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{{Other uses}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{short description|Fifth Emperor of Ancient Rome}}{{Multiple issues|{{Citations broken|date=March 2015}}{{primary sources|date=June 2017}}}}

name Nero

Augustus (honorific)>Augustus| image = Nero 1.JPG| caption = Bust of Nero at the Musei Capitolini, RomeRoman Emperor>Emperor of the Roman Empire| reign = 13 October 54 AD – 9 June 68 AD(13 years and 8 months)| predecessor = Claudius| successor = Galba
    | issue = Claudia Augusta|regnal name = Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus| house = Julio-Claudian dynasty
    Antium, Italia (Roman Empire)>Italia| death_date = 9 June 68 AD (aged 30)| death_place = Outside Rome by assisted suicide| place of burial = Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi, Pincian Hill, Rome| religion = Roman paganism}}{{Julio-Claudian dynasty}}Nero ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|n|ɪər|oʊ}} {{respell|NEER|oh}}; ;{hide}efn-lr|Classical Latin spelling and reconstructed Classical Latin pronunciation of the names of Nero:
    1. {{sqc|LV́CIVS DOMITIVS AHÉNOBARBVS{edih}{{IPA-la|ˈluːkɪ.ʊs dɔˈmɪtɪ.ʊs a.eːnɔˈbarbʊs|IPA}}
    2. {{sqc|NERÓ CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMÁNICVS}}{{IPA-la|ˈnɛroː ˈklau̯dɪ.ʊs ˈkae̯sar au̯ˈɡʊstʊs ɡɛrˈmaːnɪkʊs|IPA}}.}} 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.WEB,weblink Emperor Nero: Facts & Biography, Jarus, Owen, 2013-10-08, Live Science, 2018-08-16,weblink 2018-06-12, live, WEB,weblink Nero - Ancient History -,, 2018-08-16,weblink 2018-08-16, live, He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius' death and Nero's nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero's early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered.
    During the early years of his reign, Nero was content to be guided by his mother, his tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca, and his Praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus. As time passed, he started to play a more active and independent role in government and foreign policy. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire. His general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a major revolt in Britain, led by the Iceni Queen Boudica. The Bosporan Kingdom was briefly annexed to the empire, and the First Jewish–Roman War began.Talmudic sources say that Nero refrained from attacking Jerusalem, and even converted to Judaism. (Gittin 56a) Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade and the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games. He made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. His extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes that was much resented by the upper classes. In contrast, his populist style of rule remained very popular among the lower classes of Rome and the provinces until his death and beyond. Various plots against his life were revealed; the ringleaders, most of them Nero's own courtiers, were executed.In 68 AD Vindex, governor of the Gaulish territory Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled. He was supported by Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Vindex's revolt failed in its immediate aim, but Nero fled Rome when Rome's discontented civil and military authorities chose Galba as emperor. He committed suicide on June 9, 68 AD, when he learned that he had been tried in absentia and condemned to death as a public enemy, making him the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide.Suetonius states that Nero committed suicide in Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 49; Sulpicius Severus, who possibly used Tacitus' lost fragments as a source, reports that it was uncertain whether Nero committed suicide, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.29JOURNAL, Barnes, T.D., The Fragments of Tacitus' Histories, 72, 3, 268314, Classical Philology, 1977, 224–231 (228), 10.1086/366355, His death ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors.Nero's rule is usually associated with tyranny and extravagance.Galba criticized the excesses (luxuria) of Nero's public and private spending. See Kragelund, Patrick, "Nero's Luxuria, in Tacitus and in the Octavia", in The Classical Quarterly, 2000, pp. 494–515. Kragelund is citing Tacitus, Annals I.16References to Nero's matricide appear in the Sibylline Oracles 5.490–520, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Monk's Tale and William Shakespeare's Hamlet 3.ii. Most Roman sources, such as Suetonius and Cassius Dio, offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign; Tacitus claims that the Roman people thought him compulsive and corrupt. Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea.WEB,weblink Suetonius • Vita Neronis,, According to Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive, seemingly motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty.Tacitus, Annals. XV.44. Some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts.On fire and Christian persecution, see F.W. Clayton, "Tacitus and Christian Persecution", The Classical Quarterly, pp. 81–85; B.W. Henderson, Life and Principate of the Emperor Nero, p. 437; On general bias against Nero, see Champlin, pp. 36–52 A few sources paint Nero in a more favorable light. There is evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners, especially in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as "Nero reborn" to enlist popular support.

    Early life

    Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on 15 December 37{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}{{nbsp}}in Antium.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Oxford University Press, Michael, Gagarin, Barrett, Anthony A., Nero, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, 2010, 9780195388398, 10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001, BOOK, Da Capo Press, 978-0-306-81890-5, Dando-Collins, Stephen, The great fire of Rome: the fall of the emperor Nero and his city, Cambridge, MA, 2010, {{rp|87}} He was the only son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger. His maternal grandparents were Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder; his mother, Caligula's sister.BOOK, Princeton University Press, 978-1-4008-8110-9, Barrett, Anthony A., Fantham, Elaine, Yardley, John C., The Emperor Nero: A Guide to the Ancient Sources, 2016-07-12, {{rp|5}} He was Augustus' great-great grandson, descended from the first Emperor's only daughter, Julia.BOOK, Nero, Malitz, Jürgen, 2005, Blackwell Pub., 978-1-4051-4475-9, Malden, MA, 3, {{rp|2}}The ancient biographer Suetonius, who was critical of Nero's ancestors, wrote that Augustus had reproached Nero's grandfather for his unseemly enjoyment of violent 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."{{rp|3}}Nero's father, Domitius, died in 40. A few years before his death, Domitius had been involved in a political scandal that, according to Malitz, "could have cost him his life if Tiberius had not died in the year 37."{{rp|3}} In the previous year, Nero's mother Agrippina had been caught up in a scandal of her own. Caligula's beloved sister Drusilla had recently died and Caligula began to feel threatened by his brother-in-law Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Agrippina, suspected of adultery with her brother-in-law, was forced to carry the funerary urn after Lepidus' execution. Caligula then banished his two surviving sisters, Agrippina and Julia Livilla, to a remote island in the Mediterranean Sea.{{rp|4}} According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, Agrippina was exiled for plotting to overthrow Caligula. Nero's inheritance was taken from him and he was sent to live with his paternal aunt Domitia Lepida, the mother of Claudius' third wife Valeria Messalina.BOOK, Routledge, 978-1-134-36432-9, Shotter, David, Nero, 2012-10-02, {{rp|11}}Caligula's reign lasted from 37 until 41{{nbsp}}.{{rp|11}} He died from multiple stab wounds in January of 41 after being ambushed by his own Praetorian Guard on the Palatine Hill.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Oxford University Press, Gagarin, Michael, Hurley, Donna W., Caligula, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, 10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001, 2010, 9780195170726, Claudius succeeded Caligula as Emperor. Agrippina married Claudius in 49{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} and became his fourth wife.{{efn-lr|Tacitus wrote the following about Agrippina's marriage to Claudius: "From this moment the country was transformed. Complete obedience was accorded to a woman—and not a woman like Messalina who toyed with national affairs. This was a rigorous, almost masculine, despotism. In public, Agrippina was austere and often arrogant. Her private life was chaste—unless power was to be gained. Her passion to acquire money was unbounded; she wanted it as a stepping stone to supremacy."{{rp|11}}}} By February 49, she had persuaded Claudius to adopt her son Nero.{{efn-lr|According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Greece and Rome Nero was adopted in 50 AD.}} After Nero's adoption, "Claudius" became part of his name: Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus.{{efn-lr|For further information see adoption in Rome.}}BOOK, Routledge, 978-1-138-14015-8, Shotter, David, Nero Caesar Augustus: Emperor of Rome, S.l., 2016, Claudius had gold coins issued to mark the adoption.BOOK, John Wiley & Sons, 978-1-118-31653-5, Buckley, Emma, Dinter, Martin, A Companion to the Neronian Age, 2013-05-03, {{rp|119}} Classics professor Josiah Osgood has written that "the coins, through their distribution and imagery alike, showed that a new Leader was in the making."BOOK, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-88181-4, Osgood, Josiah, Claudius Caesar: Image and Power in the Early Roman Empire, 2011, {{rp|231}} David Shotter noted that, despite events in Rome, Nero's step-brother Britannicus was more prominent in provincial coinages during the early 50s.{{rp|52}}Nero officially formally entered public life as an adult in 51{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}—he was around 14 years old.{{rp|51}} When he turned 16, Nero married Claudius' daughter (his own step-sister), Claudia Octavia. Between the years 51{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} and 53{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, 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, after their settlement suffered a devastating fire.{{rp|231}}
    missing image!
    - Nero Agrippina aureus 54.png -
    An aureus of Nero and his mother, Agrippina, c. 54. Caption: NERONIS CAES MATER AGRIPP. AVG. DIVI CLAVD. / NERONI CLAVD. DIVI F. CAES. AVG. GERM. IMP. TR. P. - EX SC
    missing image!
    - NeroandClaudius.jpg -
    Coin issued under Claudius celebrating young Nero as the future emperor, c. 50. Caption: ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟΥ ΚAICΑΡΟC CΕΒΑCTOY / ΝΕΡΩΝΟC ΚΑΙCΑΡΟC ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙΚΟΥ
    Claudius died in 54{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}; many ancient historians claim that he was poisoned by Agrippina.JOURNAL, On the Mushroom that Deified the Emperor Claudius, The Classical Quarterly, Veronika, Grimm-Samuel, 1991, 41, 1, 178–182, 10.1017/S0009838800003657, Shotter has written that "Claudius' death in 54{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} has usually been regarded as an event hastened by Agrippina because of signs that Claudius was showing a renewed affection for his natural son," but he notes that among ancient sources Josephus was uniquely reserved in describing the poisoning as a rumor.{{rp|53}} Contemporary sources differ in their accounts. Tacitus says that Locusta prepared the poison, which was served to the Emperor by his food taster Halotus. Tacitus also writes that Agrippina arranged for Claudius' doctor Xenophon to administer poison, in the event that the Emperor survived.{{rp|53}} Suetonius differs in some details, but also implicates Halotus and Agrippina.{{efn-lr|Suetonius wrote "It is commonly agreed that Claudius was killed by poison. There is, however, disagreement as to where and by whom it was administered. Some record that, when he was at a feast with priests on the citadel, it was given to him by his taster, the eunuch Halotus, others that it was given him at a family dinner by Agrippina herself, offering him the drug in a dish of mushrooms, a kind of food to which he was very partial...His death was concealed until all arrangements were in place with regard to his successor."BOOK, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-953756-3, Catharine Edwards, Suetonius [Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus], Oxford World's Classics: Suetonius: Lives of the Caesars, 2008, {{rp|193}}}} 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, Seneca the Younger does not mention mushrooms at all.{{rp|54}} Agrippina's involvement in Claudius' death is not accepted by all modern scholars.BOOK, Routledge, 978-1-317-69844-9, Garzetti, Albino, From Tiberius to the Antonines (Routledge Revivals): A History of the Roman Empire AD 14-192, 2014-06-17, {{rp|589}}Before Claudius' death, Agrippina had maneuvered to remove Britannicus' tutors and replace them with tutors that she had selected. She was also able to convince Claudius to replace with a single commander, Burrus, two prefects of the Praetorian guard who were suspected of supporting Brittanicus.{{rp|13}} Since Agrippina had replaced the guard officers with men loyal to her, Nero was able to assume power without incident.BOOK, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-107-67443-1, Bradley, Pamela, The Ancient World Transformed, 2014-08-19, {{rp|417}}

    Nero's reign (54 AD–68 AD)

    Most of what we know about Nero's reign comes from three ancient writers: Tacitus, Suetonius, and Greek historian Cassius Dio.BOOK, Routledge, 978-0-415-21464-3, Griffin, Miriam T, Nero: the end of a dynasty, London, 2013, {{rp|37}}According to 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."Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 31.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#45 XV.45). 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.JOURNAL, Thornton, Mary Elizabeth Kelly, 1971, Nero's New Deal, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 102, 629, 10.2307/2935958, 2935958,

    Early reign

    (File:Statue of Nero as a boy.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Statue of Nero as a boy)Nero became emperor in 54 {{sc|AD}}, aged sixteen years.{{nbsp}} This made him the youngest sole emperor until Elagabalus, who became emperor aged 14 in 218.WEB, Nero {{!, Roman emperor| website = Encyclopedia Britannica| accessdate = 2017-07-02| url =weblink| archive-url =weblink| archive-date = 2017-08-01| url-status=live| df = }} The first five years of Nero's reign were described as Quinquennium Neronis by Trajan; the interpretation of the phrase is a matter of dispute amongst scholars.{{rp|17}} As Pharaoh of Egypt, Nero adopted the royal titulary Autokrator Neron Heqaheqau Meryasetptah Tjemaahuikhasut Wernakhtubaqet Heqaheqau Setepennenu Merur ("Emperor Nero, Ruler of rulers, chosen by Ptah, beloved of Isis, the sturdy-armed one who struck the foreign lands, victorious for Egypt, ruler of rulers, chosen of Nun who loves him").WEB,weblink Nero, The Royal Titulary of Ancient Egypt, March 13, 2018,weblink March 13, 2018, live, mdy-all, 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".{{rp|16}} 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."BOOK, Routledge, 978-0-415-58488-3, Scullard, H. H, From the Gracchi to Nero: a history of Rome 133 B.C. to A.D. 68, London, 2011, {{rp|257}} His respect of the Senatorial autonomy, which distinguished him from Caligula and Claudius, was generally well received by the Roman Senate.{{rp|18}}Scullard writes that Nero's mother, Agrippina, "meant to rule through her son."{{rp|257}} Agrippina murdered her political rivals: Domitia Lepida, the aunt that Nero had lived with during Agrippina's exile; Marcus Junius Silanus, a great grandson of Augustus; and Narcissus.{{rp|257}} One of the earliest coins that Nero issues during his reign shows Agrippina on the coin's obverse side; usually, this would be reserved for a portrait of the emperor. The Senate also allowed Agrippina two lictors during public appearances, an honor that was customarily bestowed upon only magistrates and the Vestalis Maxima.{{rp|16}} In {{sc|AD}}{{nbsp}}55, 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—were to her signs of her son's dangerous emancipation of himself from her influence."{{rp|12}} Britannicus was poisoned after Agrippina threatened to side with him.{{rp|12}} Nero, who was having an affair with Acte,{{efn-lr|Sources describe Acte as a slave girl (Shotter) and a freedwoman (Champlin and Scullard).}} exiled Agrippina from the palace when she began to cultivate a relationship with his wife Octavia.{{rp|257}}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 taxes in 58{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}. 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.{{rp|19}}


    missing image!
    - Nero and Poppaea Sabina.jpg -
    Coin of Nero and Poppaea Sabina Billon tetradrachm of Alexandria, Egypt, 25 mm, 12.51 gr. Obverse: radiate head right; ΝΕΡΩ. KΛAY. KAIΣ. ΣEB. ΓΕΡ. AY. Reverse: draped bust of Poppaea right; ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH. Year LI = 10 = 63-64.
    File:John William Waterhouse - The Remorse of the Emperor Nero after the Murder of his Mother.JPG|thumb|The Remorse of Nero after the Murder of his Mother, by John William WaterhouseJohn William WaterhouseThe Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome cautiously notes that Nero's reasons for killing his mother in 59{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} are "not fully understood." According to Tacitus, the source of conflict between Nero and his mother was Nero's affair with Poppaea Sabina. In Histories Tacitus writes that the affair began while Poppaea was still married to Rufrius Crispinus, but in his later work Annals Tacitus says Poppaea was married to Otho when the affair began.{{rp|214}} In Annals Tacitus writes that Agrippina opposed Nero's affair with Poppaea because of her affection for his wife Octavia. Anthony Barrett writes that Tacitus' account in Annals "suggests that Poppaea's challenge drove [Nero] over the brink."{{rp|215}} 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 62{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}.JOURNAL, Dawson, Alexis, Whatever Happened to Lady Agrippina?, The Classical Journal, 1969, 254, {{rp|215}} Barrett writes that Poppaea seems to serve as a "literary device, utilized [by Tacitus] because [he] could see no plausible explanation for Nero's conduct and also incidentally [served] to show that Nero, like Claudius, had fallen under the malign influence of a woman."{{rp|215}} According to Suetonius, Nero had his former freedman Anicetus arrange a shipwreck; Agrippina survived the wreck, swam ashore and was executed by Anicetus, who reported her death as a suicide.Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 34.


    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 successful expedition.BOOK,weblink A Companion to the Neronian Age, Emma, Buckley, Martin, Dinter, John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 364, 9781118316535, After Agrippina's exile, Burrus and Seneca were responsible for the administration of the Empire.{{rp|258}} However, Nero's "conduct became far more egregious" after his mother's death.{{rp|22}} Miriam T. Griffins suggests that Nero's decline began as early as 55{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} 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.{{rp|84}} Griffin points out that Tacitus "makes explicit the significance of Agrippina's removal for Nero's conduct".{{rp|84}}Tacitus, Annals, (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 14#13|XIV.13)In 62{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, Nero's adviser Burrus died. That same year Nero called for the first treason trial of his reign (maiestas trial) against Antistius Sosianus.{{rp|53}}Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 14#48|XIV.48). He also executed his rivals Cornelius Sulla and Rubellius Plautus. Jürgen Malitz considers this to be a turning point in Nero's relationship with the Roman Senate. 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.{{rp|26}} According to Tacitus, Nero divorced Octavia on grounds of infertility, and banished her.{{rp|99}}Tacitus, Annals (wikisource: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.{{rp|99}}Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 14#64|XIV.64).In 64{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, Nero married Pythagoras, a freedman.WEB,weblink Internet History Sourcebooks,, 2019-02-20,weblink 2019-01-17, live, WEB,weblink Cassius Dio — Epitome of Book 62,, 2007-04-03,weblink 2013-10-11, live, WEB,weblink Roman Same-Sex Weddings from the Legal Perspective, Frier, Bruce W., University of Michigan, Classical Studies Newsletter, Volume X, 2004, 2012-02-24, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-12-30, Champlin, p. 146

    Great Fire of Rome

    The Great Fire of Rome erupted on the night of 18 July to 19 July, AD 64. The fire started on the slope of the Aventine overlooking the Circus Maximus.Champlin, p. 122Tacitus, Annals, (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#38|XV.38)File:Hubert Robert - The Fire of Rome - Google Art Project.jpg|thumb|250px|The Fire of Rome by Hubert RobertHubert Robert Tacitus, the main ancient source for information about the fire, wrote that countless mansions, residences and temples were destroyed. Tacitus and Cassius Dio have both written of extensive damage to the Palatine, which has been supported by subsequent archaeological excavations.Champlin, p. 125 The fire is reported to have burned for over a week.{{rp|260}} It destroyed three of fourteen Roman districts and severely damaged seven more.{{rp|260}}Tacitus, Annals, (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#40|XV.40)
    missing image!
    - Nero charity.jpg -
    Coin showing Nero distributing charity to a citizen. c. 64–66. Obverse: Laureate head right; NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG. GER. P. M., TR. P., IMP., P. P. Reverse: Nero togate, seated right on curule chair on low platform and praefectus annonae standing behind him; on ground an attendant standing left distributes tessera (theater tickets) or coins to a citizen, holding out folds of his toga to receive them; a tetrastyle building to the left of them; statue of Minerva standing before temple in background, holding owl and spear; CONG II DAT POP S.C.
    Tacitus wrote that some ancient accounts described the fire as an accident, while others had claimed that it was a plot of Nero's. Tacitus is the only surviving source which does not blame Nero for starting the fire; he says he is "unsure." Pliny the Elder, Suetonius and Cassius Dio all wrote that Nero was responsible for the fire. These accounts give several reasons for Nero's alleged arson like Nero's envy of King Priam and a dislike for the city's ancient construction. Suetonius wrote that Nero started the fire because he wanted the space to build his Golden House.Champlin, p. 182 This Golden House or Domus Aurea included lush artificial landscapes and a 30-meter-tall statue of himself, the Colossus of Nero. The size of this complex is debated (from 100 to 300 acres).Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 227–8. {{ISBN|0-06-430158-3}}.Ball, Larry F. (2003). The Domus Aurea and the Roman architectural revolution. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-82251-3}}.Warden reduces its size to under {{convert|100|acre|km2}}. JOURNAL, Warden, P.G., The Domus Aurea Reconsidered, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 40, 4, 1981, 271–278, 10.2307/989644, 989644, Tacitus wrote that Nero accused Christians of starting the fire to remove suspicion from himself.Champlin, p. 121 According to this account, many Christians were arrested and brutally executed by "being thrown to the beasts, crucified, and being burned alive".Champlin, pp. 121–22Suetonius and Cassius Dio alleged that Nero sang the "Sack of Ilium" in stage costume while the city burned.Champlin, p. 77Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero, 38; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXII.16 {{Webarchive|url= |date=October 11, 2013 }}. The popular legend that Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned "is at least partly a literary construct of Flavian propaganda [...] which looked askance on the abortive Neronian attempt to rewrite Augustan models of rule."{{rp|2}}According to Tacitus, Nero was in Antium during the fire. Upon hearing news of the fire, Nero returned to Rome to organize a relief effort, which he paid for from his own funds.Tacitus, Annals, (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#39|XV.39) Nero's contributions to the relief extended to personally taking part in the search for and rescue of victims of the blaze, spending days searching the debris without even his bodyguards.{{Citation needed|date=May 2010}} 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.In the wake of the fire, he made a new urban development plan. Houses built after the fire were spaced out, built in brick, and faced by porticos on wide roads.Tacitus, Annals, (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#43|XV.43) Nero also built a new palace complex known as the Domus Aurea in an area cleared by the fire. To find the necessary funds for the reconstruction, tributes were imposed on the provinces of the empire.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#45|XV.45). The cost to rebuild Rome was immense, requiring funds the state treasury did not have. Nero devalued the Roman currency for the first time in the Empire's history. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 84 per Roman pound to 96 (3.80 grams to 3.30 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 99.5% to 93.5%—the silver weight dropping from 3.80 grams to 2.97 grams. Furthermore, Nero reduced the weight of the aureus from 40 per Roman pound to 45 (7.9 grams to 7.2 grams).WEB,weblink Roman Currency of the Principate, Tulane University, 2011-07-13, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2001-02-10,

    Later years

    File:Roman coins sestertius Nero countermark X Legion Gemina.jpg|thumb|250px|Nero's Sestertius. Obverse: Laureate head right, countermark on neck "X above bar" of (Legio X Gemina]]; NERO CLAVD. CAESAR AVG. GER. P. M., TR. P., IMP., P. P. Reverse: Nero riding right escorted by a soldier holding vexillum; DECVRSIO - S. C.)
    missing image!
    - As-Nero-Ara pacis-RIC 0562.jpg -
    Nero coin, c. 66. Ara Pacis on the reverse. Caption: IMP. NERO CAESAR AVG. P. M., TR. POT., P. P. / ARA PACIS - S. C.
    In 65{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, Gaius Calpurnius Piso, a Roman statesman, organized a conspiracy against Nero with the help of Subrius Flavus and Sulpicius Asper, a tribune and a centurion of the Praetorian Guard.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#49|XV.49). According to Tacitus, many conspirators wished to "rescue the state" from the emperor and restore the Republic.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#50|XV.50). The freedman Milichus discovered the conspiracy and reported it to Nero's secretary, Epaphroditos.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#55|XV.55). As a result, the conspiracy failed and its members were executed including Lucan, the poet.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#70|XV.70). Nero's previous advisor 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.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#60|XV.60–62).Nero was said to have kicked Poppaea to death in 65{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, before she could have his second child.Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.216. Penguin Books, New York. {{ISBN|0-7394-2025-9}}. 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.Rudich, Vasily (1993) Political Dissidence Under Nero. Psychology Press. pp. 135–136. {{ISBN|9780415069519}} Nero went into deep mourning; Poppaea was given a sumptuous state funeral, 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.JOURNAL, Counts, Derek B., Regum Externorum Consuetudine: The Nature and Function of Embalming in Rome, Classical Antiquity, 15, 2, 1996, 189–190, p. 193, note 18 "We should not consider it an insult that Poppaea was not buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus, as were other members of the imperial family until the time of Nerva." 196 (note 37, citing Pliny the elder, Natural History, 12.83)., 10.2307/25011039, 25011039,

    Revolt of Vindex and Galba and Nero's death

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    - Nero Palatino Inv618.jpg -
    A marble bust of Nero, Antiquarium of the Palatine.
    In March 68, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policies.Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.22.Donahue, John, "Galba (68–69 A.D.)" {{Webarchive|url= |date=2008-09-11 }} at De Imperatoribus Romanis. 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 Servius Sulpicius Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to join the rebellion and further, to declare himself emperor in opposition to Nero.Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, Life of Galba 5.At the Battle of Vesontio in May 68, Verginius' forces easily defeated those of Vindex and the latter committed suicide. However, after putting down this one rebel, Verginius' legions attempted to proclaim their own commander as Emperor. Verginius refused to act against Nero, but the discontent of the legions of Germany and the continued opposition of Galba in Spain 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"BOOK, Garzetti, Albino, From Tiberius to the Antonines (Routledge Revivals): A History of the Roman Empire AD 14–192,weblink 2014, Taylor & Francis, 978-1-317-69843-2, 220–, ). The prefect of the Praetorian Guard, 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 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 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 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 Nero 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 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, offered his villa, located {{convert|4|mi|abbr=on}} outside the city. Travelling in disguise, Nero and four loyal freedmen, Epaphroditos, Phaon, Neophytus, and Sporus, 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.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 15#72|XV.72).Nero, however, did not know this, and at the news brought by the courier, he prepared himself for suicide, pacing up and down muttering Qualis artifex pereo ("What an artist dies in me").BOOK, Buckley, Emma, Dinter, Martin T., A Companion to the Neronian Age, John Wiley & Sons, 2013,weblink 978-1-118-31659-7, 2015-12-27,weblink 2016-05-07, live, 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 he forced his private secretary, Epaphroditos, to perform the task.BOOK, Bunson, Matthew, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, Infobase Publishing, 2009,weblink 978-1-4381-1027-1, 2015-12-27,weblink 2016-05-07, live, File:A select collection of views and ruins in Rome and its vicinity - recently executed from drawings made upon the spot (1815) (14592716650).jpg |thumb | right | 200px | An 1815 illustration of the alleged tomb of Nero; actually tomb of proconsul Caius Vibius MarianusCaius Vibius MarianusWhen 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 Nero 49. He died on 9 June 68, the anniversary of the death of Octavia, and was buried in the Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi, in what is now the Villa Borghese (Pincian Hill) area of Rome.With his death, the Julio-Claudian dynasty ended.BOOK, Barrett, A. A, Agrippina: sister of Caligula, wife of Claudius, mother of Nero, London, 1996, 978-0713468540, Routledge, {{rp|19}} 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 (wikisource:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#2|I.2).

    After Nero

    {{See also|Nero Redivivus legend|Pseudo-Nero}}
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    Apotheosis of Nero, c. after 68. Artwork portraying Nero rising to divine status after his death.
    According to Suetonius and Cassius Dio, the people of Rome celebrated the death of Nero.Cassius Dio, Roman History 63.Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57. 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 (wikisource: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 (wikisource: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 Hellas with a wisdom and moderation quite alien to his character"Philostratus II, The Life of Apollonius 5.41 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-07-29 }}. and that he "held our liberties in his hand and respected them."Letter from Apollonius to Emperor Vespasian, Philostratus II, The Life of Apollonius 5.41 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-07-29 }}.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."{{rp|186}}Gibbon, Edward (1996) The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. I, Chap. III. Penguin Classics. {{ISBN|978-0140433937}}Nero's name was erased from some monuments, in what Edward Champlin regards as an "outburst of private zeal".Champlin, p. 29. 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 posthumouslyJOURNAL, 10.11141/ia.42.2, Sanctioning Memory: Changing Identity - Using 3D laser scanning to identify two 'new' portraits of the Emperor Nero in English antiquarian collections, Internet Archaeology, 42, 2016, Russell, Miles, Manley, Harry, (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.Champlin, pp. 29–31. 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 KingdomJOURNAL, 10.11141/ia.32.5, Finding Nero: shining a new light on Romano-British sculpture, Internet Archaeology, 32, 2013, Russell, Miles, Manley, Harry, (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 began his short reign with the execution of many of Nero's allies.Tacitus, Histories (wikisource:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#6|I.6). One such notable enemy included Nymphidius Sabinus, who claimed to be the son of Emperor Caligula.Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, The Life of Galba 9.Otho overthrew Galba. Otho was said to be liked by many soldiers because he had been a friend of Nero's and resembled him somewhat in temperament.Tacitus, Histories (wikisource:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#13|I.13). It was said that the common Roman hailed Otho as Nero himself.Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Otho 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.Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Vitellius 11.After Nero's suicide in 68, there was a widespread belief, especially in the eastern provinces, that he was not dead and somehow would return.Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57; Tacitus, Histories (wikisource:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 2#8|II.8); Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.19 {{Webarchive|url=*.html#19 |date=2014-06-24 }}. 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 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-03-02 }}.At least three Nero imposters 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 (wikisource: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.Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.19 {{Webarchive|url=*.html#19 |date=2014-06-24 }}. 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,Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57. and the matter almost came to war.

    Military conflicts

    Boudica's uprising

    In Britannia (Britain) in 59{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, Prasutagus, leader of the Iceni tribe, and a client king of Rome's during Claudius' reign, died. The client state arrangement was unlikely to survive the death of the former Emperor. Prasutagus' will leaving control of the Iceni to his wife Boudica was denied, and, when Catus Decianus scourged Boudica and raped her daughters, the Iceni revolted. They were joined by the Trinovantes tribe, and their uprising became the most significant provincial rebellion of the 1st century{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}.{{rp|32}}{{rp|254}} Under Boudica the towns of Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans) were burned and a substantial body of legion infantry destroyed. The governor of the province Gaius Suetonius Paulinus assembled his remaining forces and defeated the Britons and restored order but for a while Nero considered abandoning the province.Suetonius, Nero 18, 39–40 Julius Classicianus replaced Decianus as procurator. Classicianus advised Nero to replace Paulinus, who continued to punish the population even after the rebellion was over.{{rp|265}} Nero decided to adopt a more lenient approach to governing the province, and appointed a new governor, Petronius Turpilianus.{{rp|33}}

    Peace with Parthia

    {{details|Roman–Parthian War of 58–63}}Nero began preparing for war in the early years of his reign, after the Parthian king Vologeses set his brother Tiridates on the Armenian throne. Around 57{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} and 58{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}} Domitius Corbulo and his legions advanced on Tiridates and captured the Armenian capital Artaxata. 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 66{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}. 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.{{rp|265–66}}{{rp|35}}

    First Jewish War

    In 66, there was a Jewish revolt in Judea stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension.Josephus, War of the Jews (wikisource:The War of the Jews/Book II#Chapter 13|II.13.7). In 67, Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order.Josephus, War of the Jews (wikisource:The War of the Jews/Book III#Chapter 1|III.1.3). This revolt was eventually put down in 70, after Nero's death.Josephus, War of the Jews (wikisource:The War of the Jews/Book IV#Chapter 10|VI.10.1). This revolt is famous for Romans breaching the walls of Jerusalem and destroying the Second Temple of Jerusalem.Josephus, War of the Jews (wikisource:The War of the Jews/Book VII#Chapter 1|VII.1.1).


    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.{{rp|41–2}} 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."{{rp|53}}In 67 {{sc|AD}} Nero participated in the Olympics. He had bribed organizers to postpone the games for a year so he could participate,BOOK, The ancient Olympic games, Judith., Swaddling, 1984, 1980, University of Texas Press, 9780292703735, 1st University of Texas Press, Austin, 10759486, 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.WEB,weblink Going for Gold: A History of Olympic Controversies,, 2018-01-11,weblink" title="">weblink 2018-01-12, dead, Champlin writes that though Nero's participation "effectively stifled true competition, [Nero] seems to have been oblivious of reality."{{rp|54–5}}Nero established the Neronian games in 60{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}. 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.{{rp|288}}


    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.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 1#1|I.1); Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (wikisource:The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XX#Chapter 8|XX.8.3); Tacitus, Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola s:Agricola#10|10]]; Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 13#20|XIII.20). The original sources were also said to contradict on a number of events.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 13#20|XIII.20); Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 14#2|XIV.2). Nonetheless, these lost primary sources were the basis of surviving secondary and tertiary histories on Nero written by the next generations of historians.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 13#20|XIII.20); Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (wikisource:The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XIX#Chapter 1|XIX.1.13). 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.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 13#20|XIII.20). There were also pro-Nero histories, but it is unknown who wrote them or for what deeds Nero was praised.Tacitus, Annals (wikisource:The Annals (Tacitus)/Book 1#1|I.1); Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (wikisource:The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XX#Chapter 8|XX.8.3).The bulk of what is known of Nero comes from Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio, who were all of the senatorial class. 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, the death of 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.{{Citation needed|date=June 2009}}
    Cassius Dio
    Cassius Dio (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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}
    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 (c. 55–135) was the slave to Nero's scribe Epaphroditos.WEB,weblink Epictetus – The Core Curriculum,, 29 September 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2017, live, dmy-all, 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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}
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    A circa 18th C woodcut of the historian Josephus (c. 37–100) who accused other historians of slandering Nero.

    The historian Josephus (c. 37–100), while calling Nero a tyrant, was also the first to mention bias against Nero. Of other historians, he said:
    Although more of a poet than historian, 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.Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (Civil War) (c. 65) {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-07-26 }}.
    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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}
    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."Pliny the Elder, Natural Histories VII.8.46.
    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.Plutach, Moralia, ed. by G. P. Goold, trans. by Phillip H. De Lacy and Benedict Einarson, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), 7: 269–99. 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 (c. 4 BC–65), Nero's teacher and advisor, writes very well of Nero.Seneca the Younger, Apocolocyntosis 4 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-05-03 }}.
    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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}
    The Annals by Tacitus (c. 56–117) is the most detailed and comprehensive history on the rule of Nero, despite being incomplete after the year 66{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}. 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 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.Tacitus, History (wikisource:The Histories (Tacitus)/Book 1#1|I.1).
    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.{{citation needed|date=September 2017}}

    Nero in Jewish and Christian tradition

    Jewish tradition

    At the end of 66{{nbsp}}{{sc|AD}}, 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 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.Talmud, tractate Gitin 56a-b Vespasian was then dispatched to put down the rebellion.The Talmud adds that the sage Reb Meir Baal HaNess lived in the time of the Mishna, and was a prominent supporter of the Bar Kokhba 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.Kaplan, Drew (5 July 2011) "Rabbinic Popularity in the Mishnah VII: Top Ten Overall [Final Tally] {{Webarchive|url= |date=2016-03-04 }} Drew Kaplan's Blog.Roman and Greek sources nowhere report Nero's alleged trip to Jerusalem or his alleged conversion to Judaism.Isaac, Benjamin (2004) The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity. Princeton University Press. pp. 440–491. {{ISBN|978-0691125985}} 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

    missing image!
    - Siemiradzki Christian Dirce.jpg -
    A Christian Dirce, by Henryk Siemiradzki. A Christian woman is martyred in this re-enactment of the myth of Dirce.
    (File:Siemiradski Fackeln.jpg|thumb|400px|Nero's Torches)Non-Christian historian Tacitus describes Nero extensively torturing and executing Christians after the fire of 64. 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.Suetonius The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero, chapter 16.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".Tertullian Apologeticum, lost text quoted in weblink {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-12-13 }}, Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, II.25.4. Lactantius (c. 240–320) also said that Nero "first persecuted the servants of God".Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died II {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-08-07 }}. as does Sulpicius Severus.Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-01-01 }}. However, Suetonius writes that, "since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, the [emperor Claudius] expelled them from Rome" ("Iudaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit").Suetonius The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Claudius 25 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2012-06-30 }}. These expelled "Jews" may have been early Christians, although Suetonius is not explicit. Nor is the Bible explicit, calling Aquila of Pontus and his wife, Priscilla, both expelled from Italy at the time, "Jews" (Acts 18:2).(BibleWiki:Acts Chapter 18, Verse 2|Acts of the Apostles 18:2).

    Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul

    The first text to suggest that Nero ordered the execution of an apostle is a letter by Clement to the Corinthians traditionally dated to around 96 A.D.Champlin, p. 123 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 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-04-25 }}.Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275–339) was the first to write explicitly that Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero.Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.5 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-12-13 }}. 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.In the apocryphal Acts of Paul {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-10-20 }}, in the apocryphal Acts of Peter {{Webarchive|url= |date=2016-07-12 }}, in the First Epistle of Clement 5:6 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-10-20 }}, and in The Muratorian Fragment {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-10-18 }}.Peter is first said to have been crucified upside-down in Rome during Nero's reign (but not by Nero) in the apocryphal Acts of Peter (c. 200).Apocryphal Acts of Peter {{Webarchive|url= |date=2016-07-12 }}. 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.Lactantius wrote that Nero "crucified Peter, and slew Paul.", Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died II {{Webarchive|url= |date=2006-08-07 }}; John Chrysostom wrote Nero knew Paul personally and had him killed, John Chrysostom, Concerning Lowliness of Mind 4 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-07-03 }}; Sulpicius Severus says Nero killed Peter and Paul, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28–29 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-01-01 }}.


    The Sibylline Oracles, Book 5 and 8, written in the 2nd century, speak of Nero returning and bringing destruction.Sibylline Oracles 5.361–376, 8.68–72, 8.531–157 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-04-03 }}.BOOK, Griffin, Miriam T., Nero: The End of a Dynasty,weblink 2002, Routledge, 978-1-134-61044-0, 15–, Within Christian communities, these writings, along with others,Sulpicius Severus and Victorinus of Pettau also say that Nero is the Antichrist, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28–29 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-01-01 }}; Victorinus of Pettau, Commentary on the Apocalypse 17 {{Webarchive|url= |date=2007-02-06 }}. 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.Champlin, p. 20In 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, "so that in saying, 'For the mystery of iniquity doth already work,'WEB,weblink 2 Thessalonians 2:7 – Passage Lookup – King James Version,, 2010-11-09,weblink" title="">weblink 2008-12-29, live, he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist."Some modern biblical scholarsBOOK, Cory, Catherine A., The Book of Revelation,weblink 2006, Liturgical Press, 978-0-8146-2885-0, 61–, 2015-12-27,weblink 2016-05-04, live, BOOK, Garrow, A.J.P., Revelation,weblink 2002, Taylor & Francis, 978-0-203-13308-8, 86–, 2015-12-27,weblink 2016-05-11, live, 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 666 in the Book of Revelation is a code for Nero,JOURNAL, Hillers, Delbert, Rev. 13, 18 and a scroll from Murabba'at, 10.2307/1355990, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 170, 170, 1963, 65, 1355990, a view that is also supported in Roman Catholic Biblical commentaries.Brown, Raymond E.; Fitzmyer, Joseph A. and Murphy, Roland E. eds. (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. p. 1009. {{ISBN|978-0136149347}}WEB, Just, S.J., The Book of Revelation, Apocalyptic Literature, and Millennial Movements, University of San Francisco, USF Jesuit Community,weblink 2007-05-18,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-06-01, live,


    align=center|boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;|boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;|boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;|boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;|boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;|1= 1. NeroGnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 32)>Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus|3= 3. Agrippina the YoungerLucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 16 BC)>Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus|5= 5. Antonia Major|6= 6. Germanicus|7= 7. Agrippina the ElderGnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 32 BC)>Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus|9= 9. Aemilia Lepida|10= 10. Mark AntonyOctavia the Younger>OctaviaNero Claudius Drusus>Drusus|13= 13. Antonia Minor|14= 14. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa|15= 15. Julia the ElderLucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 54 BC)>Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus|17= 17. Porcia (sister of Cato the Younger)|18= |19= |20= 20. Marcus Antonius CreticusJulia (mother of Mark Antony)>JuliaGaius Octavius (proconsul)>Gaius OctaviusAtia (mother of Augustus)>AtiaTiberius Claudius Nero (praetor 42 BC)>Tiberius Claudius Nero|25= 25. Livia|26= 26. Mark Antony [=10]Octavia the Younger>Octavia [=11]|28= 28. Lucius Vipsanius Agrippa|29= |30= 30. AugustusScribonia (wife of Augustus)>Scribonia}}

    See also






    Primary sources Secondary sources
    • Benario, Herbert W. Nero at De Imperatoribus Romanis.
    • BOOK, Champlin,weblink Nero, Champlin, Edward, Edward Champlin, Harvard University Press, 2005, 978-0-674-01822-8,
    • Cronin, Vincent. Nero. London: Stacey International, 2010 ({{ISBN|1-906768-14-5}}).
    • Grant, Michael. Nero. New York: Dorset Press, 1989 ({{ISBN|0-88029-311-X}}).
    • Griffin, Miriam T. Nero: The End of a Dynasty. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 1985 (hardcover, {{ISBN|0-300-03285-4}}); London; New York: Routledge, 1987 (paperback, {{ISBN|0-7134-4465-7}}).
    • Holland, Richard. Nero: The Man Behind the Myth. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2000 (paperback {{ISBN|0-7509-2876-X}}).
    • {{fr}} 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, p. 97–120 ({{ISBN|978-2-336-00291-0}}).

    , Heirs and Rivals to Nero
    , Rogers
    , Robert Samuel
    , Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association
    , 0065-9711
    , 86
    , 1955
    , 190–212
    , 10.2307/283618
    , 283618

    , harv
    • Warmington, Brian Herbert. Nero: Reality and Legend. London: Chatto & Windus, 1969 (hardcover, {{ISBN|0-7011-1438-X}}); New York: W.W Norton & Company, 1970 (paperback, {{ISBN|0-393-00542-9}}); New York: Vintage, 1981 (paperback, {{ISBN|0-7011-1454-1}}).
    • (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 Nero order. Moscow, Wagrius plus, 2008. {{ISBN|978-598525-045-9}}
    • weblink" title="">Nero Nero: The Actor-Emperor
    • Nero entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
    • Nero basic data & select quotes posted by Romans On Line
    • weblink" title="">THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NERO By CARLO MARIA FRANZERO (BTM format).
    • Nero's depiction in Tacitus' Annals
    • Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus entry in the Illustrated History of the Roman Empire.
    • EB1911, Pelham, Henry Francis, Henry Francis Pelham, Nero, 19, 390–393,

    External links

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