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Nero
        occurs only in the superscription (which is probably spurious,
        and is altogether omitted in the R.V.) to the Second Epistle to
        Timothy. He became emperor of Rome when he was about seventeen
        years of age (A.D. 54), and soon began to exhibit the character
        of a cruel tyrant and heathen debauchee. In May A.D. 64, a
        terrible conflagration broke out in Rome, which raged for six
        days and seven nights, and totally destroyed a great part of the
        city. The guilt of this fire was attached to him at the time,
        and the general verdict of history accuses him of the crime.
        "Hence, to suppress the rumour," says Tacitus (Annals, xv. 44),
        "he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most
        exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who
        are hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that
        name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate,
        procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius; but the
        pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again,
        not only throughout Judea, where the mischief originated, but
        through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and
        disgraceful flow, from all quarters, as to a common receptacle,
        and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first three were
        seized, who confessed they were Christians. Next, on their
        information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the
        charge of burning the city as of hating the human race. And in
        their deaths they were also made the subjects of sport; for they
        were covered with the hides of wild beasts and worried to death
        by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and, when day
        declined, burned to serve for nocturnal lights. Nero offered his
        own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game,
        indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the habit of
        a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot; whence a feeling
        of compassion arose toward the sufferers, though guilty and
        deserving to be made examples of by capital punishment, because
        they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but victims
        to the ferocity of one man." Another Roman historian, Suetonius
        (Nero, xvi.), says of him: "He likewise inflicted punishments on
        the Christians, a sort of people who hold a new and impious
        superstition" (Forbes's Footsteps of St. Paul, p. 60).
        Nero was the emperor before whom Paul was brought on his first
        imprisonment at Rome, and the apostle is supposed to have
        suffered martyrdom during this persecution. He is repeatedly
        alluded to in Scripture (Acts 25:11; Phil. 1:12, 13; 4:22). He
        died A.D. 68.
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Nero' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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