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1). NERO CLAUDIUS CAESAR AUGUSTUS GERMANICUS, also cal l e d A D 50 54 NEROCLAUDIUS DRUSUS GERMANIC US, origin a l na me L UC IUS DOMITIUS AHENOBARBUS thefifth Roman empe ro r A D 54 6 8 , stepson an d heir of the emperor Claudi us. He be came in fam ous for his personal debaucheries an d ext ravag a nces an d,o n doubtful evidence, for his burn ing o f Rom e and persec utio ns ofChristians. Upbringing. Nero s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died in a b o u t A D 40, and Nerowas brought up by hi s mother, Agri pp i n a th e Younger, agreat granddaughter of the empero r Aug us tu s. Af ter poisonin g her secondhusband, Agrippi na inc est uou sly be came the wife of her uncle, the emper orClaud iu s , an d persu aded him to favour Nero for the s uccessio n , over th erightfu l claim of his own son , Brit annicus , an d to marr y his daug hter,Octavia, to Nero. Ha ving alr ead y helped t o bring abo u t the murder ofValeri a Messali na , her predece ssor as the wi fe of Claudius, i n 48, andc eas ele ssly pursu ing her intrigu es to bring N ero to powe r, A grippinaelimina ted her opponent s amon g C laudius pa lac e advisers, probab ly hadClaudius hi ms elf poisoned i n 54 , and completed her w or k with thepois o ning of Brita nnicu s in 55. Upon the deat h of Claudiu s she a t onceha d Nero p roc laimed emperor by t he Praeto rian Guard , whos e prefect ,Sextus Afranius Burrus , was h er partisa n th e Senate th us had to accept afait a ccom pli. For the fir s t time absol ute power in the Rom an E m pire wasveste d i n a mere boy, w ho was not yet 17. Early reign. Agrippina immediately eliminated the powerful freedma n N a r c issus, who hadalways opposed her a ims. She hope d t o co nt ro l the government, but Burrusand Nero s old t utor , th e St oi c philosoph er Lucius Annaeus Seneca, tho ughth ey ow ed th ei r influence to Agrippina, were not con tent t o r em ain he rto ols. They encouraged Nero to act i ndepend ently o f her , an d a growingcoolness resul ted i n Nero s relation s wit h hi s mother. In 56 Agrippinawa s forced i nto retirem ent. F rom t ha t time until 62, Bur rus and Sen ecawere th e effecti ve rul ers of the empire. Brought up in this atmosphere, Nero might well have b e g u n t o behave likea monster upon his ac cession as emp er o r i n 5 4 but, in fact, behaved quiteotherwise. He pu t a n e nd t o th e more odio us features of the later year so f Clau dius reig n, including secret trials before th e em per o r and t hedomin ance of corrupt freedmen, and h e acco rde d more inde pendenc e to theSenate. The t estimo ny of c onte mporaries de picts Ne ro at this time as ahand some you ng ma n of fine pre senc e bu t with soft, weak fe atures an d ares tless spirit . Up to th e year 59, Nero s biographer s ci t e only acts of generosit y and clemenc y on his accou nt. Hi s government for bade conte stsin t h e circus involv ing blo odshed, banned ca pital punis hme nt, reducedtaxes , and acco rded permissio n t o slave s t o bring civil comp laintsagain st unjust masters . Ner o himsel f pardoned writ ers o f epig rams againsthim a n d even those w ho plotted a gainst him, a nd secret trial s we re few.Th e la w of treas on was dormant Claudius ha d put 4 0 senators to d eath, b ut, between th e murder s i nstigated b y Agrippina in 5 4 a nd the year 62, there wer e no like incid ents in Nero s r e ign . Nero als o inaugur atedcompetitions i n poetry, in t he t heatre, an d in athl etics ascounter att r actions to g ladiato rial com bats. H e saw to it that assista ncewas pro vided to c itie s tha t ha d suffered disaster and , at th e request ofth e J ewi sh historian Josephus, gave ai d to t he Jews . Artistic pretensions and irresponsibility. While directing the government themselves, Burrus and S e n e c a had largelyleft Nero uncontrolle d to pursue hi s o w n ta st es and pleasures. Senecaurged Nero to use hi s aut oc rati c po wers consc ientiously, but he obviouslyf aile d t o harne ss th e boy s more generous impulses to hi sresp ons i bilitie s. A t first Nero hated signing death s entenc es , and theext ortio ns of Roman tax collect ors up on th e pop ulace led hi m in 5 8 tounrealistically sugges t tha t the cu stoms dues sh oul d b e abolished. Evenlate r Ner o was capab le of conceivi ng g randiose plans for co nquest s or thecr e ation of publi c work s, but for the mo st par t he used hi s positionsimpl y to grat ify his own p e rsona l pleasures . His nocturnal ri oting inth e street s was a s candal as ea rly as 56, but th e e mergenc e of r ealbrutali ty in Nero ca n be fixed in th e 35 month per io d between t he puttingt o d eath of his moth er at his orde r s in 59 an d his simila r treatment ofhis wif e Octavia i n Jun e 6 2 . He was led t o the murder of Agrippi na by he rinsanit y a nd her fury a t seeing her son slip o u t of h er contro l , to themurder o f Octavia by his having fa lle n in lov e wit h Poppaea Sabin a , theyoung wife of the s e nator an d late r emperor Otho , and by his fear thathi s re pudiate d w ife w as fomentin g disaffection at cour t and amo ng th epopulace. H e marrie d Poppaea in 62, b u t she died i n 65 , and hesubsequ entl y married the patr ician lady Statil i a Messalina. Seeing that he could do what he liked without fear of c e n s u re orretribution, Nero began to gi ve rein to inord in a t e ar tistic pretensions.He fancied himself not onl y a p o e t but a lso a char ioteer and lyre player,and i n 59 o r 6 0 h e bega n to give public performances late r he appe ar e do n the sta ge, and the theatre furnished h im with th e p retex t to assum eevery kind of role. T o th e Romans th es e antic s seemed t o be scandalousbreaches o f civic dign it y and dec orum. Ne r o even dreamed of aban doningthe thr on e of Rome i n order t o fulfill his poetic al and music a l g ifts,thoug h he did no t act on these pu erile ambitio ns . Beginning abo ut 63 heals o developed s t range religio u s enthusiasms an d became incre asinglyat tracted to the p re achers of novel c ults . By now S enec a felt that he had los t all influence ov er Nero, an d h e retired after Burru s d e ath in 62. The great fire that ravaged Rome in 64 illustrate s h o w l o w Nero sreputation had sunk by thi s time. Taki ng a dv anta g e of the fire sdestruction, Nero had the cit y rec ons truct e d in the Gre ek style and beganbuildin g a prodi giou s pala ce the Golden House which, had i t beenfinish e d , would h av e covered a third of Rome. Du ring the fir e N ero was athi s v illa at Antium 35 mil e s 56 km fro m Rom e and therefor e ca nnot beheld respo nsible for the b urnin g of the city. B u t t he Roman popu lacemistakenly be lieve d that he himsel f had st arted th e fire in Rome in o rder t o indulge his aes thetic ta ste s in the city s subse quent r econstruction.Acco rding t o t he Anna ls of the Rom an histo rian Tacitus and t o th e Nero o fthe Roman biograp her Sueto nius, Nero in r esp o nse tried t o shiftresponsib ility fo r the fire on the Chr i stians, who w ere popularl y thoug ht to engage in many w icke d practices. H itherto t he governme nt had notclearl y distin guished Ch rist ians f rom Jews al most by accide nt, Neroini tiated the late r Ro man policy o f halfhearte d p ersecutio n of theChristian s , in the proce ss earnin g himself the rep utation of Anti chri stin th e Ch ristia n tradition. The approaching end. Meanwhile, the imperial government had had some suc c e s s i n the east. Thegreat foreign polic y problem of t h e t im e wa s that of Armenia. Since thereign of Augustu s , it h a d bee n Roman poli cy to appoint vassal kings th er eand s o m ake Ar menia a buffer state against Parthia , Rom e s i m plac able fo ein the east. But the Armenian s had lo ng cha fed und er Roma n rule, and inthe emper o r Claudius last y ears a P arthia n prince named Tirida tes hadmade h imself ki ng of Arm enia wi t h the support o f its people . In respons e,Nero s n ew gover nment took vi gorous action , appointi n g an able ge neral,Gna eus Domit ius Corbulo, t o the command . Prolonged m ilitary op erati ons byC orbul o led in 66 t o a new settlemen tTiridat e s was recognize d as king,bu t he was compelle d t o com e to R ome to recei ve his crow n from Nero. Despite this success, the provinces were increasingly u n e a s y, for theywere oppressed by exact ions to cover Ne ro s e xt ravagant expenditures onhis court, new building s , an d gi ft s to his fa vourites the lastexpenditures a lo ne ar e sai d t o have amounted to more than 2, 000,000, 000 sest e rces , a su m that was several times the annua l cos t of th e army . Arevo lt in Britain was heade d by Q ueen B oudicc a Boadic ea in 6 0 or 61,and an insurrectio n in Ju daea la sted fro m 66 to 7 0 . Nero had manyantagon ists b y this tim e. The gr eat conspi racy to make Gaius C alpurni usPiso em p eror in 6 5 reveals th e diversity of h is enemi es senators ,knights , officers, an d philosophe r s. Tha t the conspirac y include dmilitary offic ers wa s an ominou s sign, but Ner o did not g ive w ay topani c slaves kep t him out of dange r by warnin g him of plot s tha t werehat ching among the i r masters. An d he did no t altoget her ab andon hislenient a ttitude. Out o f 41 par ticipant s i n th e Piso conspiracy , only 18died in cludi ng Seneca an d th e poet Lucan , eith er by order o r fr o m fear the othe r s were exiled or pardo ned. At the end of the year 66, Nero undertook a long vi s i t t o G reece that wasto keep him away fro m Rome fo r 1 5 mo nths , an d during his absence heentrusted the con sula te t o on e of hi s freedmen . On this trip Nero engag edi n new d ispla ys of hi s artistic prowess, and he walke d ab out garb e d a s anasceti c, barefoot and with flowin g hair . His ent husias m for Gree k culturealso prompt e d him t o free a num ber o f Greek citie s in honour of t heirglorio us past. In t he fou r months fo ll owing his re turn to Rom e inFebruary 6 8, hi s delirious prete nsions a s both an ar tist and a r el igious worshiper arouse d th e enmity not on ly of the Senat e and th ose patriciansw h o had bee n dispo ssessed by him b ut also o f the Italia n mid dle class,whic h had old fashion ed moral v iew s an d which fu rnished mos t of theofficers o f the army . Eve n the common so ldiers o f the legion s were scandalize d t o see the descendan t o f Caesar publicly perf orm on sta g e theparts not on l y o f ancient Greek heroes b ut of fa r lo wer characters . Ihav e seen him on stage, Ga ius Ju liu s V index, the l egate wh o rebelledagainst him, w as t o say, pl aying preg nant wome n and slave s about to b ee xecuted. At the news of revolts brewing throughout the empiret h a t of theprovincial governor Serviu s Sulpicius Gal b a i n S pa in, the rebellion ofthe provincial governor Ju li us V inde x a t Lyon i n Gaul France , andothers on th e ea ster n fron tier Nero only laughed and indulged in f urthe r meg alomani aca l displays instead of taking action . I h ave on ly to ap pear and sing to have peac e once mo re in G aul, h e is repo rte d to have said.Meanwhile, th e revol t spread a nd the leg io n s made Galba emperor th eSenat e condemned N ero to di e a s lave s death on a cro ss an d under t hewhip . The Prae toria n Guard, his palac e guard , abandoned him , and hisfree dmen l eft to emba r k on th e ships he kept i n readiness a t Ostia , thepor t of Rome . Nero was obliged t o flee the c i ty. Acco rdin g to Sueto nius, he stabbed himse lf in the throa t wi t h a dagger. Acc ording to anot hervers ion recounte d b y Taci tus and almo st certainly fiction h e reachedth e Gree k islan ds, w her e the following year 69 the gov ernor o f Cythnos moder n KÃthnos recognized hi m in th e gu ise o f a red hair e d prophet andleader of th e poor , had him arre sted, an d exec uted the sentenc e tha t had been passed by th e Sena te. The Roman populace and the Praetorian Guard later c a m e t o r egret thatthey had lost such a lib eral patron , b u t t o hi s subjects in general, Nerohad been a tyrant , a n d th e revol t his misrul e provoked sparked a series of c iv il wa rs tha t for a time threatened the survival o f th e Ro ma n E mpirean d caused widespread misery. Source www .eb.c omHUSBANDName: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Emperor Of Rome(54-68) Note Born: at 15 Dec. 37 Ad , Antium, Latium Married: at Abt. 53 Ad Died: at 9 Jun.. 68 Ad , Rome, Italy Father: Gnaeus Domiticus Ahenobarbus Mother: Julia Agrippina Ii ''the Younger''WIFEName: Octavia Ii Born: (suppressed / living) Married: (suppressed / living) Died: Father: Emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus Of Rome(41-54) Mother: Valeria MessalinaCHILDRENNOTES