrist. Although he rejects the theory, Augustine mentions that many Christians believed Nero was the Antichrist or would return as the Antichrist. He wrote that, "in saying, 'For the mystery of iniquity doth already work,' he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist." Some modern biblical scholars such as Delbert Hillers (Johns Hopkins University) of the American Schools of Oriental Research and the editors of the ''Oxford Study Bible'' and ''Harper Collins Study Bible'', contend that the number Number of the beast, 666 in the Book of Revelation is a code for Nero, a view that is also supported in Roman Catholic Biblical commentaries. The statement concerns Revelation 17:1-18, "the longest explanatory passage in Revelation", which predicts the destruction of Rome by work of an eight emperor who was also one of the seven kings of the most extended and powerful empire ever known in the human history: according to this lecture, Babylon the Great is identified with Rome (attributed to the public domain) which has poured the blood of saints and martyrs (verse 6) and subsequently become the seat of the Vatican State, reigning over all the kings existing on Earth.


See also

* Nero in popular culture * List of Roman emperors


Notes


References


Bibliography


Primary sources


Tacitus, ''Histories'', I–IV (''c.'' 105)










* [https://www.livius.org/ap-ark/apollonius/life/va_00.html Philostratus II, ''Life of Apollonius Tyana'', Books 4–5, (''c.'' 220)]
Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', the Life of Nero (''c.'' 121)


Secondary sources

* Benario, Herbert W

at ''De Imperatoribus Romanis''. * * Vincent Cronin, Cronin, Vincent. ''Nero''. London: Stacey International, 2010 (). * Grant, Michael. ''Nero''. New York: Dorset Press, 1989 (). * Griffin, Miriam T. ''Nero: The End of a Dynasty''. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 1985 (hardcover, ); London / New York: Routledge, 1987 (paperback, ). * Holland, Richard. ''Nero: The Man Behind the Myth''. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2000 (paperback ). * Minaud, Gérard, ''Les vies de 12 femmes d'empereur romain – Devoirs, Intrigues & Voluptés '', Paris, L'Harmattan, 2012, ch. 4, ''La vie de Poppée, femme de Néron'', pp. 97–120 (). * * Warmington, Brian Herbert. ''Nero: Reality and Legend''. London: Chatto & Windus, 1969 (hardcover, ); New York: W.W Norton & Company, 1970 (paperback, ); New York: Vintage, 1981 (paperback, ). * (Russian) Mikhail Berman-Tsikinovsky "The Pisonian Conspiracy" (Заговор Пизона) docudrama based on Tacitus Annals 15 and other sources. Failed conspiracy against Nero led to tragic death of 26-year-old Great Roman poet Lucan and his famous uncle Seneca, executed by order of Nero. Moscow, Wagrius plus, 2008.
Nero
Nero: The Actor-Emperor

entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
Nero
basic data & select quotes posted b
''Romans On Line''


* [http://www.bijanomrani.com/?p=tacitus Nero's depiction in Tacitus' Annals]
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus
entry in th
''Illustrated History of the Roman Empire''
*


External links

*
International Society for Neronian Studies

Nero, Roman Emperor
''Encyclopædia Britannica'' online
The Roman Empire in the First Century: Nero
PBS.org
Nero (37 AD – 68 AD)
BBC.co.uk
Emperor Nero: Facts & Biography
''Live Science'' online
Roman Emperor Nero: Rethinking Nero
''National Geographic (magazine), National Geographic'' online * PBS: Secrets of the Dead-documentary Klaus T. Steindl, "The Nero Files – Cause for a Cold Case Investigation?" {{Authority control Nero, 37 births 68 deaths 1st-century Roman emperors Ancient Roman adoptees Ancient Romans who committed suicide Children of Claudius Claudii Nerones Domitii Ahenobarbi Ancient LGBT people LGBT royalty LGBT heads of state Matricides People from Anzio People of the Year of the Four Emperors Anti-Christian sentiment in Europe Persecution of Christians Poppaea Sabina Roman emperors to suffer posthumous denigration or damnatio memoriae Roman-era Olympic competitors Roman pharaohs Roman philhellenes Talmud people Uxoricides