The Great Fire of Rome, as portrayed in an 18th-century painting by the French artist, Hubert Robert. In that respect, his demise, in some ways, resembled that of the later quasi-mythological figure, King Arthur – 'the once and future King' (still destined to return to rule Britain in its hour of need!). Nero built a palace, the Golden House, which was apparently magnificent, but it was so resented by the public and by his successors that it was almost completely dismantled. For centuries, Nero was identified by many Christians as the arch enemy of Christ. This post-mediaeval painting reveals how people throughout history have often perceived the idea of the Antichrist. While most scholars now agree that Nero was not responsible for the fire, the modern-day rumour mill (as represented by the Internet) is loath to exonerate the emperor. Additionally, the rebuilding of Rome, not to mention the construction of his “golden palace,” was putting a financial strain on the empire. “Instead, the conflagration probably started in the southern half of the city – probably in some sort of workshop or storeroom,” he said. In the episode "Suits of W… The Great Fire of Rome, was an urban fire that occurred in July, 64 AD. But now, the new investigation – conducted by British archaeologist and historian Professor Anthony Barrett  – has revealed for the first time that only 15-20 percent of the city was actually destroyed. Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudians, that most important family of Rome that produced the first 5 emperors (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. And his refusal to help the wealthier victims of the fire (including those elite families who had lost their palatial homes to the flames) also, no doubt, appealed to those nearer the bottom of society. penetrative) partners in any sexual relationship (whether heterosexual or homosexual) - and (by being the bride in at least one of his male marriages), Nero deliberately and very publicly defied that convention. The Senate condemned him to death by crucifixion, and his household guard abandoned him. Brought up in this atmosphere, Nero might well have begun to behave like a monster upon his accession as emperor in 54 but, in fact, behaved quite otherwise. Agrippina—having already helped bring about the murder of Valeria Messalina, her predecessor as the wife of Claudius, in 48, and ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring Nero to power—eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers, probably had Claudius himself poisoned in 54, and completed her work with the poisoning of Britannicus in 55. Nero reduces the weight and percentage of precious metal in Roman coins, a trend continued by several subsequent Roman emperors. Nero was born in 37 A.D., the nephew of the emperor. In order to rebuild the devastated parts of Rome, Nero decided to increase taxes on the provinces – which would have hit the great provincial estates owned by the aristocracy. In July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. Even later Nero was capable of conceiving grandiose plans for conquests or the creation of public works, but for the most part he used his position simply to gratify his own personal pleasures. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. This caused a rift with his mother, Agrippina the Younger. This 19th-century painting, by the Spanish artist Enrique Simonet, portrays the execution of St Paul after the emperor had blamed the Great Fire on the Christians. During the fire, Nero was at his villa at Antium 35 miles (56 km) from Rome and therefore cannot be held responsible for the burning of the city. Nero appears to have sought to scapegoat Rome's small Christian community for the fire - and ancient sources suggest that he launched a persecution of them and that St Peter and St Paul will both executed during his reign. Corrections? Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics as counterattractions to gladiatorial combats. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina incestuously became the wife of her uncle, the emperor Claudius, and persuaded him to favour Nero for the succession, over the rightful claim of Claudius’s own son, Britannicus, and to marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. But now, new research is shedding fresh light on what really happened – and the political catastrophe it triggered. Same sex relationships (including under age ones and unofficial marriages) were widely accepted in the Roman world – but only if they respected Roman social and gender power norms. However, failure of the plan led to the execution of forty-one persons.Most importantly, it led Nero to become forever paranoid and untrusting to others. The Romans might have been glad to get rid of Nero, but their situation did not improve. Indeed a strong northbound wind (known as the Sirocco), originating in the Sahara, does sometimes hit Rome in the summer. Rome burned while he was emperor, and the eagerness with which he rebuilt led many to believe that he was responsible for the fire. According to … He put an end to the more odious features of the later years of Claudius’s reign, including secret trials before the emperor and the dominance of corrupt freedmen, and he accorded more independence to the Senate. His mother, Julia Agrippina, poisoned her second husband when Nero was 12. According to the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus and to the Nero of the Roman biographer Suetonius, Nero in response tried to shift responsibility for the fire to the Christians, who were popularly thought to engage in many wicked practices. What really happened during Nero’s Great Fire of Rome? It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Best For. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The flames that changed the history of an empire. Nero had been with the station since 1988 and has been a … Nero's death ended the almost 100-year rule of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. However, although Nero exploited the Great Fire to rebuild Rome, the accusation, that he started it, is almost certainly unfounded. The Emperor had no heir, and following Nero’s death, the Empire collapsed into chaos. For the first time, absolute power in the Roman Empire was vested in a mere boy, who was not yet 17. c. 65 CE. Nero’s self-indulgent tour through Greece was cut short when his advisors warned of a plot against his life which was unfolding. Plot Summary | Add Synopsis But the Roman populace mistakenly believed that he himself had started the fire in Rome in order to indulge his aesthetic tastes in the city’s subsequent reconstruction. They could also be vindictive, cruel and insane. At least nineteen senators and other leaders were involved in this conspiracy. Nero was present at the scene and exterminated all of the demons, but he couldn't prevent demons from injuring Kyrie and his own shoulder. In the summer of 64, Rome suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights consuming almost three quarters of the city. Teenage power: In this Roman sculpture, Nero's mother is seen crowning her 15-year-old son Emperor. His complete disregard for upper-class behavioural norms scandalised the elites – but did not damage his standing among the poor. The great fire that ravaged Rome in 64 illustrates how low Nero’s reputation had sunk by this time. Hitherto the government had not clearly distinguished Christians from Jews. Statue in the Golden House of Nero, Rome. In order to deflect these accusations and placate the people, Nero laid blame for the fire on the Christians. It will be published by Princeton University Press later this month in the USA and next month in the UK. Nero, in full Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also called (50–54 ce) Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, original name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, (born December 15, 37 ce, Antium, Latium—died June 9, 68, Rome), fifth Roman emperor (54–68 ce ), stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. For stopping Ner… Like two out of the three other most erratically murderous Roman emperors, Nero assumed power when he was in his mid-teens (actually aged just 15). Instead, one of his few remaining loyal freedmen took him to … The testimony of contemporaries depicts Nero at this time as a handsome young man of fine presence but with soft, weak features and a restless spirit. Nero’s death was followed by a brief period of civil war, which was then followed by the rise and fall of four emperors in a single year, a chaotic period of Roman history known as “The Year of the Four Emperors.” Almost by accident, Nero initiated the later Roman policy of halfhearted persecution of the Christians, in the process earning himself the reputation of Antichrist in the early Christian tradition. The Roman elite despised Nero’s finagling with the ceremonies and they disapproved of his very appearance in the games. His relationship with the population was almost totally driven by class. What's more, the historical and archaeological evidence confirms that the fire did indeed initially spread in a northerly direction. He was an unconventional, populist and utterly ruthless politician who exacerbated political divisions within Rome – and the Roman world in general. Nero is famed for watching while Rome burned, then using the devastated area for his own luxurious palace, and then blaming the conflagration on the Christians, whom he persecuted. What's more, the Emperor's reaction to the fire then hit the aristocracy's pockets. He married Poppaea in 62, but she died in 65, and he subsequently married the patrician lady Statilia Messalina. Nero and the Narada's very presence in 2233 created the alternate reality, causing divergences both immediate (the destruction caused by the ship) and unrelated (Pavel Chekov's date of birth, for example). But the new research reveals that it was the nature of the fire that seems to have turned that latent generalised aristocratic anti-imperial sentiment into a more focused anti-Nero crusade which ultimately led to a revolt which overthrew him. Despite (and sometimes perhaps because of) his convention-challenging behaviour, his supporters turned a blind eye to his often monstrous actions. His armies put down rebellions in Britain and Judaea, he was an enthusiastic patron of the arts, and he was lenient toward his enemies. His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust masters. Footnotes: [536] Tacitus (Ann. A rumor had spread of Nero’s behavior during the fire: although he hadn’t fiddled while Rome burned, he had been singing. But the remarkable new investigation – carried out by the one of the world's greatest authorities on the period – reveals, for the first time, that the scale of the Great Fire itself was also exaggerated by Nero's detractors. She hoped to control the government, but Burrus and Nero’s old tutor, the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, though they owed their influence to Agrippina, were not content to remain her tools. The legend that Nero fiddled during the 64 CE fire in Rome is false because bowed stringed instruments would not reach Europe for almost another millennia. Creative Commons Politically, psychologically and socially, Nero was one of the most interesting rulers of the ancient world. Bust of Nero © Nero was the fifth Roman emperor and the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His father died when Nero was about three. At first Nero hated signing death sentences, and the extortions of Roman tax collectors upon the populace led him in 58 to unrealistically suggest that the customs dues should be abolished. But his huge building projects and large-scale public employment schemes (which, in modern times, have sometimes been compared to Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal) endeared him to ordinary working class Romans. Nero was bleeding to death when members of the senate arrived to take him to safety. He was led to the murder of Agrippina by her insanity and her fury at seeing her son slip out of her control, to the murder of Octavia by his having fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young wife of the senator (and later emperor) Otho, and by his fear that his repudiated wife was fomenting disaffection at court and among the populace. Omissions? The new research shows how cutting the silver content of newly issued coins allowed him to do just that – but he still insisted that taxes (including taxes on aristocrats) had to be paid in pure silver  - not in his own new debased coinage. What's more, some of his enemies also bought into a variant of that 'death-defying' Neronian narrative – and some Christians believed that he would return to Rome as the Antichrist. His bloody excesses (and those of two other teen emperors, Commodus and Elagabalus) may well have been the psychologically-driven consequences of inheriting unlimited power at such a young age. Roman chroniclers, trying to curry favour with his anti-Nero political successors, claimed that around two-thirds of Rome had been utterly destroyed or badly damaged by the conflagration – and that line was faithfully reported by subsequent historians across the millennia. Important events that happened during the life of Nero: - The Great Fire of Rome � 64 A.D. - The First Imperial 'Persecution' of Christians � 64 A.D. - The first Jewish Revolt Against Rome � 66 A.D. Nero himself pardoned writers of epigrams against him and even those who plotted against him, and secret trials were few. A dead young woman is fished out of the East River and Saul Panzer is arrested for her murder. In 56 Agrippina was forced into retirement. The people accused the Emperor Nero for the devastation claiming he set the fire for his own amusement. Indeed, the still notorious 'Number of the Beast' (666) in the Biblical Book of Revelation (written around 30 years after Nero's demise) was almost certainly a coded reference to him as the Devil or the Antichrist. Beginning about 63, he also developed strange religious enthusiasms and became increasingly attracted to the preachers of novel cults. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Nero (Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 AD – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.He was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. 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All the new evidence on the Great Fire is about to be published in Professor Barrett's new book - Rome is Burning: Nero and the Fire that ended a Dynasty. The fire took place just 90 years after the Roman aristocracy's political power had been substantially extinguished by the changeover from republican 'democracy' to imperial dictatorship – and there was therefore still latent aristocratic hostility to holders of imperial office (and some remaining sentiment supporting a return to the republican system). It is widely believed that she poisoned Claudius when Nero was 16 and poisoned Claudius's son Britannicus to seal Nero's claim to the throne. The Baths of Nero are built in Rome. Among his more ruthless deeds were the murders of his mother, his 14-year-old stepbrother, his ex-wife, his cousin – and probably his aunt. Nero serves as a peacemaker between the Sons and the Mayans, getting back in good with Jax and Gemma despite his bitterness towards Jax for lying about not killing Darvany. Nero even dreamed of abandoning the throne of Rome in order to fulfill his poetical and musical gifts, though he did not act on these puerile ambitions. By now Seneca felt that he had lost all influence over Nero, and he retired after Burrus’s death in 62. Nero rode a chariot in the Greek Olympic games. In homosexual relationships, social norms also required the non-dominant partner to be a slave or ex-slave -  and again, Nero defied that convention by becoming the bride (rather than the husband) of an ex-slave. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Nero married Poppaea, and Poppaea was given the title Augusta when they had a daughter, Claudia. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. This led the Christians to label him the Antichrist. New research reveals the truth about ruthless populist politics – Roman-style, writes David Keys, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. The new research confirms that the accusation, that the Emperor Nero sat on his imperial balcony, 'fiddling while Rome burnt', was a malicious fabrication concocted by his political enemies. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, Artistic pretensions and irresponsibility, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nero-Roman-emperor, JewishEncyclopedia.com - Biography of Nero, Jewish Virtual Library - Biography of Nero, Public Broadcasting Service - Biography of Nero, Nero - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Nero: the populist political monster who murdered his mother and other family members – but craved the love of the masses. The reign of Nero was notable for numerous catastrophes. However, Agrippina was domineering and Nero eventually had her killed in the fifth year of his reign (62 AD). This download is the Content Pack for Nero 2015 Platinum.The Content Pack enhances the applications Nero Video and Nero MediaHome (slideshows only) with additional templates for theme packs, disc menus, sample audio and video files, special effects, transition effects, etc. Contrary to the accepted social norms that applied to elite Romans, he adored performing acts of athletic, theatrical and musical prowess in front of the general public. The year after Nero’s death, 69 AD, is known as the “Year of the Four Emperors.” No, none of them were co-rulers; that means three Emperors died messily in one year. Under Nero excavation of the Corinth Canal begins but is abandoned after three months. Seneca urged Nero to use his autocratic powers conscientiously, but he obviously failed to harness the boy’s more generous impulses to his responsibilities. Using a combination of archaeological and historical evidence, the new investigation shows that, as well as destroying large numbers of cramped tenement blocks, the fire also destroyed the luxury villas of the top aristocratic families (conceivably around 50-70 of them). Much of the crucial information, that he has drawn on, is ancient fire-damage evidence, unearthed over recent years by Italian and French archaeologists. On the other hand, the social and economic elites (including more liberal-minded intellectuals and others) tended to loathe him. While directing the government themselves, Burrus and Seneca had largely left Nero uncontrolled to pursue his own tastes and pleasures. He is remembered as an ineffectual, neglectful and brutal leader. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. It was largely through that monetary process that Rome's Great Fire metamorphosed into a political one. Christian tradition maintains that after Rome nearly burned to the ground, Nero engaged in a brutal crackdown on Christians which led to the executions of Peter and Paul. Some of the crucial evidence for his post-fire coin debasement policy has only recently been discovered by scientists at the University of Warwick, who used micro-drills to extract tiny samples from a series of Neronian 'silver' coins. Nero Wolfe is convinced that he didn't do it. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? The poorer, less educated sections of the population seem to have adored him. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Historical accounts say that the fire's spread was assisted by a strong wind. Taking advantage of the fire’s destruction, Nero had the city reconstructed in the Greek style and began building a prodigious palace—the Golden House—which, had it been finished, would have covered a third of Rome. By A.D. 68, the problems Nero faced had piled up. As well, as marrying three women (and killing one or possibly two of them! ), he also married two (or possibly three) men. Nero divorced his wife, Octavia, who was the daughter of his predecessor, the Emperor Claudius. The Emperor also defied social convention in other ways. Among them was the Piso Conspiracy, which aimed to kill Nero. {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}. Professor Barrett's research - due to be published in book form later this month -  has, for the first time, reconstructed the extraordinary political story of how and why the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD was exaggerated and then exploited for politically revolutionary purposes. Seeing that he could do what he liked without fear of censure or retribution, Nero began to give rein to inordinate artistic pretensions. Nero, a descendant of Julius Caesar, was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus in 37 A.D.; his mother, Agrippina, conspired by an incestuous marriage to make Nero the next in line for the throne. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster and, at the request of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, gave aid to the Jews. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The emperors of Rome could be wise, just and kind. Golden House of Nero, Latin Domus Aurea, palace in ancient Rome that was constructed by the emperor Nero between ad 65 and 68, after the great fire of 64 (an occasion the emperor used to expropriate an area of more than 200 acres [81 hectares] of land in the centre of the city). There is absolutely no credible evidence supporting either of those two explanations,” said Dr Barrett, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. The fire-induced coinage changes thus meant that the aristocrats' plebeian tenants paid their rents in debased coinage, while the aristocratic estate owners had to pay their imperial taxes in pure silver. What's more, the search for new evidence about Nero's reign, is revealing how troubled populist politics were a feature of ancient political life, just as much as they are an element of 21st century politics. Having no heir to succeed him, Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero offered to house the homeless, but it was too late. As Nero's behavior became more erratic—he believed that he could sing Gaul into submission—his enemies became bolder. XIII.-XVI. He fancied himself not only a poet but also a charioteer and lyre player, and in 59 or 60 he began to give public performances; later he appeared on the stage, and the theatre furnished him with the pretext to assume every kind of role. Kyrie recovered completely, but Nero's shoulder never healed properly, and was transformed into something else. Although he physically obliterated much of his own family, he seems to have craved the adoration of ordinary citizens. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. The fire began in the merchant shops around Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus, on the night of July 19. The character of Kim Nero on GENERAL HOSPITAL was a familiar face to many longtime fans when she showed up in November of 2017 because she is played by Tamara Braun, who was Emmy-nominated during her stint as Carly Corinthos from 2001-05! He had killed his mother, first wife and, by some accounts, his second. She moved to the morning newscasts 15 years ago. His complete disregard for upper-class behavioural norms scandalised the elites – but did not damage his standing among the poor. After Vulcan's destruction, Spock led the survivors to settle on the New Vulcan colony. Who Was Nero? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. At the age of 16, Nero succeeded Claudius as emperor when the latter fell ill and died in the early hours of 13 October 54 AD, allegedly poisoned by Agrippina. And sex slaves low Nero ’ s reputation had sunk by this time theatre, and.! He started it, is almost certainly unfounded son Emperor with Gaul and Judea replies to your inbox own and., Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the Julio-Claudian dynasty metamorphosed into a political one which aimed kill. 'S sword, the Red Queen, was an urban fire that occurred July! 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