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    Brief Overview of the Roman Empire and Nero The Roman Empire beyond Italy was divided into about 40 provinces (territories), with each province having its own governor who kept order and collected taxes for Rome. He was either appointed by the emperor or named by the Senate. During the first century A.D. the Roman Empire was near its peak with a population of 50-60 million. This was more than 1/5 of the world's population at that time. Jesus lived and died during the period known in Roman history as the Pax Romana or the "Peace of Rome". It was an amazing time in history when the risen Jesus empowered His church to go into all the world to preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact the apostles journeyed throughout the Mediterranean world which was part of the Roman Empire. They traveled through Roman cities on Roman roads and everywhere that they traveled they came into contact with Rome. Julius Caesar had a dream for Rome but he was assassinated before he could see it fulfilled. The big problem was who would become the next emperor after his assassination. Very few had expected the young Octavian (Augustus) to become the chief heir and new emperor after Julius Caesar, but it was Augustus who turned out to be the most important emperor in all of Roman history. Augustus was very aware of what had happened with Julius Caesar, and desired to avoid the same problems with the Roman Senate. He wanted his stepson Tiberius to be emperor after his death and to make sure that this would happen he began to share his power with Tiberius. When Augustus died in 14 A.D. Tiberius was easily accepted as emperor. In fact this became the new way that emperors would be chosen. Each emperor would choose a successor from among his family or he would adopt someone who he thought would be fit to rule after him. During the 200 years after the death of Augustus, four dynasties (family lines) ruled the Roman Empire. Some of the emperors in each dynasty were somewhat moral emperors and others were horribly cruel. Each of the four dynasties ended with a violent overthrow of an unfit emperor. Augustus’ family line ended in disgrace in 68 A.D. with the Emperor Nero, who came to power when he was a young boy at the age of 17. Nero Claudius Caesar was born in December of 37 A.D. at Antium and reigned as the fifth emperor (Princeps) of Rome, from 54-68 A.D. under the political system created by Augustus after Civil War had finally put an end to the Roman Republic. Throughout the early years of his rule Nero was directed by his tutors (including the famous writer Seneca) and there was peace throughout the Empire. The Emperor Nero loved performing in the Theatre, races and games. He was not respected by the senators or the army. He was criticized by the people of Rome for being more interested in entertaining himself than in governing the empire. However, when his main advisors had either retired, or were dead, Nero revealed his true character. It did not take long for the people to realize that Nero was a tyrant. In 59 A.D. Nero executed his mother, his wife, Claudius’s son Britannicus, and several of his advisors and anyone that opposed him was executed. In 64 A.D. a devastating fire swept through Rome destroying everything in its path. Everyone thought that Nero had started the fire so that he could rebuild a more beautiful city, including his Golden House. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, Nero sang and played the lyre while Rome burned. When Nero felt that the rumor had turned everyone against him he found some scapegoats to bare the blame for the fire, the Christians. He punished them severely and had many of them burned alive or torn apart by wild beasts. It is believed that the apostles Paul and Peter were martyred during this persecution. There were many who sought Nero’s death and in 68 A.D. his own army rebelled against him and various military commanders attempted to seize the throne. The Emperor Nero was forced to flee from Rome and soon afterward he committed suicide. He was the last emperor who was of the dynasty of Augustus (Julio-Claudian dynasty).

    Coins and Images of the Emperor Nero Nero Coin , Agrippina Coin , Nero Bust 1 , Nero Bust 2 , Nero Bust 3 , Nero Bust 4

    Conclusion on Nero Nero goes down in history as a vicious and crazy man who murdered his mother and his wife, and many others. He had a corrupt ancestry, especially on his father's side, his mother Agrippina was an evil woman, his childhood was perverted and corrupted. He was a glutton, homosexual, murderer and considered insane by many. There's no doubt that he did have a passion for art, but this was clouded by his arrogance and self glorification. He was extremely jealous of anyone suspected of rebellion, and he retaliated in persecution, suppression and murder. For the most part, Nero, was completely despised. Tacitus said: "I began to hate you, when, after murdering mother and wife, you turned out to be a jockey, a mountebank, and an incendiary." (Tacitus annals 15:67). Nero being faced with revolt committed suicide in June of 68 A.D. Ultimately Christianity had been firmly planted throughout the Roman Empire by the apostle Paul during the reign of Nero. In fact Paul must have arrived in Italy during his Third Missionary Journey at around 60 A.D., just a few years before the great fire of Rome and the first imperial persecution of the Christian sect. There is much speculation as to what happened during these few years, but there can be little doubt that the signs and wonders that followed the teaching of Christianity, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in other cities were also happening in Rome and had reached the ears of those in the palace of Nero. God established His purposes in ways that we cannot understand, and in the midst of circumstances and events that can only be discussed today by searching the Word of God. Every other source cannot be entirely trusted because historians and writers were persuaded in many ways politically and socially. By the time of the destruction of the Temple, or shortly thereafter, all of the Books of the Bible were completed and the early church was established.

    Emperor Nero on Bible History Online Introduction , Overview , His Birth and Youth , His Mother , Claudius , Senecca and Burrus , Nero Becomes Emperor , Nero's Character , The Great Fire of Rome , The Scapegoats , The Jewish Revolt , Timeline , Historical Writings , Dictionaries , Encyclopedias , Coins and Images , Conclusion

    Emperor Nero's Birth and Youth Brief overview of the birth and childhood of the Emperor Nero. On December 15, 37 A.D. Nero was born, his original name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. He was the only child of Julia Agrippina (the great-granddaughter of Augustus), and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, whose family descended from the ancient nobility and whose father had married a niece of Augustus. Young Domitius had a rough childhood, he was taken from his mother when he was 2 years old, when his uncle Gaius Caesar (Caligula) took the throne sent the Ahenobarbus family into exile around 39 A.D. When Nero was 3 years old his father died. Caligula seized the entire Ahenobarbus family fortune, and the young boy spent many of his early years in poverty. Agrippina raised him with the help of Domitia Lepida, his aunt. His earliest tutors were apparently a dancer and a barber.

    Historical Sources of the Life of the Emperor Nero The main historical sources about the life of Nero were: - Tacitus Tacitus Publius Cornelius (55-120 A.D. approx.) - Suetonius Svetonius Tranquillus (70-140 A.D. approx.) - Cassius Dio Dion Cassius Cocceianus (155-235 A.D. approx.) - Jewish and Christian Tradition - Archaeology

    Important Events in Nero's Life - The Great Fire of Rome 64 A.D. - The First Imperial 'Persecution' of Christians 64 A.D. - The first Jewish Revolt Against Rome 66 A.D.

    Introduction to the Roman Emperor Nero BKA 106 - Nero. This Bible Knowledge Accelerator program contains a very brief overview of the life and history of the Roman Emperor Nero. Nero (AD37-68), fifth emperor of Rome and the last of the Julio-Claudian line. Born Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus on December 15, 37, at Antium and originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, Nero was the son of the consul Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (died about 40) and Agrippina the Younger, great-granddaughter of Emperor Augustus. In 49 Agrippina married her uncle, Emperor Claudius I, and the following year she persuaded him to adopt her son, whose name was then changed. Later, Claudius married Nero to his daughter Octavia and marked him out for succession, bypassing his own son, Britannicus. On Claudius's death (54), the Praetorian Guards, under their prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus, Agrippina's agent, declared Nero emperor at the age of 17. The initial five years of Nero's reign, guided by Burrus and the philosopher Seneca, Nero's tutor, were marked by moderation and clemency, although Nero had his rival Britannicus poisoned. In 59 he had his mother put to death for her criticism of his mistress, Poppaea Sabina. In 62 he divorced (and later executed) Octavia and married Poppaea. Burrus died, possibly poisoned, and Seneca retired. In July 64, two-thirds of Rome burned while Nero was at Antium. In ancient times he was charged with being the incendiary, but most modern scholars doubt the truth of that accusation. According to some accounts (now considered spurious), he laid the blame on the Christians-few at that time-and persecuted them. He sheltered the homeless, however, and rebuilt the city with fire precautions. The building programs, like the spectacles and free grain he provided for the populace, were financed by plundering Italy and the provinces. Viewing himself as an artist and a religious visionary, he scandalized the army and aristocracy when he appeared publicly as an actor in religious dramas. Meanwhile, the empire was in turmoil. Nero established Armenia as a buffer state against Parthia, but only after a costly, unsuccessful war. Revolts broke out in Britain (60-61) and in Judea (66-70). In 65 Gaius Calpurnius Piso led a conspiracy against the emperor; 18 of the 41 prominent Romans implicated in the plot perished, among them Seneca and his nephew, the epic poet Lucan. Poppaea was kicked to death by Nero, and he married Statilia Messalina after executing her husband. In 68 the Gallic and Spanish legions, along with the Praetorian Guards, rose against him, and he fled Rome. Declared a public enemy by the Senate, he committed suicide on June 9, 68, near Rome.

    Key People in Nero's Life - Nero Himself - Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus - Agrippina - Nero's dominating mother - Claudius - The emperor before Nero - Octavia - Claudius' daughter and Nero's first wife - Britannicus - Claudius' son and rightful heir to the throne - Seneca and Burrus - Nero's trusted tutors - Poppaea - Nero's second wife - Galba - General in Spain and the next emperor of Rome

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Nero's Tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca (5 A.D.-65 A.D.) was a poet and a writer, and one of the major literary figures and foremost Stoic philosophers of the first century A.D. He was the son of Seneca the Elder, born in Spain and taken to Rome as a youth. Caligula and the Senate saw Seneca the younger as an incredibly gifted orator and writer. When Claudius became emperor in 41 A.D. he exiled Seneca to Corsica, Spain (the place of his birth). Seneca finally saw the end of his exile when Agrippina The Younger, probably the most powerful person in Rome, called him back to Rome to become a tutor for her son, Nero.

    Nero and Agrippina Agrippina Runs Things – For Awhile. Nero was a confident leader who was very interested in Roman arts and education. When he was young the control of the empire was in the hands of his mother, Agrippina. In fact on the first day that he began to rule he gave the tribune of the guard the watchword "The best of mothers" and she was authorized to handle all of the business of the empire for Nero. Burrus, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and his tutor, Seneca were his trusted advisors. During this time and under their direction Rome prospered, but this did not last. Nero both loved and hated his mother, who had been continually trying to dominate him. Slowly as Nero became older and more independent, his mother began to lose power. note: On Roman coins Nero and Agrippina faced each other and on the back was Agrippina's name showing she was more important. Slowly as Nero became older and more independent, his mother began to lose power. The coins showed Nero and his mother facing the same direction and his name was on the back. Relations between Nero and his mother were at their worst. Nero tried to bestow honor on her in several ways, but she scorned him, and made him feel indebted to her for everything. She finally moved out of the palace in 55 A.D. to her own mansion, which was a sure sign that she was losing power. Agrippina suddenly began to show favor toward Britannicus (Nero’s brother) and so Nero ordered his execution. By 59 A.D. Nero was fed up with her schemes and ordered her death. This had been the first time and the last time that a woman had ruled Rome. After Agrippina had left the palace Burrus and Seneca successfully ran the empire. Three years later in 62 A.D. both Burrus and Seneca vanished from the political scene. Burrus apparently died from throat cancer, and Seneca resigned and later committed suicide. Nero appointed two Praetorian Prefects (Faenius Rufus and Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus). Tigellinus was previously exiled by Caligula and Nero called him back to make use of his renowned intelligence skills. With the help of Tigellinus, Nero divorced Octavia and married Poppaea. Tigellinus framed Octavia on an immorality charge and she was exiled to an island and later executed. 62-63 A.D. marked the beginning of the degeneration of Nero's rule.

    Nero and Claudius Brief overview of Claudius and the Emperor Nero Tiberias Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (10 B.C.-54 A.D.) was emperor of Rome from 41 A.D. to 54 A.D. He was born at Lyons and his parents were Drusus the Elder and Antonia. From his infancy he suffered from some sort of illness, many think that it was some form of cerebral palsy. His own family thought that it would be impossible for him to have any sort of public career, and they were humiliated by him. Yet underneath the surface was the mind of a scholar and orator. Tiberias and Caligula saw no threat in Claudius, although many others and his family were either executed or went into exile. Claudius had served as consul for Caligula. By 41 A.D. Caligula was assassinated, and the praetorian guard had a difficult time finding a replacement. They chose Claudius and persuaded all of Rome to follow him, even the legions were happy because the brother of Germanicus was on the throne. The Senate had no choice in the matter because they feared the praetorian guard who were rewarded greatly by Claudius. There was never a time in the Roman Empire when the Emperor was given so much power. There were six plots against his life, many of them being organized by the Senators. Claudius had married four times, and after his third marriage to Messalina he swore he would never marry again, and if he did the praetorian guard was to kill him. His first marriage bore him to children Drusus (died in childhood) and Claudia (illegitimate). His marriage to Messalina gave him two more children, Octavia and Britannicus. When Claudius became emperor in 41 A.D. Agrippina (his niece) was recalled from exile and allowed to return to Rome, and her estate was returned to her. In 49 A.D. following the fall and execution of Empress Messallina, Claudius married Agrippina, and many things changed for the young Domitius (Nero). This was Julia Agrippina’s third marriage, she was 34 years old and Claudius was 59 years old at the time of their marriage. This marriage proved to play a big part in the diabolical planning of Agrippina. Claudius was a strong leader and a very influential man, and throughout his life he suffered from some form of sickness, and this is probably why historians mentioned Claudius as a man with many strange behaviors. Agrippina knew that she could have an influence over the affairs in Rome through Claudius, and his life expectancy played a big factor in her plotting. She convinced Claudius to adopt her son and in 50 A.D. Nero became the probable heir to the throne, even over Claudius's real son Britannicus. Seneca became Nero’s tutor, and in 53 A.D. Nero married Claudius's daughter Octavia. In 54 A.D. Agrippina murdered Claudius by giving him a plate of poison mushrooms, and Nero became ruler at the age of seventeen.

    Nero and Emperor Worship Nero became even more tyrannical, claiming that he was equal to Apollo and the other gods. He encouraged emperor worship and had a huge statue of himself erected in Rome.

    Nero and The Jewish Revolt The Jewish Revolt Against Roman Domination. In 66 A.D. the Jews rebelled against Rome. Nero had sent Mucianus to govern Syria, and he detached the current governor whose name was Vespasian to the south to put out this great rebellion in Israel.

    Nero and The Pisonian Conspiracy In 65 A.D. some senators concocted the Pisonian Conspiracy to murder Nero in the Circus Maximus, while the games were going on, and then place Caius Calpurnius Piso in Nero’s position. They were found out and Nero went on a rampage to root out any opposition and there were daily executions. In fact all together there were nineteen executions and suicides. Among the ones killed were Faenius Rufus, Seneca, Lucan and Poppaea. Corbulo commited suicide. In 66 A.D. a second wave of executions took place and some of the important men who perished were Caius Petronius, Paetus Thrasea the Stoic, and Barea Soranus. Almost everyone who was suspected of treason was executed including many senators and prefects. This all took place in 66 AD, the same time when the horrible Jewish revolt broke out.

    Nero as Emperor By 62 A.D. Nero was the established authority in Rome. His mother Agrippina was dead, Burrus, the praetorian commander, was also dead. Seneca had retired, Octavia was divorced and murdered. Poppaea was now married to Nero and she bore him a daughter in 63 A.D. Poppaea had been Otho's wife and she had her eyes on Nero and plotted successfully to eliminate Octavia (Nero's wife), and Agrippina. Nero had his mother murdered in 59 A.D. Nero considered himself an artist, although it is doubtful that he had much talent. He devoted his time to poetry, singing on the public stage, and to sport. He desired to replace the gladiatorial games with racing and Greek athletic contests, yet his biggest desires were never achieved. Without those companions who had helped him in maintaining control of the empire, people were about to see Nero's true inward character. Ofonius Tigellinus, the new commander of the praetorian guard, was a bad influence on Nero. Nero also had many character flaws: vanity, greed, cruelty and a lust for power. He regarded the principate as tyrannical and none of his predecessors, he said "had realized what they could do" (Suetonius, Nero, 37). Just like Claudius, Nero began to surround himself with the worst sort of people. The expense wars in Britain and Armenia caused many problems. There was also a deliberate depreciation of the coinage. The hated law of treason (maiestas) was revived and used to destroy the Senate and aristocracy.

    Nero Becomes Emperor of Rome Brief history of the events around Nero becoming Emperor of Rome. Agrippina murdered Claudius in October of 54 A.D. and Nero, with the help of Burrus, was accepted by the praetorian guard and became emperor.

    Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus Nero became betrothed to Octavia (Claudius' daughter) and he was officially adopted in 50 A.D., and became the most probable heir to the throne, even over Claudius' own son Britannicus. Britannicus was four years younger than Nero and suffered greatly because of his disgraced mother Messalina. Nero’s mother Agrippina moved very shrewdly by appointing Nero as Britannicus' guardian and from that time on the young Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus would be known as Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus. Having assured herself the title of Augusta, and her son the throne, Agrippina murdered Claudius in October of 54 A.D. and Nero, with the help of Burrus, was accepted by the praetorian guard and became emperor. Nero succeeded and gave an inaugural address, probably written by Seneca, in which he promised to bring the empire the same peace and prosperity that existed in the days of Augustus, who exercised his authority in the midst of Republican rule and the Constitution.

    Nero Frees Greece from Paying Taxes to Rome Greece – Free from Taxation. In 67 A.D. Nero decided to take a trip to Greece where he participated in a variety of athletic contests and drama spectacles. He was awarded more than 1,800 prizes by the judges. During an oration in the stadium Nero declared Greece free from Roman taxation, though still part of the Roman empire. This was no doubt a huge blunder on Nero’s part and would bring many more revolts.

    Nero in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities Claudius Caesar. The sixth of the Roman emperors, born at Antium, in Latium, A.D. 37, nine months after the death of Tiberius. He was the son of Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina, the daughter of Germanicus, and was originally named Lucius Domitius. After the death of Ahenobarbus, and a second husband, Crispus Passienus, Agrippina married her uncle, the emperor Claudius, who gave his daughter Octavia in marriage to her son Lucius, and subsequently adopted him with the formal sanction of a lex Curiata. The education of Nero was carefully attended to in his youth. He was placed under the care of the philosopher Seneca, and appears to have applied himself with considerable perseverance to study. He is said to have made great progress in Greek, of which he gave a specimen in his sixteenth year, by pleading in that tongue the rights of the Rhodians, and of the inhabitants of Ilium (Suet. Nero, 7; Tac. Ann. xii. 58). At the death of Claudius (A.D. 54), while Agrippina, by flatteries and lamentations, detained Britannicus, the son of Claudius and Messalina, within the palace, Nero, presenting himself before the gates, was lifted by the guard-in-waiting into the covered chariot used for the purpose of carrying in procession an elected emperor, and was followed by a multitude of the people, under the illusion that it was Britannicus. He entered the camp, promised a donative to the cohorts, was saluted emperor, and pronounced before the Senate, in honour of Claudius, a panegyric composed by his preceptor Seneca. Coin of Nero. Agrippina soon endeavoured to obtain the chief management of public affairs; and her vindictive and cruel temper would have hurried Nero, at the commencement of his reign, into acts of violence and bloodshed, if her influence had not been counteracted by Seneca and Burrus, to whom Nero had intrusted the government of the State. Through their counsels the first five years of Nero's reign were distinguished by justice and clemency; and an anecdote is related of him, that, having on one occasion to sign an order for the execution of a malefactor, he exclaimed, "Would that I could not write!" (Suet. Nero, 10). He discouraged public informers, refused the statues of gold and silver which were offered him by the Senate and people, and used every art to ingratiate himself with the latter. But his mother was enraged to find that her power over him became weaker every day, and that he constantly disregarded her advice and refused her requests. His neglect of his wife Octavia, and his criminal love of Acté, a woman of low birth, still farther widened the breach between him and his mother. She frequently addressed him in the most contemptuous language; reminded him that he owed his elevation solely to her, and threatened that she would inform the soldiers of the manner in which Claudius had met his end, and would call upon them to support the claims of Britannicus, the son of the late emperor. The threats of his mother only served to hasten the death of Britannicus, whose murder forms the commencement of that long catalogue of crimes which afterwards disgraced the reign of Nero. But while the management of public affairs appears, from the testimony of most historians, to have been wisely conducted by Burrus and Seneca, Nero indulged in private in dissipation and profligacy. He was accustomed, in company with other young men of his own age, to sally into the streets of Rome at night, in order to rob and maltreat passengers, and even to break into private houses and carry off the property of their owners. But these extravagances were comparatively harmless; his love for Poppaea, whom he had seduced from Otho, led him into more serious crimes. Poppaea, who was ambitious of sharing the imperial throne, perceived that she could not hope to attain her object while Agrippina was alive, and, accordingly, induced Nero to consent to the murder of his mother. The entreaties of Poppaea appear to have been supported by the advice of Burrus and Seneca; and the philosopher did not hesitate to justify the murder of a mother by her son (Tac. Ann. xiv. 11; Quint.viii. 5). In the eighth year of his reign, Nero lost his best counsellor, Burrus; and Seneca had the wisdom to withdraw from the court, where his presence had become disliked, and where his enormous wealth was calculated to excite the envy even of the emperor. About the same time Nero divorced Octavia and married Poppaea, and soon after put to death the former on a false accusation of adultery and treason. In the tenth year of his reign (A.D. 64) Rome was almost destroyed by fire. Of the fourteen districts into which the city was divided, four only remained entire. The fire originated at that part of the Circus which was contiguous to the Palatine and Coelian Hills, and raged with the greatest fury for six days and seven nights; and, after it was thought to have been extinguished, it burst forth again, and continued for two days longer. Nero appears to have acted on this occasion with the greatest liberality and kindness; the city was supplied with provisions at a very moderate price; and the imperial gardens were thrown open to the sufferers, and buildings erected for their accommodation. But these acts of humanity and benevolence were insufficient to screen him from the popular suspicion. It was generally believed that he had set fire to the city himself, and some even reported that he had ascended the top of a high tower in order to witness the conflagration, where he amused himself with singing the "Destruction of Troy." From many circumstances, however, it appears improbable that Nero was guilty of this crime. His guilt, indeed, is asserted by Suetonius ( Nero, 38) and Dio Cassius (lxii. 17), but Tacitus admits that he was not able to prove the truth of the accusation ( Ann. xv. 38). In order, however, to remove the suspicions of the people, Nero spread a report that the Christians were the authors of the fire, and numbers of them, accordingly, were seized and put to death. Their execution served as an amusement to the people. Some were covered with skins of wild beasts, and were torn to pieces by dogs; others were crucified; and several were smeared with pitch and other combustible materials, and burned in the imperial gardens in the night: "Whence," says the historian, "pity arose Nero. (Bust in the Louvre.) for the guilty (though they deserved the severest punishments), since they were put to death, not for the public good, but to gratify the cruelty of a single man" (Tac. Ann. xv. 44). In the following year (A.D. 65) a powerful conspiracy was formed for the purpose of placing Piso upon the throne, but it was discovered by Nero, and the principal conspirators were put to death. Among others who suffered on this occasion were Lucan and Seneca; but the guilt of the latter is doubtful. (See Seneca.) In the same year Poppaea died, in consequence of a kick which she received from her husband while she was in an advanced state of pregnancy. A long list of victims is to be found in the pages of the annalists. The distinguished general Domitius Corbulo, Thrasea Paetus, and Barea Soranus are among these. During the latter part of his reign, Nero was principally engaged in amateur theatricals, and in contending for the prizes at the public games. He had previously appeared as an actor on the Roman stage; and he now visited in succession the chief cities of Greece, and received no less than 1800 crowns for his victories in the public Grecian games. He also began the canal across the Isthmus of Corinth, but ordered the work to be stopped (Dio Cass. lxiii. 6 foll.), leaving its completion to our own times (1893). On his return to Italy he entered Naples and Rome as a conqueror, and was received with triumphal honours. But while he was engaged in these extravagances, Vindex, who commanded the legions in Gaul, declared against his authority; and his example was speedily followed by Galba, who commanded in Spain. The praetorian cohorts espoused the cause of Galba, and the Senate pronounced sentence of death against Nero, who had fled from Rome as soon as he heard of the revolt of the Praetorian Guards. Nero, however, anticipated the execution of the sentence which had been passed against him, by requesting one of his attendants to put him to death, after making an ineffectual attempt to do so with his own hands. He died A.D. 68, in the thirty-second year of his age, and the fourteenth of his reign. See the chapter in Baring-Gould's Tragedy of the Caesars, vol. ii. (1892).

    Nero in Roman Biography Ne'ro, [Fr. Neron, na'r6N'; It. Nerone, nl-ro'na,] (Lucius Domitius,) the sixth of the Roman emperors, born in 37 A.D., was the son of Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus. His mother, after becoming a widow, having married her uncle the emperor Claudius, the latter adopted Nero and gave to him his daughter Octavia in marriage, adding to his name that of Claudius Drusus. On the death of Claudius, who was poisoned by Agrippina, A.D. 54, Nero was proclaimed emperor, to the exclusion of Britannicus, the son of Claudius. The counsels of Seneca and Burrus, who were placed at the head of government, had for a time a salutary effect upon Nero, and the first years of his rule were marked by kindness and justice ; but his evil passions eventually prevailed, and the remainder of his reign was signalized by a series of atrocities. Becoming jealous of Britannicus, he caused him to be poisoned, and, having soon after formed an attachment to Poppaea, murdered his mother at her instigation and made her his wife. He next caused Octavia, whom he had divorced, to be put to death. In A.D. 64 Rome was nearly destroyed by a fire which Nero was accused of having kindled. It was said that he amused himself, while viewing the conflagration, with reciting verses descriptive of the fall of Troy. In order to remove suspicion from himself, he charged the crime upon the Christians, many of whom were in consequence subjected to the most cruel tortures. A conspiracy formed against the tyrant, A.D. 65, was discovered, and many distinguished citizens were executed, among whom were Lucan and Seneca. Soon after this, Vindex and Galba revolted against the emperor, who, on hearing of their defection and that of the praetorian guards, destroyed himself, with the assistance of a servant, A.D. 68. See Tacitus, "Annales;" Suetonius, "Vita Neronis ;" Tii.lemont, " Histoire des Empereurs :" Mf.rivai.e, "History of the Romans under the Empire ;" " Nouvelle Biographie Generale ;" Denis Diderot, " Essai sur les Regnes de Claude et de Ne>on,' 2 vols., 1782.

    Nero in Wikipedia Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus[1] (15 December 37 – 9 June 68),[2] born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, and commonly known as Nero, was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68. He was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor. He succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death. During his reign, Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade, and increasing the cultural capital of the empire. He ordered the building of theaters and promoted athletic games. His reign included a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire, the suppression of a revolt in Britain, and the beginning of the First Roman–Jewish War. In 64, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome. In 68, the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul and later the acclamation of Galba in Hispania drove Nero from the throne. Facing assassination, he committed suicide on 9 June 68.[3] Nero's rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance.[4] He is known for a number of executions, including those of his mother[5] and stepbrother. He is also infamously known as the emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned",[6] and as an early persecutor of Christians. This view is based upon the main surviving sources for Nero's reign - Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio. Few surviving sources paint Nero in a favorable light.[7] Some sources, though, including some mentioned above, portray him as an emperor who was popular with the common Roman people, especially in the East.[8] The study of Nero is problematic as some modern historians question the reliability of ancient sources when reporting on Nero's tyrannical acts...

    Nero Sends Titus to Put Down the Jewish Rebellion Nero Hears Of the Rebellion. When Nero heard about the bitter defeat of the 12th Legion, he dispatched his most able commander, General Titus Flavius Vespasian, to put down the rebellion. Titus Vespasian was a very skilled military strategist and planned his attack starting with Galilee. He arrived with three legions and wiped out the Jewish forces in Galilee. It is interesting that the fortresses had been built by Josephus, who was captured by the Romans and later, as a prisoner, wrote the history of the remainder of the war. Titus then marched his legions down the coast and then moved inward toward Jerusalem. By 68 A.D. Jerusalem was under siege. Nero had committed suicide on June 9th, 68 A.D. and Titus Vespasian was awaiting orders. At this time three emperors came to power and left the throne almost as quickly. Finally Titus Vespasian was named head of the realm. In 70 A.D. he sailed for Rome and left the final siege of Jerusalem in the hands of his son Titus. Titus arrived to the city border at the head of 80,000 soldiers, he brought so many because Jerusalem was a difficult city to capture and heavily fortified. On three sides it is nearly impossible to attack the city which leaves only the North side for the troops to attack, the North contained the heavy fortifications, with their high walls and towers. Titus strategically planned his attack and after a two-week siege, according to Josephus, his troops "became masters of the first wall." Five days later came down the second wall and the legions marched in, but "the Jews, constantly growing in numbers and greatly at an advantage through their knowledge of the streets, wounded multitudes of the enemy." The Jewish victory would not last, for Titus sealed off the city by building a five-mile wall and then killed anyone that touched it. The Jews inside quickly ran short on supplies and became ridden with disease and starvation. Dead corpses filled the city and were finally thrown over the walls. After a month the Roman soldiers had reached the Temple and Titus made an offer to the Jews, he would spare the Temple if the rebels would come out and fight, but they resisted his offer. In fact they even set fire to portions of the Temple rather than allow the enemy entrance. The Roman troops fueled the fires, desiring to see the whole Temple in ashes, this was done against Titus' orders and they could not be stopped. The Temple was destroyed and set on fire never again to be rebuilt. Josephus said: "As the flames shot up, a cry, as poignant as the tragedy, arose from the Jews, who flock to the rescue," he also added: "lost to all thought of self-preservation, all husbanding of strength, now that the object of all their past vigilance was vanishing." The entire city was leveled except for three pillars in the northwest corner. Whoever was not killed was carried off into slavery. When Titus returned to Rome he marched triumphantly through the city bearing the Golden Menorah from the Temple, with hundreds of Jewish captives following behind. Herod's two strong fortresses, Herodium and Machaerus, were also captured. Only Masada was left, the last stronghold of the Zealots, who had captured it in 66 AD. This is where they made their final stand. The new procurator of Judea was Flavius Silva, and he came up with a plan, he built a wall around the base of the mountain and then ordered his troops to build a massive ramp, slowly but surely, until it reached the top of the 300 ft. plateau where the fortress stood. The Romans brought a huge battering ram and rolled up the ramp to crush the outer wall. They then lit a fire which doomed those who were inside. All of the Jews inside committed suicide (about 960 men, women and children) except for two women and five children. The seven-year war had finally come to an end and the Jews lost the Temple, and whoever was left alive was taken into slavery.

    Nero was Good Looking and Short-Sighted Nero was described as a very handsome man. He was apparently short-sighted which made him squint often and had a lot of freckles. He had dark blond hair and grayish eyes. He maintained his good health even though he had a big belly and a large neck. note: Presumably Nero was extremely short-sighted. Apparently he had an enormous emerald which he used as a glass to view gladiatorial fights. The Romans believed that emeralds were good for the sight, but Nero's emerald may have been hollowed out to act as a lens to help him see.

    Nero's Character Brief overview of the character of the Emperor Nero, from his early ambitions to his insanity.

    Nero's Ideas of Pleasing the People Nero had definitely come up with some interesting ideas. For example within the circuses and theaters there would normally be a large number of soldiers (Praetorian Guard) present, but Nero did not think that this gave the people a sense of freedom and at the end of 55 A.D. he had them removed from the games. This turned out to be a bad move because of the rival gangs and fights. The following year the soldiers were reinstated. Nero was not pleased with killing unless it was deserved. In 57 A.D. he built a wood amphitheater for games, gladiator fights, and wild beast shows but he did not allow fighting to the death, even if those fighting were convicted criminals. It wasn’t long before the crowd cried for blood and Nero had to change his policy. Nero soon became very suspicious and a bit paranoid. If he even suspected that someone was hostile to him in any way, he was ready to order their death, but he would not execute someone unless they committed some sort of treason. He did not like to execute people and when he was asked to sign an execution warrant, he would sigh "How I wish I never learned to write." It is interesting that Seneca also did not like the idea of Roman executions. One situation that disturbed Seneca was in 61 A.D., when the city prefect Lucius Pedanius Secundus (a fellow Spanish citizen) was murdered by one of his slaves. According to Roman law (in case of a slave uprising) not only the murderer himself but every other slave in the house had to be killed. Lucius owned four hundred slaves including women and children. Though many protested against the slave executions Nero enforced the law.

    Nero's Mother Julia Brief overview of Julia Agrippina, the Mother of the Emperor Nero His mother was Julia Agrippina (The Younger) who bore him in her first marriage with Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. Julia Agrippina was the daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. When Claudius became emperor in 41 A.D. Agrippina (his niece) was recalled from exile and allowed to return to Rome, and her estate was returned to her. In 49 A.D. following the fall and execution of Empress Messallina, Claudius married Agrippina, and many things changed for the young Domitius (Nero). This was Julia Agrippina’s third marriage, she was 34 years old and Claudius was 59 years old at the time of their marriage. This marriage proved to play a big part in the diabolical planning of Agrippina. Claudius was a strong leader and a very influential man, and throughout his life he suffered from some form of cerebral palsy, and this is probably why historians mentioned Claudius as a man with many strange behaviors. Agrippina knew that she could have an influence over the affairs in Rome through Claudius, and his life expectancy played a big factor in her plotting. She convinced Claudius to adopt her son and in 50 A.D. Nero became the probable heir to the throne, even over Claudius's real son Britannicus. Seneca became Nero’s tutor, and in 53 A.D. Nero married Claudius's daughter Octavia. In 54 A.D. Agrippina murdered Claudius by giving him a plate of poison mushrooms, and Nero became ruler at the age of seventeen. By 59 A.D. Nero was fed up with her schemes and ordered her death. This had been the first time and the last time that a woman had ruled Rome.

    Nero's Orgies, Gluttony and Lust Nero lavished himself in his own power, he used golden thread for his fishing nets, he never wore the same robe twice, he had his mules shod with silver. He was heavily into parties and practiced orgies and gluttony, and his dinners sometimes lasted twelve hours, from noon to midnight. He also murdered his 19-year-old wife so that he could marry his mistress, and then later he killed that mistress. Nero was always interested in the arts, and he was a huge admirer of all things Greek, and he deliberately wore a charioteer's hair style and wore Greek clothing which upset his people continually. Nero was far more interested in writing poetry, acting, dancing, and singing than he was in being emperor. He introduced Greek games and arts contests to the Romans, wrote poetry, played the lyre, and considered himself gifted in them all, including singing (Nero employed the famous lyre player Terpnus to give him lessons). In 64 A.D. at Neapolis Nero performed in a public theater for the first time. He liked to come there and sing for large crowds of people. The first time he appeared on a Roman stage was in 65 A.D. at the second performance of the Neronian Games. Nero was an avid performer but he also suffered from severe stage fright. He was fascinated by civil engineering and architecture. But his big mistakes were that he left his empire unattended, for example he never visited the legionary camps, and he scorned the Senate. When Nero learned of a senatorial conspiracy in 65 A.D. he had the organizers either killed or banished. Seneca, his own tutor, was among them. Whenever there was a hint of treason Nero ordered their execution or forced them to commit suicide. Nero apparently slept with beautiful young women and young boys including Britannicus, his brother. He supposedly also slept with his mother Agrippina and had many physical relationships with men older than himself, and with eunuchs. Nero, according to Dio Cassius, "fastened young boys and girls to stakes, and then, after putting on the hide of a wild beast, attacked them and satisfied his brutal lust under the appearance devouring parts of their bodies". Nero wanted to marry a freedwoman, Acte, but this would have been socially unacceptable for an emperor.

    Nero's Peaceful Order During the first five years of his rule, Nero allowed Seneca and Burrus to run things within the empire. This first five years of Nero's reign were known as the "quinquennium Neronis" which became a legend within the provinces for sound administration and peaceful order. The senate and the consul's powers seemed to get back their ancient functions. They enjoyed more security and initiative than they had known for many years. The coinage from 55 to 60 contained an inscription as a gesture pleasing to the senate. Nero governed wisely in these few years and maintained peaceful order. He prevented provincial governors and certain parties from extracting large sums from the local population to view the gladiatorial shows. He also took measures to improve public order. There were new laws against forgery and many reforms in the area of taxes and provincial administration. Nero made many promises to the senate concerning his plans for judicial fairness and these reforms also marked the beginning of his reign.

    Nero's Tutors, Seneca and Burrus Brief overview of Nero's tutors, Seneca and Burrus. It wasn't long before Agrippina promoted her son Nero in the imperial household. She had already arranged for him to have excellent instructors, the famous philosopher Seneca the Elder, and also the commander (Prefect) of the Praetorian Guard, Burrus.

    Nero’s Death Even though many revolts were breaking out throughout the empire, Nero did not seem to care. It was only a matter of time, his trusted bodyguards deserted him and he fled for his life. When he left Rome the Senate declared him a public enemy and ordered him arrested. Nero went into hiding and soon realized that there was no hope of escape and saw death as the only answer and cried out "Alas, What an Artist Is Dying in Me." He preferred suicide rather than the usual public flogging which was the standard punishments for any enemy of the state, and Nero said "how ugly and vulgar my life has become! This certainly is no credit to Nero." The Praetorian Guard came for him and he raised a knife to his throat and, according to Suetonius said these words "Hark to the sound I hear! It is hooves of galloping horses." And suddenly, with the help of his secretary Epaphroditus, he slit his own throat. He died in 68 A.D. and the empire was on the verge of Civil War. In fact the Jews in Judea had already begun a revolt.

    Nero’s Foolish Choices and Suicide Nero made a foolish mistake, he departed for Greece to tour the country and compete in the games. He made another foolish mistake by ordering his competent eastern general Corbulo and two popular governors of Germany to commit suicide. This Sparked much bitterness in Rome and among the praetorian guard. In the spring of 68 A.D., one of the Gallic governors, Caius Julius Vindex, marched an army against Nero in Spain, and Clodius Macer in Africa. Vindex and his army were put down by Verginius Rufus, the loyal governor of Germany, but the praetorian guard in Rome was loyal to Galba and on June 9, 68 A.D. Nero committed suicide. His last words were "Qualis artifex Pereo" which means "what an artist dies in me"? This has been the subject of much speculation.

    Sextus Afranius Burrus, Nero's Tutor Sextus Afranius Burrus was prefect of the praetorian guard during the reigns of Claudius and Nero. According to an inscription became from Gaul, and was recognized for his military leadership. He served as a Tribune, and then as a procurator and private bodyguard for the Empress Livia, and later for Tiberius and Claudius. It was through Claudius that Burrus met Agrippina The Younger, who found him to be useful and trustworthy, and in 51 A.D. she made him the sole prefect of the guard. Burrus returned the favor by supporting Nero over Claudius’ son Britannicus, and Claudius died in 54 A.D. Burrus presented Nero to the cohorts of the praetorians. Burrus also became an advisor to Nero along with Seneca, and together they managed to preserve the Empire from Nero's eccentricities and to break the hold that Nero's mother had on him. She convinced Claudius to adopt her son and in 50 A.D. Nero became the probable heir to the throne, even over Claudius's real son Britannicus. Seneca became Nero’s tutor, and in 53 A.D. Nero married Claudius's daughter Octavia. In 54 A.D. Agrippina murdered Claudius by giving him a plate of poison mushrooms, and Nero became ruler at the age of seventeen.

    Texts - Dio Cassius on Nero and the Great Fire 64 A.D. Dio Cassius (c.155-235 CE): Roman History, 62.16-18 Nero had the wish---or rather it had always been a fixed purpose of his---to make an end of the whole city in his lifetime. Priam he deemed wonderfully happy in that he had seen Troy perish at the same moment his authority over her ended. Accordingly, Nero sent out by different ways men feigning to be drunk, or engaged in some kind of mischief, and at first had a few fires kindled quietly and in different quarters; people, naturally, were thrown into extreme confusion, not being able to find either the cause of the trouble nor to end it; and meantime met with many strange sights and sounds. They ran about as if distracted, and some rushed one way, some another. In the midst of helping their neighbors, men would learn that their own homes were blazing. Others learned, for the first time, that their property was on fire, by being told it was burned down. People would run from their houses into the lanes, with a hope of helping from the outside, or again would rush into the houses from the streets seeming to imagine they could do something from the inside. The shouting and screaming of children, women, men, and gray beards mingled together unceasingly; and betwixt the combined smoke and shouting no one could make out anything. All this time many who were carrying away their own goods, and many more who were stealing what belonged to others kept encountering one another and falling over the merchandise. It was impossible to get anywhere; equally impossible to stand still. Men thrust, and were thrust back, upset others, and were upset themselves, many were suffocated or crushed; in short, no possible calamity at such a disaster failed to befall. This state of things lasted not one day, but several days and nights running. Many houses were destroyed through lack of defenders; and many were actually fired in more places by professed rescuers. For the soldiers (including the night watch) with a keen eye for plunder, instead of quenching the conflagration, kindled it the more. While similar scenes were taking place at various points, a sudden wind caught the fire and swept it over what remained. As a result nobody troubled longer about goods or homes, but all the survivors, from a place of safety, gazed on what appeared to be many islands and cities in flames. No longer was there any grief for private loss, public lamentation swallowed up this---as men reminded each other how once before the bulk of the city had been even thus laid desolate by the Gauls. While the whole people was in this state of excitement, and many driven mad by calamity were leaping into the blaze, Nero mounted upon the roof of the palace, where almost the whole conflagration was commanded by a sweeping glance, put on the professional harpist's garb, and sang "The Taking of Troy" (so he asserted), although to common minds, it seemed to be "The Taking of Rome." The disaster which the city then underwent, had no parallel save in the Gallic invasion. The whole Palatine hill, the theater of Taurus, and nearly two thirds of the rest of the city were burned. Countless persons perished. The populace invoked curses upon Nero without intermission, not uttering his name, but simply cursing "those who set the fire"; and this all the more because they were disturbed by the recollection of the oracle recited in Tiberius's time, to this effect, "After three times three hundred rolling years In civil strife Rome's Empire disappears." And when Nero to encourage them declared these verses were nowhere to be discovered, they changed and began to repeat another oracle---alleged to be a genuine one of the Sibyl, "When the matricide reigns in Rome, Then ends the race of Aeneas." And thus it actually turned out, whether this was really revealed in advance by some divination, or whether the populace now for the first time gave it the form of a sacred utterance merely adapted to the circumstances. For Nero was indeed the last of the Julian line, descended from Aeneas. Nero now began to collect vast sums both from individuals and nations, sometimes using downright compulsion, with the conflagration as his excuse, and sometimes obtaining funds by "voluntary" offers. As for the mass of the Romans they had the fund for their food supply withdrawn.

    Texts - Suetonius on Nero's Suicide Finally, when his companions unanimously insisted on his trying to escape from the miserable fate threatening him, he ordered them to dig a grave at once, and then collect any pieces of marble that they could find and fetch wood and water for the disposal of the corps. As they bustled about obediently he muttered through his tears: "Dead! And so great an artist!" A runner brought him a letter from Phaon. Nero tore it from the man's hands and read that, having been declared a public enemy by the Senate, he would be punished in 'ancient style' when arrested. He asked what 'ancient style' meant, and learned that the executioners stripped their victim naked, thrust his head into a wooden fork, and then flogged him to death with sticks. In terror he snatched up the two daggers which he brought along and tried their points; but threw them down again, protesting that the final hour had not yet come. Then he begged Sporus to weep and mourn for him, but also begged one of the other three to set him an example by committing suicide first. He kept moaning about his cowardice, and muttering: 'How ugly and vulgar my life has become!' And then in Greek: 'This certainly is no credit to Nero, no credit at all,' and: 'Come pull yourself together, man!' By this time a troop of cavalry who had orders to take him alive were coming up the road. Nero gasped: 'Hark to the sound I hear! It is hooves of galloping horses.' Then, with the help of his scribe, Epaphroditos, he stabbed himself in the throat and was already half dead when a cavalry officer entered, pretending to have rushed to his rescue, and staunched the wound with his cloak. Nero muttered: 'Too late! But, ah, what fidelity!' He died, with his eyes glazed and bulging from their sockets, a sight which horrified everybody present. He had made his companions promise, whatever happened, not to let his head be cut off, but to have him buried all in one piece. Galba's freedman Icelus, who had been imprisoned when the first news came of the revolt and was now at liberty again, granted this indulgence. They laid Nero on his pyre, dressed in gold-embroidered white robes which he had worn on 1 January. The funeral cost 2,000 gold pieces. Ecloge and Alexandria, his old nurses, helped Acte, his mistress, to carry the remains to the Pincian Hill, which can be seen form the Campus Martius. Suetonius: Nero, 49, 50 Note: Gaius Suetonius Tranquilla was a Roman historian under Hadrian (AD 76-138).

    Texts - Suetonius on the Christians "Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from the city [Rome]." Suetonius' Life of the Emperor Claudius, chapter 25 (excerpt) "During his reign many abuses were severely punished and put down, and no fewer new laws were made: a limit was set to expenditures; the public banquets were confined to a distribution of food, the sale of any kind of cooked viands in the taverns was forbidden, with the exception of pulse and vegetables, whereas before every sort of dainty was exposed for sale. Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition. He put an end to the diversions of the chariot drivers, who from immunity of long standing claimed the right of ranging at large and amusing themselves by cheating and robbing the people. The pantomimic actors and their partisans were banished from the city." - Suetonius' Life of the Emperor Nero, chapter 16 (excerpt). Note: Gaius Suetonius Tranquilla was a Roman historian under Hadrian (AD 76-138).

    Texts - Tacitus on the Emperor Nero From the Annals, Book XII (48-54 CE) A stepmother's treacherous schemes. From the Annals, Book XIV (59-62 CE) A long meditated crime. Book XV (62-65 CE) A disaster followed.

    The Christians and the Great Fire of Rome The Christian Scapegoats and the Great Fire of Rome. It wasn't long before Nero arrived to bring order to the chaos. A rumor had gone forth which accused Nero of starting the fire himself, and had even sang a song from his Palace tower as he watched the flames engulf the city. Nero had also planned in detail for the cities reconstruction but the rumors continued. Nero had to find a way to "suppress this rumor" according to Tacitus. Nero chose the new secret religious sect of the Christians as his scapegoats and punished them severely. They were arrested throughout the empire and "their deaths were made farcical." Nero took pleasure in the Christian persecutions and even offered many of them upon stakes to be burned to death as torches for his parties. According to history many of them were hunted down and tortured, some were sewn into skins of animals and fed to starving dogs while the mob cheered. Even the historian Tacitus, who did not like Christians, objected to the way Nero had made scapegoats of them. The persecution of the Christians under Nero revealed the growing resentment the people had toward the early church. It also revealed that 20 years after the reign of Claudius, the Christians in Rome had become recognized as a distinct group, separate from the Jews.

    The Great Fire of Rome Brief overview of the events surrounding the Great Fire of Rome. In a hot July summer of 64 A.D., a fire broke out near the Capena Gate (the marketplace near the Circus Maximus) and spread quickly across the entire Circus, and finally it was completely out of control, the fire destroyed nearly half of Rome. The Roman historian Tacitus records the event: "First, the fire swept violently over the level spaces. Then it climbed the hills-but returned to ravage the lower ground again. It outstripped every counter-measure. . . Terrified, shrieking women, helpless old and young, people intent on their own safety, people unselfishly supporting invalids or waiting for them, fugitives and lingerers alike--all heightened the confusion." As the fire blaze out of control some citizens tried every measure to put out the flames. It is told that the citizens were stopped. Also some of the mob lit torches and threw them into the flames to feed the fire. Tacitus make an interesting note about these arsonists who had claimed "they acted under orders. Perhaps they had ... or they may just have wanted to plunder unhampered." Nero heard the news from his Palace at Antium and rushed to Rome just in time to see the Palatine Palace in flames. His newly built mansion, the Domus Transitoria, was nothing but a pile of smoldering ashes. Nero immediately organized a team of firefighters and provided shelter for the panic stricken people who had been left homeless. The fire burned for nine days, leaving 10 out of its 14 regions in ruins, with the loss of many lives. Nero decided that he would place the blame on scapegoats, because there was a dangerous rumor that Nero himself had ordered the fire in order to vandalize the capital city, and to free up space for his new building plans. It is recorded that later he indeed take advantage of the situation and begin planning and building his Golden House. His scapegoats were none other than the Christians, who were already being accused in one way or another within Roman pagan society. This was officially the time that the active persecution of the Christian Church began. At some point soon after it became a crime to bear the name "Christian" and the suppression of the church became state policy. This persecution would last, off and on, for almost three centuries.

    The Jewish Rebels and the 12th Legion The Rebels. Herod Agrippa II sent 2000 riders to help out the Jewish leaders in the upper city from the rebels, the lower city was already under rebel control. When Herod's Calvary arrived they were driven out and the archives were set on fire. Apparently setting the archives on fire would encourage the common people to join in a rebellion. They also captured and set fire to the Antonia fortress. It wasn't long before all of Jerusalem was under rebel control. At the end of summer during this rebellion Cestius Gallus, the Syrian governor, dispatched the 12th Legion from Antioch to deal with the rebellion in Jerusalem. When they arrived the Jews, being outnumbered, somehow managed to overcome them and forced them to retreat. The Jews chased after them and slaughtered his entire rear guard, which consisted of about 400 men. It is interesting that at this time the Jews, feeling very triumphant, minted their own coins.

    The Jewish War As previously mentioned Nero did not seem to be very concerned about all the troubles there were happening within the empire, especially within the hot region of the province of Judea. Ever since the time of Tiberias, the Jews in israel had to deal with corrupted governors and they were losing patience. By 66 A.D. the Jews had began to rebel against Rome, in particular the Roman Procurator of Judea - Gessius Florus who’s wife Cleopatra had been a friend of Poppaea, Nero’s wife. A delegation of Jews protested against a pagan sacrifice that was set deliberately in front of a synagogue in Caesarea. Gessius Florus arrested them and later extracted money from the Temple treasury. He then ordered his troops to raid the markets in Jerusalem, and 3600 men, women and children were slaughtered. The Jews around Judea took up arms against the Romans, with the Zealots leading them. For the most part, the Jews and especially their leaders had wanted to maintain peace with the Romans, but the Zealots and the Sicarii (a group of secret assassins) took control of the revolt.

    Timeline of Events in the Life of Nero Timeline of Events from 37 AD to 80 AD.
    Dates In Nero’s Life
    37 December 15 Nero is born.
    39 Claudius marries fourteen year old Valeria Messalina.
    39 Messalina bears Claudius a daughter (Octavia).
    41 Messalina bears Claudius a son (Britannicus).
    41 Claudius is Emperor.
    48 Execution of Messalina.
    49 Claudius marries niece Agrippina the Younger, (daughter of Claudius's brother Germanicus).
    49 Seneca is appointed tutor to Nero.
    50 Claudius adopts Nero (then, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus) as his own son, February 25.
    50 The Senate votes Agrippina the title "Augusta."
    51 Claudius Consul.
    51 Emperor Claudius orders the exile of the Jews from Rome.
    53 Nero marries Octavia, Claudius' daughter.
    54 Claudius poisoned.
    54 Claudius dies (Agrippina probably had him poisoned)
    54 Nero becomes emperor at age 17. Seneca and Burrus are his tutors.
    55 Britannicus, the son of Emperor Claudius dies during dinner (Nero probably had him poisoned).
    58 Beginning of Roman-Parthian hostilities over Armenia.
    59 Agrippina the Younger is put to death for criticizing Nero’s mistress.
    59 Nero begins to get out of control.
    60 Paul the Apostle is in Rome
    60 Revolts break out in Britain against Roman rule.
    62 Burrus dies, and Seneca retires.
    62 Nero divorces Octavia (banishes her and later kills her)
    62 Nero marries his mistress Poppaea.
    64 The Great Fire of Rome
    64 First imperial 'persecution' of Christians;
    65 Work begins on Nero’s 'Golden House' (Domus Aurea)
    65 Nero's first public stage performance leads to scandals and plots on his life.
    65 In the interest of personal security, Nero kills anyone suspected of treason. 65 Seneca is forced to commit suicide.
    66 Nero continues to execute any suspected of treason.
    66 Outbreak of rebellion in Judea, the first Jewish revolt against Rome.
    66 Nero goes on an extended tour of Greece, many theatrical performances
    67 Nero makes Judea consular imperial province
    67 Nero appoints Vespasian to head campaign against Jews
    68 After receiving political pressure about military matters Nero returns to Rome.
    68 (March) Revolt of Vindex
    68 (April) Galba's troops in Spain hail Galba emperor.
    68 (June 9) Nero is forced to commit suicide (end of Julio-Claudian dynasty).
    68 The emperor Nero's assassination launches a year of civil war in Rome.
    69 Year of the four emperors: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.
    69 Vespasian is sole emperor until 79.
    70 Siege and fall of Jerusalem under military leadership of Vespasian's son, Titus.
    70 Coliseum begun by Emperor Vespasian (funded by Jewish defeat).
    77 Josephus publishes The War of the Jews
    80 The New Testament writings were completed by this time (Bible closed).
    80 The Early Church completed her work (foundation laid).
    Note: Paul, James and Peter were executed between 60-68 A.D.

    Timeline of the First Emperors of Rome Timeline of Rome's Emperors from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius.

    Trusting Under Persecution, A Heart Message Nero, A Heart Message. TRUSTING UNDER PERSECUTION. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. (Proverbs 29:2). Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14). From our vantage point in 21st century USA, the reign of Nero is a safe intellectual study on the consequences of a wicked and prideful ruler. But from the point of view of the average Christian living in Rome during this time period, Nero was an unpredictable despot who at any time might gather them up for a brutal punishment and savage entertainment in a Roman coliseum. It was a horrific time that required a deep faith in the Father who works all things for the good of those called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), and who hears the cry of the helpless and brings vengeance (Isaiah 35:4). Nero’s attempts to scapegoat Christianity for his own faults caused many followers of Jesus to hold up their heads, walking forward, leaving loved ones, possessions, and life itself behind. They became a spectacle to the watching Roman cosmopolitan world. Their trust in Christ, in the face of torture and death, planted the seeds of redemption deep into the earth, and generations who reaped the good fruit of their sacrifice are indebted to them. Still today, the voices of the martyrs from Sudan to China cry out to the throne room of the Almighty. Nero himself, who had much promise in the beginning, never acquired the taste for wisdom that his original counselors tried to inculcate. When left to his own devices he regressed into a beast like state and was swallowed by his own lusts. Still, God doesn’t rejoice at the death of the wicked (Ezek 33:11). Nero would have been wise if he could have found humility like that of King Nebuchadnezzar, another empire ruler who suffered from temporary insanity, but who finally turned to God and worshipped Him before the end of his life. "And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You done?" At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down." (Daniel 4:34,35)

    Why Did Nero Blame the Christians? Why the Christians? Christianity was a new religion and did not appear to be very threatening. The Christians refused to participate in pagan rituals and therefore those who practiced them found it very offensive, according to Tacitus. He describes the Christians as "depraved" and says that this religion is "deadly superstition", "mischief", and "shameful practices." Tacitus also indicted the Christians as "not so much for incendiarism as for their anti-social tendencies," and a hidden hatred for mankind, which was a label that had been originally put on the Jews. It is interesting that Tacitus was more than a historian, he was a member of the aristocracy and a friend of several emperors. Therefore his feelings toward the Christians may have reflected also among the aristocrats. Suetonius, a writer and government official, also indicted the Christians explaining that they were proponents of "a new and mischievous religious belief." Before Nero had began persecuting Christians, they were generally non-threatening to the peace of the empire. The main hostility have been brought about by Jewish leaders who had gone to Roman officials about the Christians.