Rome’s first imperial dynasty was founded by the heirs of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The imperial period ended with the suicide of the last ruler in 68 AD. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, better known as Nero, was the fifth emperor of Rome. For much of his reign, he was associated with consummate extravagance, bullying, immorality, and countless murders. It is said that the Roman citizens saw him as the Antichrist. Here are 10 interesting facts about Nero, the iconic and hated leader of Rome.

1 He Was 17 When He Became Emperor

In AD 54, Claudius was poisoned by his wife Agrippina. At this time, Nero was older than Britannicus, the legitimate son of Emperor Claudius. That is why he had every right to the imperial crown. When Claudius died, Britannicus was under 14 years old, so he was not of legal age to rule. Therefore, the throne was taken by his 17-year-old half-brother Nero. Britannic died suspiciously the day before his adult birthday after drinking wine prepared for him at a gala dinner. Thus, Nero and his mother took control of the world’s largest empire.

2. He killed his mother

Agrippina poisoned two of her husbands in order to gain notoriety. He didn’t want to give up the power he had over his son after so much effort. He is even depicted face to face with him on early coins. After a while, Nero got tired of his mother’s interference. With her influence over her son waning, Agrippina fought desperately to maintain control. She wanted to continue to interfere in her son’s decisions. When she finally objected to Nero’s relationship with Poppaea Sabina, the Emperor decided to kill his mother. He invited her to Bailly and put her on a boat. This boat was supposed to sink in the Gulf of Naples, but Agrippina managed to swim to shore. He was eventually killed in his home on the orders of Nero in 59 AD.

3. Both wives were persecuted by Nero

The marriage of Nero with Claudia Octavia, and then with Poppaea Sabina, ended in great tragedy. According to Tacitus, Claudia Octavia was perhaps the most suitable match for Nero. He described the young woman as “a noble and virtuous wife”. However, Nero quickly became bored with his wife and began to dislike the empress. After several attempts to strangle her, Nero divorced Octavia, claiming she was barren. Twelve days after the divorce, Poppea married Sabina.

The expulsion of the former empress by Nero and Poppaea provoked a reaction in Rome. This further angered the capricious Nero. The people wanted Octavia to become empress again. Nero then ordered the death of his ex-wife. After Octavia was beheaded, she was sent to Poppea.

Despite Nero’s eight-year marriage to Claudia Octavia, the Roman empress had no children. Therefore, when Nero’s mistress Poppea Sabina became pregnant, Nero took this as an opportunity to divorce his first wife and married Sabina. Sabina gave birth to Nero’s only daughter, Claudia Augusta, in 63 AD. Unfortunately, the child died after just four months.

Sabina was stronger and more ruthless than Nero’s first wife. She seemed like a good wife to the emperor. However, a deadly conflict soon broke out between them. They had a heated argument over the money Nero was spending on horse racing. After that, the cruel Emperor killed his new wife when she was pregnant with their second child. During one of their fights, he kicked her hard in the stomach. After this, Nero plunged into prolonged mourning and organized a state funeral for his murdered wife.

4. He was extremely popular in the early years of his reign.

Despite his bad reputation, Nero knew how to take steps that would please the Roman people. He cut taxes after several public musical performances. He quickly became the favorite of the crowd, even persuaded the Parthian king to attend a magnificent ceremony.

Nero was so popular that more than three decades after his death, three different impostors tried to garner support by imitating his appearance. One of them was so successful that it almost led to a civil war.

5. Accused of organizing a great fire in Rome.

The Great Fire of Rome took place on the night of July 18/19, AD 64. The fire started on the Aventine slope and devastated the city for more than six days. It is known that Nero was not in Rome at that time. Most modern writers blame Nero for the fire. Tacitus, who provides information about this event, is the only ancient source that says that Nero did not start the fire; but he also said he was “not sure”.

6 He Persecuted Christians

Nero wanted to divert attention after the big fire that destroyed the city. He believed that he could achieve this by pursuing people. He then ordered the Christians to be rounded up and killed. The Christian citizens whom he accused of setting the fire were mauled by dogs, and many were burned alive.

7. He built the “Golden Palace”.

Nero certainly benefited from the destruction of the city. So much so that he built a magnificent palace in one of the places devastated by fire. Later this palace became known as Domus Aurea or “Golden Palace”. It was said that at the entrance to the palace stood a 37-meter column and his own statue.

The construction of the palace was completed shortly before Nero’s death in 68 AD. In fact, the construction phase of such a large project took a very short time. Unfortunately, very few of this outstanding architectural achievement have survived to this day.

8. Castrate and marry a former slave

In AD 67, Nero ordered the castration of the former slave Spor. Then she married him. The famous historian Cassius Dio claims that Sporus married Nero because of his resemblance to his deceased wife.

Participant of the 9th Olympic Games in Rome.

After the death of his mother, Nero turned to artistic pursuits. He sang and performed to the accompaniment of the lyre at private events, then began performing in public to increase his popularity. He tried all kinds of roles and trained to be an athlete in folk dances that he organized every five years.

In the games, Nero rode in a chariot with ten horses. He also participated in competitions as an actor and singer. Even though his performance was bad, he still won because he was the emperor 😂 Then he held a parade in Rome with crowns won.

10. After his death, people were afraid that he would come back to life as the Antichrist.

MS vs Nero. The uprisings that began in 67 and 68 led to a series of civil wars that temporarily threatened the existence of the Roman Empire. The death of Nero marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which came to rule the Roman Empire under Augustus in 27 BC.

The turbulent period after his death initially made Nero bored. However, over time, they began to say about him that he was a crazy, cruel and heartless ruler. Nero aroused such fear among the people that a rumor spread among Christians: Nero did not die and would somehow return as the Antichrist.

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