|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
Bust of Nero
|Reign||13 October, AD 54 – 9 June, AD 68|
|Full name||Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
(from birth to AD 50);
Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus (from 50 to accession);
Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (as emperor)
|Born||15 December 37|
|Died||9 June 68(aged 30)|
|Place of death||Outside Rome|
|Buried||Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi, Pincian Hill, Rome|
|Successor||Servius Sulpicius Galba|
|Father||Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus|
|Mother||Agrippina the Younger|
Nero was the adopted son of his grand-uncle Claudius. He became emperor on 13 October 54, after Claudius died. Claudius was probably assassinated by Nero's mother Agrippina the Younger. Agrippina had motive in ensuring the succession of Nero before Britannicus (Claudius' natural son) could gain power.
Nero as Emperor[change | change source]
During his reign, Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade, and improving the cultural capital of the empire. He ordered the building of theatres and promoted athletic games.
In 64, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome. In 68, the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul and later the acclamation of Galba in Hispania (Spain) drove Nero from the throne. Facing assassination, he committed suicide on 9 June 68.
Nero is known as the emperor who played a fiddle while Rome burned, but actually he played the lyre and sang. He also persecuted Christians. However, some ancient sources show that Nero was popular with the common people during and after his reign.
Footnotes[change | change source]
- born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
- Levick, Barbara. 1990. Claudius. Yale University Press. New Haven. p194
- 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 is 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.
- Galba, during his rebellion, criticized Nero's luxuria, both his public and private excessive spending: Tacitus, Annals I.16; Kragelund, Patrick, "Nero's Luxuria, in Tacitus and in the Octavia", The Classical Quarterly, 2000, pp. 494–515.
- References to Nero's matricide appear in the Sibylline Oracles 5.49—520, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Monk's Tale, and William Shakespeare's Hamlet 3.ii.
- 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 
Main sources[change | change source]
- Tacitus, Histories, I-IV (c. 105)
- Tacitus, Annals, XIII–XVI (c. 117)
- Josephus, War of the Jews, Books II-VI (c. 94)
- Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX (c. 94)
- Cassius Dio, Roman History, Books 61–63 (c. 229)
- Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, The Life of Galba (c. 110)
- Philostratus II, Life of Apollonius Tyana, Books 4–5, (c. 220)
- Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, the Life of Nero (c. 121)
Other sources[change | change source]
- Nero Nero:The Actor-Emperor
- Nero entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
- Nero basic data & select quotes posted by Romans On Line
- Nero Caesar biographical sketch archived in Bible History Online
- Nero biography by Herbert W. Benario in De Imperatoribus Romanis
- Grant, Michael. Nero. New York: Dorset Press, 1989 (ISBN 0-88029-311-X).
- Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus entry in the Illustrated History of the Roman Empire
- Griffin, Miriam T. Nero: The End of a Dynasty. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 1985 (hardcover, ISBN 0-300-03285-4); London; New York: Routledge, 1987 (paperback, ISBN 0-7134-4465-7).
- Warmington, Brian Herbert. Nero: Reality and Legend (Ancient Culture and Society). 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).
References[change | change source]
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