54-68AD Nero: 7TH ROMAN "KING" since Rome possessed Jerusalem

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Emperor of the Roman Empire
Nero at Glyptothek, Munich
ReignOctober 13, 54June 9, 68
(Proconsul from 51)
Full nameNero Claudius Caesar
Augustus Germanicus
BornDecember 15, 37(37-12-15)
DiedJune 9, 68 (aged 30)
Wife/wivesClaudia Octavia
Poppaea Sabina
Statilia Messalina
IssueClaudia Augusta
FatherGnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
MotherAgrippina the Younger

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (December 15, 37June 9, 68),[1] born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, also called Nero Claudius Caesar Germanicus, was the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great uncle Claudius to become heir to the throne. As Nero Claudius Caesar, he succeeded to the throne on October 13, 54, following Claudius' death.

Nero ruled from 54 to 68, focusing much of his attention on diplomacy, trade, and increasing the cultural capital of the empire. He ordered the building of theatres and promoted athletic games. His reign included a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire (58–63), the suppression of the British revolt (60–61) and improving diplomatic ties with Greece. In 68 a military coup drove Nero into hiding. Facing execution, he reportedly committed forced suicide.[2]

Nero's rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance.[3] He is known for a number of executions, including his mother[4] and adoptive brother, as the emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned"[5] and an early persecutor of Christians. This view is based upon the main surviving sources for Nero's reign—Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio. Few surviving sources paint Nero in a favorable light.[6] Some sources, though, portray him as an emperor who was popular with the Roman people, especially in the east.[7]

The study of Nero is problematic as some modern historians question the reliability of ancient sources when reporting on Nero's alleged tyrannical acts.[8] It may be impossible to completely separate fact from fiction concerning Nero's reign.



[edit] Early life

Roman imperial dynasties
Julio-Claudian dynasty
Natural - Julia the Elder
Adoptive - Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, Agrippa Postumus, Tiberius
Natural - Julius Caesar Drusus
Adoptive - Germanicus
Natural - Julia Drusilla
Adoptive - Tiberius Gemellus
Natural - Claudia Antonia, Claudia Octavia, Britannicus
Adoptive - Nero
Natural - Claudia Augusta

[edit] Family

Nero was born with the name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on December 15, AD 37, in Antium, near Rome.[9][10] He was the only son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, sister of emperor Caligula.

Lucius' father was grandson to Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Aemilia Lepida through their son Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Gnaeus was a grandson to Mark Antony and Octavia Minor through their daughter Antonia Major. Through Octavia, he was the grand-nephew of Caesar Augustus. Nero's father had been employed as a praetor and was a member of Caligula's staff when the future-emperor traveled to the East.[11] Nero's father was described by Suetonius as a murderer and a cheat who was charged by emperor Tiberius with treason, adultery, and incest.[11] Tiberius died allowing him to escape these charges.[11] Gnaeus died of edema (or "dropsy") in 39 when Lucius was three.[11]

Lucius' mother was Agrippina the Younger, who was great-granddaughter to Caesar Augustus and his wife Scribonia through their daughter Julia the Elder and her husband Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. Agrippina's father, Germanicus, was grandson to Augustus's wife, Livia, on one side and to Mark Antony and Octavia on the other. Germanicus' mother Antonia Minor, was a daughter of Octavia Minor and Mark Antony. Octavia was Augustus' second elder sister. Germanicus was also the adoptive son of Tiberius. A number of ancient historians accuse Agrippina of murdering her third husband, emperor Claudius.[12]

[edit] Rise to power

It was not expected for Lucius to ever become emperor. His maternal uncle, Caligula, had begun his reign at the age of twenty-four with ample time to produce his own heir. Lucius' mother, Agrippina lost favor with Caligula and was exiled in 39 after her husband's death.[13] Caligula seized Lucius's inheritance and sent him to be raised by his less wealthy aunt, Domitia Lepida.[10]

Caligula produced no heir. He, his wife Caesonia and their infant daughter Julia Drusilla were murdered in 41.[14] These events led Claudius, Caligula's uncle, to become emperor.[15] Claudius allowed Agrippina to return from exile.[10]

Coin issued under Claudius celebrating young Nero as the future emperor, c. 50
Coin issued under Claudius celebrating young Nero as the future emperor, c. 50

Claudius had married twice before marrying Messalina.[16] His previous marriages produced three children including a son, Drusus, who died at a young age.[17] He had two children with Messalina - Claudia Octavia (b. 40) and Britannicus (b. 41).[17] Messalina was executed by Claudius in 48.[16] In 49, Claudius married a fourth time, to Agrippina.[17] To aid Claudius politically, Lucius was officially adopted in 50 and renamed Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus (see adoption in Rome).[18] Nero was older than his stepbrother, Britannicus, and became heir to the throne.[19]

Nero was proclaimed an adult in 51 at the age of fourteen.[20] He was appointed proconsul, entered and first addressed the Senate, made joint public appearances with Claudius, and was featured in coinage.[20] In 53, he married his stepsister Claudia Octavia.[21]

[edit] Emperor

[edit] Early rule

Aureus of Nero and his mother, Agrippina, c. 54.
Aureus of Nero and his mother, Agrippina, c. 54.

Claudius died in 54 and Nero was established as emperor. Though accounts vary greatly, many ancient historians claim Agrippina poisoned Claudius.[12] It is not known how much Nero knew or was involved with the death of Claudius.[22]

Nero became emperor at sixteen, the youngest Emperor yet.[23] Ancient historians describe Nero's early reign as being strongly influenced by his mother Agrippina, his tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca, and the Praetorian Prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus, especially in the first year.[24] The first few years of Nero's rule were known as examples of fine administration. The matters of the Empire were handled effectively and the Senate enjoyed a period of renewed influence in state affairs.[25]

Very early in Nero's rule, problems arose from competition for influence between Agrippina and Nero's two advisers, Seneca and Burrus. In 54, Agrippina tried to sit down next to Nero while he met with an Armenian envoy, but Seneca stopped her and prevented a scandalous scene.[25] Nero's personal friends also mistrusted Agrippina and told Nero to beware of his mother.[26] Nero was reportedly unsatisfied with his marriage to Octavia and entered an affair with Claudia Acte, a former slave.[27] In 55, Agrippina attempted to intervene in favor of Octavia and demanded that her son dismiss Acte. Nero, with the support of Seneca, resisted the intervention of his mother in his personal affairs.[28]

With Agrippina's influence over her son severed, she reportedly turned to a younger candidate for the throne.[29] Nearly fifteen-year-old Britannicus was still legally a minor, but was approaching legal adulthood.[29] According to Tacitus, Agrippina hoped that with her support, Britannicus, being the blood son of Claudius, would be seen as the true heir to the throne by the state over Nero.[29] However, the youth died suddenly and suspiciously on February 12, 55, the very day before his proclamation as an adult had been set.[30] Nero claimed that Britannicus died from an epileptic seizure, but ancient historians all claim Britannicus' death came from Nero's poisoning him.[31] After the death of Britannicus, Agrippina was accused of slandering Octavia and Nero ordered her out of the imperial residence.[32]

[edit] Matricide and consolidation of power

Coin of Nero and Poppaea Sabina
Coin of Nero and Poppaea Sabina

Over time, Nero became progressively more powerful, freeing himself of his advisers and eliminating rivals to the throne. In 55, he removed Marcus Antonius Pallas, an ally of Agrippina, from his position in the treasury.[28] Pallas, along with Burrus, was accused of conspiring against the emperor to bring Faustus Sulla to the throne.[33] Seneca was accused of having relations with Agrippina and embezzlement.[34] Seneca was able to get himself, Pallas and Burrus acquitted.[34] According to Cassius Dio, at this time, Seneca and Burrus reduced their role in governing from careful management to mere moderation of Nero.[35]

In 58, Nero became romantically involved with Poppaea Sabina, the wife of his friend and future emperor Otho.[36] Reportedly because a marriage to Poppaea and a divorce from Octavia did not seem politically feasible with Agrippina alive, Nero ordered the murder of his mother in 59.[37] A number of modern historians find this an unlikely motive as Nero did not marry Poppaea until 62.[38] Additionally, according to Suetonius, Poppaea did not divorce her husband until after Agrippina's death, making it unlikely that the already married Poppaea would be pressing Nero for marriage.[39] Some modern historians theorize that Nero's execution of Agrippina was prompted by her plotting to set Rubellius Plautus on the throne.[40] According to Suetonius, Nero tried to kill his mother through a planned shipwreck, but when she survived, he had her executed and framed it as a suicide.[41]

The Remorse of Nero after Killing his Mother, by John William Waterhouse, 1878.
The Remorse of Nero after Killing his Mother, by John William Waterhouse, 1878.

In 62 Nero's adviser, Burrus, died.[42] Additionally, Seneca was again faced with embezzlement charges.[43] Seneca asked Nero for permission to retire from public affairs.[44] Nero divorced and banished Octavia on grounds of infertility, leaving him free to marry the pregnant Poppaea.[45] After public protests, Nero was forced to allow Octavia to return from exile,[45] but she was executed shortly upon her return.[46]

Accusations of treason against Nero and the Senate first appeared in 62.[47] The Senate ruled that Antistius, a praetor, should be put to death for speaking ill of Nero at a party. Later, Nero ordered the exile of Fabricius Veiento who slandered the Senate in a book.[48] Tacitus writes that the roots of the conspiracy led by Gaius Calpurnius Piso began in this year. To consolidate power, Nero executed a number of people in 62 and 63 including his rivals Pallas, Rubellius Plautus and Faustus Sulla.[49] According to Suetonius, Nero "showed neither discrimination nor moderation in putting to death whomsoever he pleased" during this period.[50]

Nero's consolidation of power also included a slow usurping of authority from the Senate. In 54, Nero promised to give the Senate powers equivalent to those under Republican rule.[51] By 65, senators complained that they had no power left and this led to the Pisonian conspiracy.[52]

[edit] War and peace with Parthia

Shortly after Nero's accession to the throne in 55, the Roman vassal kingdom of Armenia overthrew their prince Rhadamistus and he was replaced with the Parthian prince Tiridates.[53] This was seen as a Parthian invasion of Roman territory.[53] There was concern in Rome over how the young emperor would handle the situation.[54] Nero reacted by immediately sending the military to the region under the command of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo.[55] The Parthians temporarily relinquished control of Armenia to Rome.[56]

The peace did not last and full-scale war broke out in 58. The Parthian king Vologases I refused to remove his brother Tiridates from Armenia.[57] The Parthians began a full-scale invasion of the Armenian kingdom.[36] Commander Corbulo responded and repelled most of the Parthian army that same year.[58] Tiridates retreated and Rome again controlled most of Armenia.[58]

Nero was acclaimed in public for this initial victory.[59] Tigranes, a Cappadocian noble raised in Rome, was installed by Nero as the new ruler of Armenia.[60] Corbulo was appointed governor of Syria as a reward.[60]

The Parthian Empire c. 60. Nero's peace deal with Parthia was a political victory at home and made him beloved in the east.
The Parthian Empire c. 60. Nero's peace deal with Parthia was a political victory at home and made him beloved in the east.

In 62, Tigranes invaded the Parthian city of Adiabene.[61] Again, Rome and Parthia were at war and this continued until 63. Parthia began building up for a strike against the Roman province of Syria.[62] Corbulo tried to convince Nero to continue the war, but Nero opted for a peace deal instead.[63] There was anxiety in Rome about eastern grain supplies and a budget deficit.[64]

The result was a deal where Tiridates again became the Armenian king, but was crowned in Rome by emperor Nero.[62] In the future, the king of Armenia was to be a Parthian prince, but his appointment required approval from the Romans. Tiridates was forced to come to Rome and partake in ceremonies meant to display Roman dominance.[65] The Roman people were said to be overjoyed by lives saved through this peace deal.[65]

This peace deal of 63 was a considerable victory for Nero politically.[66] Nero became very popular in the eastern provinces of Rome and with the Parthians as well.[66] The peace between Parthia and Rome lasted 50 years until emperor Trajan of Rome invaded Armenia in 114.

[edit] Administrative policies

Marble bust of Nero, Antiquarium of the Palatine.
Marble bust of Nero, Antiquarium of the Palatine.

Over the course of his reign, Nero often made rulings that pleased the lower class. Nero was criticised as being obsessed with being popular.[67]

Nero began his reign in 54 by promising the Senate more autonomy.[68] In this first year, he forbade others to refer to him with regard to enactments, for which he was praised by the Senate.[69] Nero was known for being hands-off and spending his time visiting brothels and taverns during this period.[69]

In 55, Nero began taking on a more active role as an administrator. He was consul four times between 55 and 60. During this period, some ancient historians speak fairly well of Nero and contrast it with his later rule.[70]

Under Nero, restrictions were put on the amount of bail and fines.[71] Also, fees for lawyers were limited.[72] There was a discussion in the Senate on the misconduct of the freedmen class, and a strong demand was made that patrons should have the right of revoking freedom.[73] Nero supported the freedmen and ruled that patrons had no such right.[74] The Senate tried to pass a law in which the crimes of one slave applied to all slaves within a household which Nero vetoed.[75]

Nero transferred collection authority to lower commissioners of competency.[71] Nero banned any magistrate or procurator from exhibiting public entertainment for fear that the venue was being used as a method to sway the populace.[76] Additionally, there were many impeachments and removals of government officials along with arrests for extortion and corruption.[77]

Nero’s actions attempted to the help the poor’s economic situation. When further complaints arose that the poor were being overly taxed, Nero attempted to repeal all indirect taxes.[78] The Senate convinced him this action would be too extreme.[78] As a compromise, taxes were cut from 4.5% to 2.5%.[79] Additionally, secret government tax records were ordered to become public.[79] To lower the cost of food imports, merchant ships were declared tax-exempt.[79]

Nero was an avid lover of arts and entertainment. Nero built a number of gymnasiums and theaters and had performers dress in Greek clothing.[80] Enormous gladiatorial shows were held.[81] Nero also established the quinquennial Neronia.[81][80] The festival included games, poetry and theater. Historians indicate that there was a belief that theater was for the lower-class and led to immorality and laziness.[80] Others looked down upon Greek influence.[82] Some questioned the large public expenditure on entertainment.[82]

In 63, fiscal crises began to emerge. The Parthian War and a lost shipment of grain threatened to increase the price of food in Rome.[83] Nero reassigned management of public funds, urged fiscal responsibility and gave a private donation to the treasury.[83] He then opted for a peace deal with the Parthians.[84] In 64, Rome burned.[65] Nero enacted a public relief effort[65] as well as reconstruction.[85] The provinces, where wealthy land-owners lived, were heavily taxed following the fire[86]

A number of major construction projects occurred in Nero's late reign. To prevent malaria, Nero had the marshes of Ostia filled with rubble from the fire.[85] He erected the large Domus Aurea.[87] In 67 , Nero attempted to have a canal dug at the Isthmus of Corinth.[88] These projects and others exacerbated the drain on the State's budget.[89]

[edit] Major rebellions and power struggles

Plaster bust of Nero, Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
Plaster bust of Nero, Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

Compared with his immediate successors, Rome was relatively peaceful under Nero's reign. War with Parthia was Nero's only major war and he was both criticized and praised for an aversion to battle.[90] Like many emperors, Nero faced a number of internal rebellions and power struggles.

British Revolt (Boudica's Uprising)

In 60, a major rebellion broke out in the province of Britannia.[91] While the governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and his troops were busy capturing Mona Island (Anglesey Island) from druids, the tribes of the south-east staged a revolt led by queen Boudica of the Iceni.[92] Boudica and her troops destroyed three cities before the army of Suetonius Paulinus was able to return, be reinforced and put down the rebellion in 61.[93] Fearing Suetonius Paulinus would provoke further rebellion, Nero replaced the governor with the more passive Publius Petronius Turpilianus.[94]

The Pisonian Conspiracy
Main article: Pisonian conspiracy

In 65, Gaius Calpurnius Piso, a Roman statesman, organized a conspiracy against Nero with the help of Subrius Flavus, a praetorian tribune, and Sulpicius Asper, a centurion.[95] According to Tacitus, many conspirators wished to "rescue the State" from the emperor and restore the Republic.[96] The freedman Milichus discovered the conspiracy and reported it to Nero's secretary, Epaphroditos.[97] As a result, the conspiracy failed and its members were executed including Nero's former friend Lucan, the poet.[98] Nero's previous advisor, Seneca was ordered to commit suicide after admitting he discussed the plot with the conspirators.[99]

Jewish Revolt (The First Jewish-Roman War)

In 66, there was a Jewish revolt in Judea stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension.[100] In 67, Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order.[101] This revolt was eventually put down in 70, after Nero's death.[102] This revolt is famous for Romans breaching the walls of Jerusalem and destroying the Second Temple of Jerusalem.[103]

Vindex's Rebellion

In late 67 or early 68, Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis in Gaul, rebelled against the tax policies of Nero.[104] Virginius Rufus, the governor of superior Germany was sent to put down the rebellion.[105] To gain support, Vindex called on Galba, the governor of Hispania Citerior in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, comprising modern Spain and Portugal), to become emperor.[106] Virginius Rufus defeated Vindex's forces and Vindex committed suicide.[105] Galba was declared a public enemy and his legion was confined in the city of Clunia.[106]

The Rise of Galba

Nero had regained the control of the empire militarily, but this opportunity was used by his enemies in Rome. By June of 68 the senate voted Galba the emperor[107] and declared Nero a public enemy.[108] The praetorian guard was bribed to betray Nero by the praetorian prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, who desired to become emperor himself.[109] The praetorian guard captured Nero and he reportedly committed suicide.[108]

After Nero's death, Rome descended into a period civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.[110] Nero's successors fought among themselves for power. Galba, Otho and Vitellius were each briefly emperor until Nero's general Vespasian returned from Judea and restored order as emperor.

[edit] Great Fire of Rome

Main article: Great Fire of Rome

The Great Fire of Rome erupted on the night of July 18 to July 19, 64. The fire started at the southeastern end of the Circus Maximus in shops selling flammable goods.[111]

Ancient graffiti portrait of Nero found at the Domus Tiberiana.
Ancient graffiti portrait of Nero found at the Domus Tiberiana.

How large the fire was is up for debate. According to Tacitus, who was nine at the time of the fire, it spread quickly and burnt for five days.[112] It completely destroyed four of fourteen Roman districts and severely damaged seven.[112] The only other historian who lived through the period and mentioned the fire is Pliny the Elder who wrote about it in passing.[113] Other historians who lived through the period (including Josephus, Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch, and Epictetus) make no mention of it.

It is uncertain who or what actually caused the fire—whether accident or arson.[111] Suetonius and Cassius Dio favor Nero as the arsonist.[114] Tacitus mentions that Christians confessed to the crime, but it is not known whether these were false confessions induced by torture.[115] However, accidentally started fires were common in ancient Rome.[116] In fact, Rome burned significantly again under Vitellius in 69[110] and under Titus in 80.[117]

It was said by Suetonius and Cassius Dio that Nero sang the "Sack of Ilium" in stage costume while the city burned.[118] However, Tacitus' account has Nero in Antium at the time of the fire.[119] Tacitus said that Nero playing his lyre and singing while the city burned was only rumor.[119] Popular legend remembers Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned, but this is an anachronism as the instrument had not yet been invented, and would not be for over 1,000 years.[5]

According to Tacitus, upon hearing news of the fire, Nero rushed back to Rome to organize a relief effort, which he paid for from his own funds.[119] 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.[119] In the wake of the fire, he made a new urban development plan. Houses after the fire were spaced out, built in brick, and faced by porticos on wide roads.[120] Nero also built a new palace complex known as the Domus Aurea in an area cleared by the fire.[121] The size of this complex is debated (from 100 to 300 acres).[122][123][124] To find the necessary funds for the reconstruction, tributes were imposed on the provinces of the empire.[125]

According to Tacitus, the population searched for a scapegoat and rumors held Nero responsible.[115] To diffuse blame, Nero targeted a sect called the Christians.[115] He ordered Christians to be thrown to dogs, while others were crucified and burned.[115]

Tacitus described the event:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.[115]

[edit] Public performances

Nero coin, c. 66. Ara Pacis on the reverse.
Nero coin, c. 66. Ara Pacis on the reverse.

Nero enjoyed driving a one-horse chariot, singing to the harp and poetry.[126] He even composed songs that were performed by other entertainers throughout the empire.[127] At first, Nero only performed for a private audience.[128]

In 64, Nero began singing in public in Neapolis in order to improve his popularity.[128] He also sang at the second quinquennial Neronia in 65.[129] It was said that Nero craved the attention,[130] but historians also write that Nero was encouraged to sing and perform in public by the Senate, his inner circle and the people.[131] Ancient historians strongly criticize his choice to perform, calling it shameful.[132]

Nero was convinced to participate in the Olympic Games of 67 in order to improve relations with Greece and display Roman dominance.[133] As a competitor, Nero raced a ten-horse chariot and nearly died after being thrown from it.[134] He also performed as an actor and a singer.[135] Though Nero faltered in his racing and acting competitions,[134] he won these crowns nevertheless and paraded them when he returned to Rome.[134] The victories are attributed to Nero bribing the judges and his status as emperor.[136]

[edit] Death

In late 67 or early 68, Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis in Gaul, rebelled against the tax policies of Nero.[137] Virginius Rufus, the governor of superior Germany was sent to put down the rebellion.[105] To gain support, Vindex called on Galba, the governor of Hispania Citerior in Hispania, to become emperor.[106] Virginius Rufus defeated Vindex's forces and Vindex committed suicide.[105] Galba was declared a public enemy and his legion was confined in the city of Clunia.[106]

Nero had regained the control of the empire militarily, but this opportunity was used by his enemies in Rome. By June of 68 the senate voted Galba the emperor[138] and declared Nero a public enemy.[108] The Praetorian Guard was bribed to betray Nero by the praetorian prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, who desired to become emperor himself.[109]

According to Suetonius, Nero fled Rome on the Salaria road.[139] They urged him to flee, but he prepared himself for suicide.[108] Reportedly, the praetorian guard entered to capture Nero just as he stabbed himself with the help of his secretary, Epaphroditos.[140] Upon seeing the figure of a Roman soldier, he gasped "this is fidelity."[108] It was said by Cassius Dio that he uttered the last words "Jupiter, what an artist perishes in me!"[141]

With his death, the Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end. Chaos ensued in the Year of the four emperors.[110]

[edit] After death

See also: Nero Redivivus Legend and Pseudo-Nero

According to Suetonius and Cassius Dio, the people of Rome celebrated the death of Nero.[142][143] Tacitus, though, describes a more complicated political environment. Tacitus mentions that Nero's death was welcomed by Senators, nobility and the upper-class.[144] 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.[144] Members of the military were said to have mixed feelings, as they had allegiance to Nero, but were bribed to overthrow him.[109]

Eastern sources, namely Philostratus II 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"[145] and that he "held our liberties in his hand and respected them."[146]

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."[147]

Nero's name was erased from some monuments, in what Edward Champlin regards as "outburts of private zeal".[148] Many portraits of Nero were reworked to represent other figures; according to Eric R. Varner, over fifty such images survive.[149] 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).[149] Champlin, however, doubts that the practice is necessarily negative and notes that some continued to create images of Nero long after his death.[150]

Apotheosis of Nero, c. after 68.  Artwork portraying Nero rising to divine status after his death.
Apotheosis of Nero, c. after 68. Artwork portraying Nero rising to divine status after his death.

The civil war during the Year of the Four Emperors was described by ancient historians as a troubling period.[110] 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.[144] Galba began his short reign with the execution of many allies of Nero and possible future enemies.[151] One notable enemy included Nymphidius Sabinus, who claimed to be the son of emperor Caligula.[152]

Otho overthrew Galba. Otho was said to be liked by many soldiers because he resembled Nero.[153] It was said that the common Roman hailed Otho as Nero himself.[154] Otho used "Nero" as a surname and reerected many statues to Nero.[154] Vitellius overthrew Otho. Vitellius began his reign with a large funeral for Nero complete with songs written by Nero.[155]

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.[156] This belief came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend.

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.[157] After persuading some to recognize him, he was captured and executed.[157] Sometime during the reign of Titus (79-81) there was another impostor who appeared in Asia and also sang to the accompaniment of the lyre and looked like Nero but he, too, was killed.[158] Twenty years after Nero's death, during the reign of Domitian, there was a third pretender. Supported by the Parthians, they hardly could be persuaded to give him up[159] and the matter almost came to war.[110]

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[160]

[edit] Historiography

The history of Nero’s reign is problematic in that no historical sources survived that were contemporary with Nero. These first histories at one time did exist and were described as biased and fantastical, either overly critical or praising of Nero.[161] The original sources were also said to contradict on a number of events.[162] Nonetheless, these lost primary sources were the basis of surviving secondary and tertiary histories on Nero written by the next generations of historians.[163] 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.[164] There were also pro-Nero histories, but it is unknown who wrote them or on what deeds Nero was praised.[165]

The bulk of what is known of Nero comes from Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio, who were all of the Patrician 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 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 favorable light. Some sources, though, portray him as a competent emperor who was popular with the Roman people, especially in the east.

Constantine in the 4th century became a patron of Christianity. Christian influence in Rome continued from that time forward. In these circumstances, Nero's record of persecuting Christians reinforced the negative perceptions that already existed.[citation needed]

Cassius Dio Cocceianus

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, as 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. 40120), 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:

Indeed the truth about this has not come out even yet; for so far as the rest of his subjects were concerned, there was nothing to prevent his continuing to be Emperor for all time, seeing that even now everybody wishes he were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he still is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive.[166]

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.

The historian Josephus (c. 37-100) accused other historians of slandering Nero.
The historian Josephus (c. 37-100) 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:

But I omit any further discourse about these affairs; for there have been a great many who have composed the history of Nero; some of which have departed from the truth of facts out of favor, as having received benefits from him; while others, out of hatred to him, and the great ill-will which they bare him, have so impudently raved against him with their lies, that they justly deserve to be condemned. Nor do I wonder at such as have told lies of Nero, since they have not in their writings preserved the truth of history as to those facts that were earlier than his time, even when the actors could have no way incurred their hatred, since those writers lived a long time after them.[167]
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus

Though 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.[168]


Philostratus II "the Athenian" (c. 172- 250) spoke of Nero in the Life of Apollonius Tyana (Books 4–5). Though he has a generally a 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."[169]


Plutarch (c. 46- 127) mentions Nero indirectly in his account of the Life of Galba and the Life of Otho. 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.[170]

Suetonius Tranquillus

Suetonius (c. 69- 130) was a member of the equestrian order and head of the department of the imperial correspondence. Removed by Hadrianus in 121, he started writing biographies of the emperors, accentuating the anecdotal and sensational aspects.

Portions of his biography of Nero appear openly hostile, and while it might be possible that Nero's rule invited such hostility, some modern historians question the accuracy of his account. For example, the following quote, often taken as a sign of Nero's insanity, might simply be propaganda:

He castrated the boy Sporus and actually tried to make a woman of him; and he married him with all the usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil, took him to his home attended by a great throng, and treated him as his wife. And the witty jest that someone made is still current, that it would have been well for the world if Nero's father Domitius had that kind of wife. This Sporus, decked out with the finery of the empresses and riding in a litter, he took with him to the courts and marts of Greece, and later at Rome through the Street of the Images, fondly kissing him from time to time.[171]
Tacitus Publius Cornelius
Main article: Annals (Tacitus)

The Annals by Tacitus (c. 56- 117) is the most detailed and comprehesive history on the rule of Nero, despite being incomplete after the year 66. He is unkind to Nero, but unlike other historians, he minimizes the use of sensational stories. Tacitus described the rule of the Julio-Claudian emperors as generally unjust. He also thought that existing writing on them was unbalanced:

The histories of Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, and Nero, while they were in power, were falsified through terror, and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred.[172]

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. Realizing that this bias may be apparent to others, Tacitus protests that his writing is true[173]

[edit] Nero and religion

[edit] Jewish tradition

At the end of 66, conflict broke out between Greeks and Jews in Jerusalem and Caesarea. According to a Jewish tradition in the Talmud (tractate Gitin 56a-b) [3], Nero came to Jerusalem and told his men to shoot 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. "I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel," (Ez. 25,14) said the child. Nero became terrified, realizing that God wanted the Temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed, but would punish him if it were. Nero said, "He desires to lay waste his House and to lay the blame on me." Nero fled to Rome and converted to Judaism to avoid such retribution. Vespasian was then dispatched to put down the rebellion. The Talmud adds that the sage Reb Meir Baal HaNess, a prominent supporter of Bar Kokhba's rebellion against Roman rule, is a descendant of Nero.

[edit] Christian tradition

A Christian Dirce, by Henryk Siemiradzki. A Christian woman is martyred in this re-enactment of the myth of Dirce.
A Christian Dirce, by Henryk Siemiradzki. A Christian woman is martyred in this re-enactment of the myth of Dirce.

Early Christian tradition often held Nero as the first persecutor of Christians and the killer of Peter and Paul. There was also a belief among some early Christians that Nero was the Antichrist.

First Persecutor

The non-Christian historian Tacitus describes Nero extensively torturing and executing Christians after the fire of 64.[115] Suetonius also mentions Nero punishing Christians, though he does so as a praise and does not connect it with the fire.[174]

The 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.[175] Lactantius (c. 240- 320) also said Nero first persecuted the servants of God[176] as does Sulpicius Severus.[177] However, some sources speak of earlier Christian persecution, namely Claudius' expulsion of Christians from Rome.[178]

Killer of Peter and Paul

The first text to suggest that Nero killed an apostle is the apocryphal Ascension of Isaiah, a Christian writing from the 2nd century. It says the slayer of his mother, who himself 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.[179]

The Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275- 339) was the first to write that Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero.[180] He states that Nero's persecution led to Peter and Paul's deaths, but that Nero did not give any specific orders. Several other accounts have Paul surviving his two years in Rome and traveling to Hispania.[181]

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).[182] 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.[183]

The Antichrist
Main article: The Beast (Bible)
Main article: Number of the Beast

The Ascension of Isaiah is the first text to suggest that Nero was the Antichrist. It claims a lawless king, the slayer of his mother,...will come and there will come with him all the powers of this world, and they will hearken unto him in all that he desires.[179]

The Sibylline Oracles, Book 5 and 8, written in the 2nd century, speaks of Nero returning and bringing destruction.[184] Within Christian communities, these writings, along with others,[185] 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.[176]

In 422, Augustine of Hippo wrote about 2 Thessalonians 2:1–11, where he believed Paul mentioned the coming of the Antichrist. Though he rejects the theory, Augustine mentions that many Christians believed that Nero was the Antichrist or would return as the Antichrist. He wrote, so 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.[160];

Some scholars, such as Delbert Hillers (Johns Hopkins University) of the American Schools of Oriental Research and the editors of the Oxford & Harper Collins study Bibles, contend that the number 666 in the Book of Revelation is a code for Nero,[186] a view that is also supported in Roman Catholic Biblical commentaries.[187][188] When treated as Hebrew numbers, the letters of Nero's name add up either to 616 or 666, representing the two numbers of the beast given in ancient versions of Revelations and the two ways of spelling his name in Hebrew (NERO and NERON).

The concept of Nero as the Antichrist is often a central belief of Preterist eschatology.

[edit] Nero in post-ancient culture

[edit] Nero in medieval and Renaissance literature

Usually as a stock exemplar of vice or a bad ruler

[edit] Nero in modern culture

[edit] Ancestry

8. Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
4. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
9. Aemilia Lepida
2. Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
10. Mark Antony
5. Antonia Major
11. Octavia Minor
12. Nero Claudius Drusus
6. Germanicus
13. Antonia Minor
3. Agrippina the Younger
14. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
7. Agrippina the Elder
15. Julia the Elder

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Nero's birth day is listed in Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 6. His death day is uncertain, though, perhaps because Galba was declared emperor before Nero died. A June 9th death day comes from Jerome, Chronicle, which lists Nero's rule as 13 years, 7 months and 28 days. Cassius Dio, Roman History LXII.3 and Josephus, War of the Jews IV, say Nero's rule was 13 years, 8 months which would be June 11th
  2. ^ Suetonius claims 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 is was uncertain whether Nero committed suicide, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.29, also see T.D. Barnes, "The Fragments of Tacitus' Histories", Classical Philology (1977), p.228
  3. ^ Galba criticized Nero's luxuria, both his public and private excessive spending, during rebellion, Tacitus, Annals I.16; Kragelund, Patrick, "Nero's Luxuria, in Tacitus and in the Octavia", The Classical Quarterly, 2000, p. 494-515
  4. ^ References 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
  5. ^ a b Nero was not a fiddle player, but a lyre player. Suetonius claims Nero played the lyre while Rome burned, see Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 38; For a detailed explanation of this transition see M.F. Gyles "Nero Fiddled while Rome Burned", The Classical Journal (1948), p. 211-217 [1]
  6. ^ These include Lucan's Civil War, Seneca the Younger's On Mercy and Dio Chrysostom's Discourses along with various Roman coins and inscriptions
  7. ^ Tacitus, Histories I.4, I.5, I.13, II.8; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57, Life of Otho 7, Life of Vitellius 11; Philostratus II, The Life of Apollonius 5.41; Dio Chrysostom, Discourse XXI, On Beauty
  8. ^ On fire and Christian persecution, see F.W. Clayton, "Tacitus and Christian Persecution", The Classical Quarterly, p. 81-85; B.W. Henderson, Life and Principate of the Emperor Nero, p. 437; On general bias against Nero, see Edward Champlin, Nero, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003, p. 36-52 (ISBN 0-674-01192-9)
  9. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 1
  10. ^ a b c Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 6
  11. ^ a b c d Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 5
  12. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XII.66; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.34; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Claudius 44; Josephus is less sure, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8.1
  13. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Caligula 29
  14. ^ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XIX.1.14, XIX.2.4
  15. ^ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XIX.3.2
  16. ^ a b Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Claudius 26
  17. ^ a b c Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Claudius 27
  18. ^ Tacitus, Annals XII.25
  19. ^ Tacitus, Annals XII.26
  20. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XII.41
  21. ^ Tacitus, Annals XII.58
  22. ^ Cassius Dio's and Suetonius' accounts claim Nero knew of the murder, Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.35, Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 33; Tacitus' and Josephus' accounts only mention Agrippina, Tacitus, Annals XII.65, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8.1
  23. ^ Augustus was 35, Tiberius was 56, Caligula was 25 and Cladius was 50
  24. ^ Cassius Dio claims "At first Agrippina managed for him all the business of the empire", then Seneca and Burrus "took the rule entirely into their own hands,", but "after the death of Britannicus, Seneca and Burrus no longer gave any careful attention to the public business" in 55, Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.3-7
  25. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.5
  26. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.13
  27. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.12
  28. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.14
  29. ^ a b c Tacitus, Annals XIII.15
  30. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.16
  31. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.16; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XX.8.2; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 33; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.7
  32. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.18-21
  33. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.23
  34. ^ a b Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.10
  35. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.7
  36. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.46
  37. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.1
  38. ^ Dawson, Alexis, "Whatever Happened to Lady Agrippina?", The Classical Journal, 1969, p. 254
  39. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Otho 3
  40. ^ Rogers, Robert, Heirs and Rivals to Nero, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 86. (1955), p. 202. Silana accuses Agrippina of plotting to bring up Plautus in 55, Tacitus, Annals XIII.19; Silana is recalled from exile after Agrippina's power waned, Tacitus, Annals XIV.12; Plautus is exiled in 60, Tacitus, Annals XIV.22
  41. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 34
  42. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.51
  43. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.52
  44. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.53
  45. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIV.60
  46. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.64
  47. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.48
  48. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.49
  49. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.65
  50. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 37
  51. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.4
  52. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.51
  53. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.7
  54. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.8
  55. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.9
  56. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.10
  57. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.42
  58. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.55
  59. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.56
  60. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIV.36
  61. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.1
  62. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.4
  63. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.19
  64. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.21
  65. ^ a b c d Tacitus, Annals XV.38
  66. ^ a b Cassius Dio, Roman History LXII.23
  67. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 53; Gibbon, Edward, The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. I, Chap. VI
  68. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.4
  69. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.25
  70. ^ Aurelius Victor mentions Trajan's praise of Nero's first five or so years. Aurelius Victor The Style of Life and the Manners of the Imperitors 5; The unknown author of Epitome de Caesaribus also mentions Trajan's praise of the first five or so years of Nero Auctor incertus Epitome De Caesarbius 5
  71. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.28
  72. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 17
  73. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.26
  74. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.27
  75. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.45
  76. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.31
  77. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.30, XIV.18, XIV.40, XIV.46
  78. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIII.50
  79. ^ a b c Tacitus, Annals XIII.51
  80. ^ a b c Tacitus, Annals XIV.20
  81. ^ a b Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 12
  82. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XIV.21
  83. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.18
  84. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.29
  85. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.43
  86. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.45
  87. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.42
  88. ^ Josephus, War of the Jews III.10.10
  89. ^ Tacitus, Annals XVI.3
  90. ^ Suetonius Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 18; Marcus Annaeus Lucanus Pharsalia (Civil War) (c. 65)[2]
  91. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.29
  92. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.31
  93. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.31-38
  94. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.39
  95. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.49
  96. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.50
  97. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.55
  98. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.70
  99. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.60-62
  100. ^ Josephus, War of the Jews II.13.7
  101. ^ Josephus, War of the Jews III.1.3
  102. ^ Josephus, War of the Jews VI.10.1
  103. ^ Josephus, War of the Jews VII.1.1
  104. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.22
  105. ^ a b c d Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.24
  106. ^ a b c d Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, Life of Galba 5
  107. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.49
  108. ^ a b c d e Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 49
  109. ^ a b c Tacitus, Histories I.5
  110. ^ a b c d e Tacitus, Histories I.2
  111. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.38
  112. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.40; Suetonius says the fire raged for six days and seven nights, Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 38; A pillar set by Domitius states the fire burned for nine days
  113. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural Histories, XVII.1.5, Pliny mentions trees that lasted "down to the Emperor Nero’s conflagration"
  114. ^ Suetonius, Life of Nero 38; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXII.16
  115. ^ a b c d e f Tacitus Annals XV.44
  116. ^ Juvenal writes that Rome suffered from perpetual fires and falling houses Juvenal, Satires 3.7, 3.195, 3.214
  117. ^ Suetonius, Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Titus 8
  118. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero, 38; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXII.16
  119. ^ a b c d Tacitus, Annals XV.39
  120. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.43
  121. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.42
  122. ^ Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning, First, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 227-8. ISBN 0-06-430158-3
  123. ^ Ball, Larry F. (2003). The Domus Aurea and the Roman architectural revolution. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521822513
  124. ^ Warden reduces its size to under 100 acres. Warden, P.G., "The Domus Aurea Reconsidered," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 40 (1981) 271-278
  125. ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.45
  126. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.14, XIV.16
  127. ^ Philostratus II, Life of Apollonius 4.39; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Vitellius 11
  128. ^ a b Tacitus, Annals XV.33
  129. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars Life of Nero 21
  130. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named suetonius-nero-33
  131. ^ Tacitus, Annals XVI.4; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Vitellius 11; Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 10, 21
  132. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIV.15; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXI.19
  133. ^ Philostratus II, Life of Apollonius 5.7
  134. ^ a b c Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 24
  135. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 25
  136. ^ Suetonius The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 23, 24
  137. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.22
  138. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.49
  139. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 48
  140. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 49
  141. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.29
  142. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 63
  143. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57
  144. ^ a b c Tacitus, Histories I.4
  145. ^ Philostratus II, The Life of Apollonius 5.41
  146. ^ Letter from Apollonius to Emperor Vespasian, Philostratus II, The Life of Apollonius 5.41
  147. ^ M. T. Griffin, Nero (1984), p. 186; Gibbon, Edward, The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. I, Chap. III
  148. ^ Champlin (2003), p. 29.
  149. ^ a b John Pollini, Review of Mutilation and Transformation: Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture by Eric R. Varner, The Art Bulletin (September 2006).
  150. ^ Champlin (2003), pp. 29–31.
  151. ^ Tacitus, Histories I.6
  152. ^ Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, The Life of Galba 9
  153. ^ Tacitus, Histories I.13
  154. ^ a b Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Otho 7
  155. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Vitellius 11
  156. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 57; Tacitus, Histories II.8; Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.19
  157. ^ a b Tacitus, Histories II.8
  158. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.19
  159. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caears, Life of Nero 57.
  160. ^ a b Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX.19.3
  161. ^ Tacitus, Annals I.1; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8.3; Tacitus, Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola 10; Tacitus, Annals XIII.20
  162. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.20; Tacitus, Annals XIV.2
  163. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.20; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XIX.1.13
  164. ^ Tacitus, Annals XIII.20
  165. ^ Tacitus, Annals I.1; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8.3
  166. ^ Dio Chrysostom, Discourse XXI, On Beauty
  167. ^ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8.3
  168. ^ Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (Civil War) (c. 65)
  169. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural Histories VII.8.46
  170. ^ Seneca the Younger, Apocolocyntosis 4
  171. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero 28
  172. ^ Tacitus, Annals I.1
  173. ^ Tacitus, History I.1
  174. ^ Suetonius The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Nero, chapter 16
  175. ^ Tertullian Apologeticum, lost text quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.4
  176. ^ a b Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died II
  177. ^ Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28
  178. ^ Suetonius The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Claudius 25
  179. ^ a b Ascension of Isaiah Chapter 4.2
  180. ^ Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.5
  181. ^ In the apocryphal Acts of Paul, in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in the First Epistle of Clement 5:6, and in The Muratorian Fragment
  182. ^ Apocryphal Acts of Peter
  183. ^ Lactantius wrote that Nero crucified Peter, and slew Paul., Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died II; John Chrysostom wrote Nero knew Paul personally and had him killed, John Chrysostom, Concerning Lowliness of Mind 4; Sulpicius Severus says Nero killed Peter and Paul, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28-29
  184. ^ Sibylline Oracles 5.361-376, 8.68-72, 8.531-157
  185. ^ Sulpicius Severus and Victorinus of Pettau also say Nero is the Antichrist, Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28-29; Victorinus of Pettau, Commentary on the Apocalypse 17
  186. ^ Hillers, Delbert, “Rev. 13, 18 and a scroll from Murabba’at”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 170 (1963) 65.
  187. ^ The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Ed. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1990. 1009
  188. ^ Just, S.J., Ph.D., Prof. Felix. The Book of Revelation, Apocalyptic Literature, and Millennial Movements, University of San Francisco, USF Jesuit Community. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
  189. ^ Gwinn, Matthew. Nero. Retrieved on 2007-05-19.

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[edit] Secondary material

Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Succeeded by
Julio-Claudian dynast
54 – 68
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Marcus Acilius Aviola and Marcus Asinius Marcellus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Lucius Antistius Vetus
Succeeded by
Quintus Volusius Saturninus and Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio
Preceded by
Quintus Volusius Saturninus and Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio
Consul of the Roman Empire
Succeeded by
Gaius Vipstanus Apronianus and Gaius Fonteius Capito
Preceded by
Gaius Vipstanus Apronianus and Gaius Fonteius Capito
Consul of the Roman Empire with Cossus Cornelius Lentulus
Succeeded by
Publius Petronius Turpilianus and Lucius Iunius Caesennius Paetus
ALTERNATIVE NAMESNero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus
SHORT DESCRIPTIONFifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty; reigned 13 October 54 – 9 June 68
DATE OF BIRTHDecember 15, 37