In the history of Ancient Rome there were many good emperors and some who turned out to be the opposite. This is the case of Nero , the Roman emperor considered one of the greatest criminals in all of history . His name has become synonymous with evil , since historical accounts accuse him of having killed his stepbrother , his wife and mother , as well as having persecuted the Christian people and having caused the devastating Great Fire of Rome .
- When was he born: 12/15/37
- Where he was born: Anzio, Italy
- When he died: 06/09/68
- Where he died: Rome, Italy
Who was Nero?
Nero was one of the most feared and evil emperors of Rome in all its history. He ruled over a period of suspicions, conspiracies and convictions which exerted a repression ruthless to the point that was declared as an enemy of the state by the Roman Senate.
- What did
- Biography of Nero
- Nero’s government
- What did he do with the christians
- Great fire of Rome
- Olympic Games
- Physical characteristics
- Nero’s personality
- Presence in popular culture
Nero was a Roman emperor who became one of the most popular characters who held the position, however, his popularity was not precisely for his good works but for having become a despicable man for many. He carried out a large number of persecutions against his political enemies and against Christians , in his hands there were hundreds of murders including members of his family and caused his empire to fall into a major economic crisis due to his eccentricities .
Biography of Nero
Nero was born on December 15, 37 in the city called Anzio , Italy . Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus , died when he was just 2 years old. After Nero’s mother married Emperor Claudius , Nero was adopted and became his heir and successor . In AD 53 , Nero’s mother managed to get her son to marry Claudius’s daughter, Octavia and after Claudius died the following year (according to the story, his death was due to when he was fed with poisonous mushrooms by Agrippina), Nero came to the throne when he was 16 or 17 years old .
Due to his attitude and form of government, news reached his ears that he would be sentenced to death by the Senate . He had already hidden in a village and fearing that he would be found and the suffering he knew he would have to go through, he decided to commit suicide with a dagger. However, he could not do it himself and then, he asked his freed Epaphroditus to kill him, it was he who plunged a dagger into his throat until he killed him.
Nero’s government had its beginnings in 54 when he was proclaimed the rightful emperor of Rome. In the first years of his government, he dedicated himself to attacking those who had been his predecessors mainly because they had promoted commerce , diplomacy and cultural diffusion . Despite this, he also dedicated himself to creating artistic spaces and making the town enjoy various gladiatorial shows .
Many historians assure that his government was led by his mother but that when she died, he dedicated himself to forming a government full of terror and darkness . He was interested only in the pleasures of life and in his lover Poppea who even had him murder his wife. His way of governing caused the social classes to be scandalized and the empire to fall into the political and military precipice .
What did he do with the christians
The Christians had already managed to spread to different places including Rome when Nero came to power. In the Roman Empire , the worship of pagan gods and the emperor was part of all citizens, however, Christians refused to do so. During Nero’s rule, the Christian religion became his object of wrath after the Great Fire of Rome , which, many claimed, had been Nero himself who had caused it to incriminate Christians.
This unleashed a great persecution to them and the news spread that the Christians were a type of sect that made conspiracies against the gods of Rome and the power. Many martyrs died because of Nero, some were crucified , others were thrown into the amphitheaters , were turned into living torches and were subjected to the greatest torments .
Great fire of Rome
On the night of the month of July of the year 64 AD a huge fire broke out in the area of the Circus Maximus is located in Rome . The wind caused the flames to grow noticeably and very quickly causing the entire population to go into terror. This fire lasted a total of six days and the devastation that occurred was immense. As a result of this, a second fire also broke out and the fire damaged the entire city leaving a great trail of suspicions about the emperor himself , however, he pointed to the Christians as the true culprits.. Many historians consider it to be a desperate attempt by Nero to rid himself of guilt and to dispel the suspicions already falling on him.
Empress Agrippina was the mother of Nero and when he came to power, she claimed to have most of it and tried to exert an important influence on her son. He prohibited him from having romantic relationships with Acte and began promoting his career within the court by holding various secret meetings . Once Nero realized his mother’s plans, he removed her from the military guard and forbade her meetings.
After the emperor married Poppea Sabina , his mother objected and this caused the alarms to begin to alert his mother, he even tried to seduce Nero but the governor had already begun his plan to commit matricide . While Agrippina was traveling through Lake Berries , Nero was already planning his attack . Although she tried to have her mother die crushed or drowned , her plan failed and she managed to swim to shore , however, a short time later she died at home . They first hit him on the head and then hit him several times.stabbed in his belly . Nero announced that his mother had been murdered .
During the Olympics of the year 67 , Nero decided to enroll in the chariot race , a type of test in which they faced each other in chariots which were pulled by horses. Nero then bribed the rivals to discard the race as it progressed. There is another version that says that he showed up with more horses , which also caused outrage among the participants. In the end, Nero managed to win the race and even almost lost his life. He also participated in other competitions such as the quadriga of colts , the heralds , the tragedy and several singing competitions.and declamation .
Several historians have described him as a man of normal height , his body was full of freckles , he had blond hair, they say that he had a striking and beautiful face but that it was not funny. His eyes were blue and he had a long neck . His legs were very thin but he had a prominent abdomen .
Nero was a man who had quite a complex personality and was also very contradictory . At the beginning of his government he was an exemplary man, however, with the passage of time his personality changed drastically and he began to become a very cruel , narcissistic and megalomaniac man . It is also said that he had a fairly high sensitivity in terms of aesthetics and that he also had great charisma .
Its importance lies in the fact that by setting Rome on fire, it made a decisive contribution to the redesign of the entire city and the implementation of an urban plan that managed to give greater importance to its empire. He also had some successes in the eastern part of his territory especially against the Parthians, and did a great job promoting Hellenic culture in the eastern provinces . His death created a period of instability that led the army to determine who should be emperor. This was one of Nero’s most important legacies, the revival of the legions aspolitical force , something that Augustus and his heirs had prevented for several decades.
There are no data on recognitions that have been delivered to Emperor Nero.
The main positive work of Nero during his government was architecture and urbanism . Many of these works are still kept today and are part of Roman culture .
Some of the phrases that were mentioned by Nero are the following:
- My luck cannot be compared to any other.
- I have no friends nor do I have enemies.
- Whoever does not follow my laws will die or be severely punished.
- Once I have drunk I will give delicious notes.
- The artist lives in all places.
Presence in popular culture
The story of Nero and his empire has been used on various occasions in the field of literature , music, and the arts . Several books have been written in which his story is told, for example:
- Quo Vadis
- Nero, the bloody poet
- Nero fiddled while Rome burned
- Heirs of Nero
- A song for Nero
His name has been used in various comics and novels such as The Adventures of Nero, The Phantom and The Tales of Apollo: the Hidden Oracle. Even some famous artists made paintings in his honor such as “Dematerialization near Nero’s nose” by Salvador Dalí and “Nero’s remorse after killing his mother” by John William Waterhouse.
Video games such as Nero AG, Nero Digital and Nero Burning ROM , have been named in his honor. The game Ryse : Son of Rome shows Nero as the emperor of Rome. In addition, several films have also made it to the big screen to tell their story:
- The sign of the cross
- Quo Vadis
- The Roman legion-hare
- Gladiator’s Challenge
- World History, Part I
- Nero’s guests
Some curiosities of Nero are mentioned below:
- Shortly after Claudius’ death, Nero’s 13-year-old half – brother died suddenly . According to the story, he was poisoned by Nero and Agrippina to make way for Nero to take over as emperor.
- Three ancient writers, Tacitus , Suetonius and Cassius Dio report that his mother Agrippina was a ruthless and ambitious woman and had no intention to move into the background so they were locked in a brutal struggle for power . Nero planned the murder of his own mother by inviting her as a guest of honor to a banquet and had planned for his mother’s ship to sink, which is why Agrippina is believed to have died at sea or survived for Nero to send soldiers to kill her.
- Nero spent a fortune banquets at Baiae, but his gatherings were not limited to food, but also included sex and debauchery .
- In the year 67 , he competed in the Olympic Games to improve relations with Greece. He ran with a ten-horse cart and nearly died when he was thrown from it.