Nero (Roman Emperor)

Emperor Nero, Lucius Domitius, Roman emperor, , born at Antium, Dec. 15, 37 A.D. ; committed suicide on June 9, 68 A. D.

Nero's mother married married Emperor Claudius, who adopted him, and his name was changed to Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus.

Subsequently Emperor Nero married Octavia, daughter of Emperor Claudius. The emperor abandoned Emperor Nero's mother, but the latter succeeded in removing him by poison, and in 54 Nero was confirmed as emperor by the senate and the provinces. Brittanicus, son of Claudius, was the rightful heir to the Roman throne, but Emperor Nero had him removed in the year 55 by poison, when the youth was fourteen years of age. This course he sought to justify by charging that he might become a dangerous rival.

Emperor Nero's mother at first exercised marked influence over his administration, but in 59 he caused her to be assassinated to please Poppaea Sabina, and, after divorcing and murdering his wife, he married Poppaea Sabina.

While his private life was a disgrace from the first, public affairs were conducted with considerable vigor under the assistance of Seneca and Burrus, but in 64 a large part of Rome was destroyed by fire. This catastrophe laid waste two-thirds of the great city, Many writers have attributed the cause of the loss to Emperor Nero himself, but that sovereign charged the destruction to Christians and caused many of them to be tortured and killed.

Immediately after the burning of Rome Emperor Nero began to rebuild the city, devising for that purpose a vast system of public taxation. He caused the construction of a magnificent palace on Palatine Hill, which, from its beautiful ornamentation in gold, became known as the Golden House. In 65 a conspiracy was formed against him, but it was discovered before being carried out and resulted in the execution of Seneca and the poet Lucan. Shortly after he murdered his wife, Poppaea, put Antonia, daughter of Claudius, to death for refusing to marry him, and subsequently married Statilia Messalina, after causing the death of her husband.

Emperor Nero had many accomplishments as a philosopher, poet, musician, and charioteer. By his skill in charioteering he gained applause in Italy, Greece, and the Spanish countries.

The Gaelic and Spanish regions undertook to dispossess him in 68, and in the same year Galba caused the Praetorian guards to declare in his favor and against Emperor Nero. The senate at once proclaimed Emperor Nero an enemy to his country, and, to escape arrest, he committed suicide by stabbing himself, being at that time 31 years of age and having reigned 14 years. A revolt broke out soon after in Judaea, which was suppressed by Vespasian and ended in the conquest of Jerusalem.

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