NERO Sarah Widder
EARLY LIFE • born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus in 37 CE, nephew of Claudius and direct descendant of Augustus • mother Agrippina marries Claudius, uses her influence to make Claudius favor Domitius (Nero) over his biological son Britannicus - he’s officially adopted, named heir, given the family name Nero, and betrothed to Claudius’ daughter Octavia in 50 CE.
BECOMING EMPEROR • In 54 CE, Claudius died from eating poisoned mushrooms, supposedly Agrippina’s doing • Nero, aged 16, is recognized as emperor by the Praetorian Guard on October 13 “Agrippina crowning Nero”
QUINQUENNIUM - THE GOOD YEARS 54-59 • Nero, distracted by his artistic and leisure interests, left the ruling of Rome to Seneca, a philosopher and Nero’s tutor, and Burrus, the head of the Praetorian Guard • Agrippina tried to control her son, leading him to look for freedom in artistic and literary pursuits • Seneca and Burrus led Rome well during a period of relative peace- revolts were put down in Britannia, Armenia was conquered Nero and Seneca
KILLING AGRIPPINA • Nero turned 21 in 59 CE. He was ready to end the control of his mother and two close advisors • He devised a plan to kill Agrippina with a collapsing barge. She escaped, so he sent soldiers to kill her. She reportedly pointed their spears towards her womb, symbolising the betrayal of her son “Agrippina saved from the shipwreck”
GREAT FIRE OF ROME • 64 CE - a fire starts in the Circus Maximus and spreads to 10 of 14 regions of the city • it lasted about 2 weeks, after having initially seemed to go out and mysteriously starting again, leading to suspicions of the fire having been set • Nero actually aided the relief efforts, but many people believed that he was responsible and had “fiddled while Rome burned”
UNPOPULARITY • Nero attempted to remove blame from himself by pinning it on the Christians. He had their leaders, Peter and Paul, executed • However, his popularity severely decreased, especially after he used the destroyed parts of the city to build his Domus Aurea
DEATH • A failed conspiracy in 65 led Nero to begin a “reign of terror” when he had many influential Romans executed, exiled, or forced to commit suicide • Eventually, in 68, a revolt began in the provinces. Galba, governor of Spain, claimed the throne and marched to Rome.
“QUALIS ARTIFEX PEREO” • Nero panicked and fled Rome, committing assisted suicide on June 9, 68. • A civil war ensued after his death over who should become the next emperor
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