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Nero Cloudius Caesar
Augustus Germanicus
Roman Emperor
54 – 68 AD
Nero’s character “Nero was of average height with blond curly hair.
He was described as ‘pretty’ rather than ‘handsome’
His stomach protruded and he had spindly legs.
Apparently he smelt bad and had no shame in his manner of
Although Nero had an indulgent lifestyle he was a healthy man.”
-Bradley, 1990
- Nero always had an interest in artistic activities. One of his
greatest loves in life was singing.
- He always practiced this in private, although he longed to be on
the stage in front of an audience.
- He wanted to become a popular performer on stage and in the
-Built a statue of himself in his palace, 120 feet high.
- Other performers were pleased to have an emperor that shared
their interests, although other the nobility and equities were
shocked, offended and repelled by his undignified behaviour.
How Nero came to power - First of all, Nero had royal blood. He was born to a father who belonged to an
established old Roman family but his mother, Agrippina, was the daughter of
Caesar Augustus' grandson Germanicus.
-Emperor Caligula had banished Agrippina to an island where Nero lived with
her. This situation was to change when Caligula died in 41 A.D. and Cloudius
became Emperor.
-Whilst Cloudius was married to Agrippina, she forced Cloudius to adopt Nero
as his son which meant he was next in line to be Emperor. Britannicus was
Cloudius’ biological son and it was said that Nero supposedly poisoned him at a
dinner party to get him out of the way. This alarmed Agrippina because she
was hoping to use Britannicus if Nero fell out of her grip.
-Cloudius was murdered by Agrippina and Nero became Emperor at the age of
-Agrippina ruled through her son and soon Nero shunned her aside as he did
not want to share authority.
How he maintained power -
In July in 64 BC the great fire referred to as the most famous incident of
Nero’s time occurred. It burnt for over a week. Out of the fourteen regions
of Rome only Four remained. Three where completely destroyed. Many
ancient shrines, public buildings, palaces, temples, mansions and
tenements were burnt to the ground. Because of this there were serious
consequences for Nero, his subjects and those of the Christian faith.
-Accident or deliberate?
Nero’s impact on Roman life During Nero’s reign-There was always sufficient grain supply.
-Claudius’ aqueduct system was extended and harbour
developments at ostia were completed.
-Prousions were made for better accommodation and (greater
order at games)
-Nero twice distributed 400 sesterces each.
The decline of Nero-Problems began to arise for Nero after he began an affair with the wife of a friend. While
Nero expressed irritation with his mother's interference in his government, the mistress
suggested that Nero have her murdered. After several botched attempts, Agrippina was
murdered in 59 A.D.
-Nero lost 2 of his advisers in 62 A.D. With the death of Burrus and the retirement of
Seneca, Nero was left by himself so he arranged to have a friend murdered so he could
marry his wife. Talk of this scandal spread and his popularity decreased.
-Nero thought of himself as a great musician, actor and athlete. He started staging
spectacles and athletic contests that he participated or performed in. Nero was, in reality,
a poor musician, actor and athlete.
-Rome suffered largely from a fire in 64 A.D. Nero designated a large section of the
burned out land for a palace despite large public disapproval.
-Nero basically blamed the Christians for the fire and carried out murderous campaigns to
persecute them. Nero later started persecuting innocent Roman citizens, In Bradley it
states that he even forced his own guards to commit suicide. The final crisis occurred in 68
A.D. The military, the Roman Senate and Praetorian Guard resorted to rebellion. Nero
finally took his own life on the 9th of June 68.