"Although Nero's death had at first been welcomed with outbursts of joy, it roused varying emotions, not only in the city among the senators and people and the city soldiery, but also among all the legions and the generals; for the secret of empire was now disclosed, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than at Rome."Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Caligula's sister Agrippina the Younger, was born on Dec. 15 A.D. 37 at Antium, which is also where Nero was staying when the famous fire broke out. His father died in 40. As a young boy, Lucius received many honors, including leading youth in the Trojan Games in 47 and being prefect of the city (probably) for the 53 spring Latin games. He was allowed to wear the toga virilis at a young age (probably 14) instead of at the normal 16. Lucius' stepfather, the Emperor Claudius, died, probably at the hands of his wife Agrippina. Lucius, whose name had been changed to Nero Claudius Caesar (showing lineage from Augustus), became the Emperor Nero.
-Tacitus Histories I.4
A series of unpopular treason laws in A.D. 62 and the fire in Rome of A.D. 64 helped seal Nero's reputation. Nero used the treason laws to kill whomever Nero considered a threat and the fire gave him the opportunity to build his golden palace, the "domus aurea." Between 64 and 68 a colossal statue of Nero was built that stood in the vestibule of the domus aurea. It was moved during the reign of Hadrian and was probably destroyed by the Goths in 410 or by earthquakes. Unrest throughout the empire led Nero to commit suicide himself on June 9 A.D. 68 in Rome.
Major sources on Nero include Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dio, as well as inscriptions and coins.
- "Nero as Incendiary," by Robert K. Bohm. The Classical World, Vol. 79, No. 6 (Jul. - Aug., 1986), pp. 400-401.
- "Notes on the Early Life of Nero," by Russel Mortimer Geer. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 62, (1931), pp. 57-67.
- "Zenodorus's "Colossus of Nero," by Fred C. Albertson. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Vol. 46, (2001), pp. 95-118.