Emperor Nero was one of Rome’s most infamous emperors. He was born on the 15th December  37 AD to Agrippina the Younger and Gneudus Domitius Ahenobarbus. His real name is Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus but changed it after his father died and his mother married her uncle, Claudius. His mother, Agrippina, convinced to name Nero his successor over Claudius’ own son Brittanicus.She also convinced him to let Nero marry his daughter Octavia.

In 49AD Claudius died of a suspected poisoning by Agrippina, and at age 17, Nero came into power. He was advised by his former tutor Seneca and the commander of the praetorian guard – Burrus. His mother supposedly tried to influence his reign but for the most part failed.

He had an affair with his former slave, Claudia Acte, and much to the disapproval of his mother, his wife and his subjects, he began living with Claudia as his (unofficial) wife. Over the years he pushed his mother further and further away, and she eventually started pushing for Brittanicus, her step-son, to replace Nero.

In 56AD Brittanicus died mysteriously of a supposed seizure, but many think Nero poisoned him. Agrippina started spreading bad rumours about her son and Nero eventually banished her.

Nero cast off Acte in 58AD as he had fallen for the wealthy, aristocratic and married Poppaea Sabina. Nero wanted to marry her but a divorce from Octavia was highly frowned upon by his people and his senate and most of all his mother. He got fed up with his mother’s meddling and ordered her to be drowned, but she escaped so he had he stabbed instead. He beheaded Octavia and gave it to Poppaea whom he then married and later killed too.

He got fed up with his mother’s meddling and ordered her to be drowned, but she escaped so he had he stabbed instead. He beheaded Octavia and gave it to Poppaea whom he then married and later killed too.

During his time in power, he abolished capital punishment, lowered the taxes and allowed slaves to speak up about their treatment and their masters. He was a great lover of the arts and athletics but he wasn’t a huge fan of gladiator sports. Many of Nero’s actions were well-intentioned but he was awfully irresponsible and self-indulgent. Over time he became increasingly debaucherous and cruel. After his mother’s death he began leading a very different lifestyle – he would throw extreme parties, he had many affairs with both men and women, and he began to treat others around him horribly.  If he heard of anyone criticising him he would banish or kill them.

After his mother’s death he began leading a very different lifestyle – he would throw extreme parties, he had many affairs with both men and women, and he began to treat others around him horribly.  If he heard of anyone criticising him he would banish or kill them.

It is rumoured that he may have started the Great Fire in Rome, and some say he played the fiddled quite contentedly while Rome burned. This cannot be true for two reasons – 1) he was in a villa far from Rome and didn’t hear about it until later, and 2) the fiddle didn’t exist in ancient Rome. He blamed the fire on the Christians.

Nero blamed the fire on the Christians, a new and emerging religion, which gave him reason to treat them like dogs. Nero found many ways to torture them as a public display of his dislike.His methods included pouring hot wax/tar on living Christians,  impaling them then would burn them alive at some of his parties. He would crucify them too.

In the arena, they would be made to fight lions, tigers, bears and crocodiles (amongst other predatory animals) in front of cheering crowds. He would put the Christians into wooden barrels with nails hammered into them and roll them down hills so that were bloody and scarred and most probably even dead! These are only some of the horrendous methods of torturing people.

After the Great Fire which destroyed 75% of Rome, he built his new “Domus Aurea” or “Golden House” on the Palatine Hill, which became the new living quarters for the Emperors. To build this new Golden House he needed more money and so he would sell positions in the senate and imperial positions to the highest bidder.

He also raised the taxes and stole money from temples. These activities lead to the Pisonian conspirators, a group of rebels plotting to kill Nero. However, they were discovered and put to death.

As time passed he realised that people were turning against him, including people close to him such as his bodyguards, and he decided to end his own life. In the end, he was assisted by his secretary who helped slit his throat. His last words were something along the lines of “Oh, what an artist dies within me!”

 

HistoryTeen 🙂

 

 

 

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