Name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
- Birth: December 15, 37
- Death: June 9, 68
- Reign: A.D. 54-68
Parents: Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina
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). 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. While his predecessor, Claudius, was accused of letting slaves guide his policy, Nero was accused of letting the women in his life, especially his mother, guide his. This wasn't considered an improvement.
Family and Upbringing of Nero:
Compassionate Elements of Nero's Reign:
Some Charges Against Nero:
Nero gained notoriety for inappropriately performing. It is said that as he died, Nero lamented that the world was losing an artist.
Death of Nero:
Ancient Sources on Nero:
Go to other Ancient / Classical History pages on Famous Romans.
Tacitus on Nero and the Fire:
Tacitus on the Modifications Nero Made to Building After the Fire of Rome
(15.43)"...The buildings themselves, to a certain height, were to be solidly constructed, without wooden beams, of stone from Gabii or Alba, that material being impervious to fire. And to provide that the water which individual license had illegally appropriated, might flow in greater abundance in several places for the public use, officers were appointed, and everyone was to have in the open court the means of stopping a fire. Every building, too, was to be enclosed by its own proper wall, not by one common to others. These changes which were liked for their utility, also added beauty to the new city. Some, however, thought that its old arrangement had been more conducive to health, inasmuch as the narrow streets with the elevation of the roofs were not equally penetrated by the sun's heat, while now the open space, unsheltered by any shade, was scorched by a fiercer glow."
Tacitus on Nero's Blaming the Christians
(15.44)".... But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. 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. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car."