The Senate condemned Nero to die a slave’s death: on a cross and under the whip. Suetonius says that he went everywhere accompanied by a vocal-tutor and that he also suffered from stage-fright before many of his performances. Nero reduced heavy taxes and fees paid to informers. As emperor, Nero served as consul 4 times. His response to people criticizing his artistic skills was mild. Meanwhile, the revolt spread and the legions made Galba emperor. Nero was obliged to flee the city. In A.D. 60, he set up the Neronian Games, inspired by the Greek games-festivals. Tacitus describes the reign of Nero, but his Annals end before the last 2 years of Nero's reign. This wasn't considered an improvement. Nero tried to kill himself, but required the assistance of his scribe, Epaphrodite, to stab himself in the neck. Marble bust of the emperor Nero, via Wikimedia. Nero was also loved by the people of Rome, specifically the lower classes, because they viewed him as a generous ruler. “I have only to appear and sing to have peace once more in Gaul,” he is reported to have said. He lowered heavy rates of taxation and also increased the amount of free grain issued to the poor. But the Armenians had long chafed under Roman rule, and in the emperor Claudius’s last years a Parthian prince named Tiridates had made himself king of Armenia with the support of its people. An emperor like Nero provided writers of the time with all the ammunition necessary for a dramatic and entertaining story. The image of a crazed and capricious Emperor Nero is immortalised in popular culture: from fiddling while Rome burns to having a sexual relationship with his mother. Here are the top 7 most influential Roman emperors. She has also worked as a teacher of Classics in a leading independent school in London. According to Suetonius, he stabbed himself in the throat with a dagger. At the news of revolts brewing throughout the empire—that of the provincial governor Servius Sulpicius Galba in Spain, the rebellion of the provincial governor Gaius Julius Vindex at Lyon in Gaul (France), and others on the eastern frontier—Nero only laughed and indulged in further megalomaniacal displays instead of taking action. An emperor like Nero provided writers of the time with all the ammunition necessary for a dramatic and entertaining story. Laura Hayward is a contributing writer and researcher from London, UK. On this trip Nero engaged in new displays of his artistic prowess, and he walked about garbed as an ascetic, barefoot and with flowing hair. Apparently, Nero often declared, ‘True gentlemen always throw their money around’. Contemporary art is all about confronting the canon, representing a diverse range of experiences and ideas, utilizing new types of media, and shaking up... John Dewey (1859-1952) was perhaps the most influential American philosopher of the 20th century. Despite this success, the provinces were increasingly uneasy, for they were oppressed by exactions to cover Nero’s extravagant expenditures on his court, new buildings, and gifts to his favourites; the last expenditures alone are said to have amounted to more than two billion sesterces, a sum that was several times the annual cost of the army. However, it is important to remember that this is just one aspect of this complex and inimitable individual. He presented himself to the palace guard, who pronounced him emperor. That the conspiracy included military officers was an ominous sign, but Nero did not give way to panic; slaves kept him out of danger by warning him of plots that were hatching among their masters. Mosaic of Greek theatre masks, via Wikimedia. Nero had many antagonists by this time. Nero’s brutality was also directed towards members of his own family. His theories on progressive education and democracy called for a... Pablo Picasso almost needs no introduction. In the later years of Nero’s reign, there were two separate plots by the nobility of Rome to murder him, both of which he discovered before they came to fruition. Both Tacitus and Suetonius tell us that one evening, in a desperate attempt to regain Nero’s favor and her power, Agrippina attempted to seduce her own son when he was drunk. Details from the tyranny and brutality of his reign are still familiar to us today thanks, in part, to Roman historians, such as Tacitus (A.D. 56–120) and Suetonius (A.D. 69–140). Marble bust of Agrippina the Younger, via Ancient History Encyclopedia. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Suetonius gives us many details of Nero’s excessive spending. Picasso & Antiquity: Was He That Modern After All? However, if we take a slightly closer look at these contemporary sources, we find that the portrait presented is actually one of a truly multi-faceted man and one that might reveal a few unexpected twists along the way. But as Nero grew older he became irritated by his mother’s controlling behavior and hostility grew between them. And so Emperor Nero, a self-proclaimed demigod, had the boy castrated and married him as a replacement for his lost love. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (A.D. 37–68), otherwise known as Nero, is probably the most notorious and well known of all the emperors of Rome. As a result, Nero was adored by the Greek people. Nero Claudius Caesar (originally Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus) was the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, sister of the future emperor Caligula, in Antium, on December 15, A.D. 37. Throughout the early years of his reign he was heavily reliant on the advice of his tutor, the Stoic philosopher Seneca, and particularly his mother, the ruthless Agrippina the Younger. An inscription has been discovered in Boeotia, referring to him as ‘Zeus the Liberator’. 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. Soon after the disaster, Nero ordered an enormous new palace complex to be built on land cleared by the fire. Nero committed suicide before he could be captured and flogged to death. Almost all his staff deserted him. Tacitus on the Modifications Nero Made to Building After the Fire of Rome, A Look at the Lives of the First 12 Roman Emperors, Agrippina, the Empress Who Scandalized Rome, Five Roman Empresses You Shouldn't Invite to Dinner, Biography of Tiberius, 1st Century Roman Emperor, Most Important Figures in Ancient History, Titus: Roman Emperor of the Flavian Dynasty, Timelines and Chronologies of Roman Emperors, M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota. If we consider details from all of the sources, we are presented with a passionate yet violent young man, the son of a depraved and over-bearing mother and a profligate ruler, loathed by the nobility and loved by the ordinary people of Rome. When Claudius died, Nero was 17. All of the historical sources refer to Nero’s passion for a number of artistic pursuits. Nero also replaced public banquets with grain distribution. Nero then went to the Senate, which gave him the appropriate imperial titles. “I have seen him onstage,” Gaius Julius Vindex, the legate who rebelled against him, was to say, “playing pregnant women and slaves about to be executed.”. 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). Bust of Emperor Nero with coin of Nero and Agrippina.
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