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The Rise and Fall of Emperor Nero

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was the fifth and last emperor of Rome during the Julio Claudian Dynasty. He has been noted as one of the worst emperor's of Rome, noted for being obsessed with attention, which got him in a lot of tussles throughout his reign as emperor. Nero was blamed for many things some that were not proven. One of the biggest things he was blamed for was the Burning of Rome in 64 AD while people saw him playing his lyre on the top of one of Rome's Hills. Nero, Emperor by gimmick and the quiet killer of Rome.

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus born on December 15, 37AD near the Mediterranean cost in the city of Antium. Nero was the only son of Gnaeus Domitus Ahenobarbus, a great-nephew of the Emperor Augustus, brother-in-law and second cousin to the Emperor Caligula and maternal cousin of the Emperor Cladius. His mother was Agrippina, the great granddaughter of emperor Augustus and the adopted great niece of Tiberius. Nero's childhood was very unstable due to in the year of 39 AD; Gaius exiled Nero's entire family and stole their entire fortune, which left Nero and his family very poor. When Nero was three years old his father had died and his mother raised him. Although Nero was very poor he showed a passion for arts and literature. He thought that he himself was a very good actor at a young age, so to cope with his poorness he worked on learning more about the arts and literature.

Nero's luck all changed when he was sixteen and his mother married Claudius the emperor of Rome at the time. Claudius adopted Lucius and gave him the name Nero Claudius Caesar. Agrippina drew Nero closer to Claudius and this made Claudius decide that if he died that Nero would take his place as the emperor of Rome. After Nero was adopted he was assigned to his first Tutor and famous Roman Philosopher, Seneca. Seneca had taught Nero about Roman literature and also about the Roman Senate, he prepped Nero to take his place as the soon to be emperor of Rome. Seneca would stay at the right hand of Nero throughout his childhood and through most of his reign. Seneca was a teacher, philosopher, and a friend to Nero.

Aggripina did not marry Claudius for love she did it so that her son Nero could get into the Roman Empire and become emperor. On October 12 54 AD Claudius collapsed and went into a coma and then died that night. Rumors spread that said that his queen Aggripina had poisoned some mushrooms that day at the feast that they were having. What makes this suspicious was the timing that he died. Nero was just coming to age to become just young enough to be Rome's new emperor. The next day Nero appeared outside the palace accompanied by his mother the sixteen-year-old Nero was crowned emperor of Rome. Some days later Nero talked with the Senate and promised to respect the views of them. The Senate believed him but they did not realize what harm they were doing to their city by electing him emperor. Once Aggripina had her son as emperor she had a kind of joint rule on Rome. The first coins produced with Nero's face on it also had his mothers. Neither Nero nor his advisors liked the fact that his mother's head was on the coin.

To get away from his mother's influence Nero had surrounded himself with trusted advisors including; Burrus the prefect of the praetorian god and Seneca his tutor for many years. With Nero in charge Rome had a period of time in which they enjoyed strength, efficient administration, and economic stability. Nero's empire was at its best for the time being. It wasn't until later when Nero became unstable and insane when he was running his early empire he was very intelligent and his trusted advisors coached him most of the way.

After Nero had gained stability in the Empire he looked further and continued to have a passion for the arts and literature of music, which his mother did not like but young Nero did it anyway. Nero did everything a good singer would do to make him better at singing for example, not eating apples because they were known to harm the vocal cords. He also built many theatres and gymnasiums for Rome. Still his mother wanted a big part of his life and his rule so to keep his mother at bay he used his advisors. Some say that Nero left the government duties to his advisors and he continued to mess with his extra curricular activities like his singing, playing of music, and painting. Nero had figured out that he could practically do what he wanted with his advisors taking care of the government and this is where the problem was.

Nero began to grow tired of helping make decision for the empire; he was also tired of also being told what to do. He began looking into absolute power. Absolute power meant that the people could not remove Nero from power until he was dead no matter what he did. People began to grow tired of Nero's laziness within the empire and they were making plans to get him out. Aggripina also was growing tired of Nero's ignorance of her so she went to her stepson Britannicus. Britannicus was coming to age to become the new emperor and Agrippina thought that the state of Rome would accept Britannicus since he was Claudius's blood son. Nero was going to be thrown out of office due to his ignorance, but with a slight slip Nero would still be in power.

On February 15, 55 AD suddenly Britannicus had died due to an epileptic seizure. Most of the citizens of Rome thought that Nero had poisoned Britannicus so that he did not gain control of the Empire. After the death of Britannicus, Agrippina was accused of slandering Octavia, Nero's wife at the time, and Nero ordered her out of the imperial residence. Also in 55 AD Nero removed all allies with Agrippina from his presence. He considered anyone that was an ally with Agrippina a competitor for his throne. Nero was growing farther and farther away from his advisors. He began to do things like run the city at night disguised as a different person and stab them if they showed resistance and then drop their bodies in the sewers of Rome. His killing spree did not end then, in 59 AD Nero attempted to kill his mother because he was tired of her trying to keep such a close eye on the empire and waiting for her time to strike. One day Nero had invited his mother to dine with him at one of his villas, then as she was getting ready to go back Nero had presented her with a boat, but the boat was designed to fall apart once she got out on the river. The boat did sink but Agrippina did not die, she swam to shore and was saved. Once Nero heard this news he was outraged he ordered his naval officers to come to her house and murder her. Nero covered up this murder by saying that she had betrayed the Roman Empire and Nero's assassination. The Senate pretended that nothing had happed because Nero intimidated them.

Now that his mother was dead and his advisors grip was not so firm Nero practiced more and more on entertaining people. He joined chariot races, sang in the theatre, and acted in plays. (www.thenagain.info, Emperor Nero)

Instead of an Emperor most people called him and Entertainer. Nero was obsessed with attention. After murdering his mother and his brother he had to find some way to get applauded by the crowd. Twelve days after the death of his mother he married Poppaea his second wife his first wife was his stepsister Octavia; he divorced her after he thought she had relations with his mother Agrippina. Poppaea was the exact opposite she did not care of anyone and she was anything but good. To her married men and bachelors were all the same.

The Empire slowly started to fall apart in 62AD Burrus died, and Seneca was faced with embezzlement charges so he was forced to retire. Nero had also killed his wife Poppaea because he thought the kid she would have with him would take over Rome and he did not want that. He kicked Poppaea and she died from multiple kicking wounds to her womb and her head in 65AD. Nero had then decided to kill all of his relatives in the imperial family fearing that they would also take his place as emperor. Nero had gone insane and it was defiantly a turn for the worst for the Roman Empire.

On July 18, 64 AD a fire had started in the Roman capital. (Wikipedia.org, Burning of Rome)

It completely destroyed three of fourteen Roman districts and severely damaged seven. After this fire Nero had a journal entry that said "Good now at last I can begin to live like a human being." (History Channel, Rise and Fall of an Empire) This entry made historians wonder if he had started the fire. There are also accounts of other people seeing Nero up on top of one of Rome's Hills playing a lyre and singing the "Sack of Illiam" as Rome was burning. " (Wikipedia.org, Emperor Nero)

Days after the fire Nero was a very big part of the group to rebuild Rome. His idea of how to rebuild the Empire was very unique considering he had built himself a brand new palace called the "Golden House." Nero had paid for most of the relief effort with his own money. Nero could not get the gratitude of the people due to his lack of respect had gotten worse throughout his reign.

The Senate finally got tired of Nero making bad decisions and not keeping his promises they made a group in 65 AD called the Pisonian Conspiracy.(Wikipedia.org, Pisonian Conspiracy)

3 This conspiracy's main job was to revolt against Nero and get him out of the Roman Empire and make it better for the citizens of Rome. Their plot was to assassinate Nero and the leader of the group, Gaius Calpurnius Piso, gain control of the empire. Unfortunately Nero found out about the group and he had them all executed. Of this group was his tutor Seneca. After this revolt there were many following. As a whole Rome was tired of Nero, as he was more interested in his own self-seeking life of pleasure than in ruling the most powerful empire in the world. Finally in 68 AD Nero committed suicide with the help of his Secretary. He is said to have muttered before his death, "What an artist dies in me!"(Wikipedia.org, Emperor Nero)

As you can see Nero was very smart but he used his brain in the wrong way as he discovered he could do whatever he wanted when in power. Nero wanted to make something good but he was not influenced enough to know what he was doing. Nero, brilliant but imbecile ruler of Rome.


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