• Erika 

Today we learned about Nero. In researching him, I realized that in order to understand Nero, we would have to backtrack and also study his mother, Agrippina the Younger, who was a sister of Caligula.

37 AD – 68 AD

  • Given name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
  • Son of Agrippina the Younger, sister of Caligula

Agrippina the Younger
15 AD – 59 AD

  • When Nero 2 she was exiled for the part she played in a conspiracy against Caligula.
  • Returned several years later when Nero was 4.
  • After poisoning her second husband she married her uncle, the Emperor Claudius and had him adopt Nero and place him as heir to the throne (ahead of his own son.)
  • She arranged the marriage of Octavia, daughter of Claudius, and Nero
  • Generally suspected of killing Claudius (poisoned mushrooms and a feather dipped in poison.)


  • Became Emperor at 17, with Agrippina as his regent for the first few years of his reign

Did Some Good

  • Ordered the end of secret trials
  • Accorded more independence to the Senate
  • Forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed
  • Reduced taxed
  • Allowed permission for slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust masters
  • Inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theater, and in athletics as alternatives to the gladiator combats

Realized He Could Do Whatever He Wanted – He Was the Emperor

  • Poisoned Brittanicus so he couldn’t become more powerful or popular
  • He fell in love with Poppaea (married)
  • Attempted to kill his mother – rigged her boat so that it sank while sailing across the bay after a party. She had her maid pretend to be her, and was rescued by a fishing ship. Was later stabbed in her villa – Nero claimed she was guilty of treason and her death was a matter of public safety
  • Had Octavia exiled and eventually killed
  • Regularly performed on stage (beneath his position as Emperor) even as a slave and a pregnant woman
  • Had political and personal rivals killed

Great Fire of Rome

  • Could not have started the great fire (64AD – burnt for 10 days and destroyed 75% of the city) but took advantage of its destruction to build an enormous palace, the Golden House, patterned after Greek design, and a 100 ft tall statue of himself. It would have covered ⅓ of Rome.
  • Played lyre while Rome burned??
  • Blamed Christians for the fire, which started persecution and torture. Responsible for the death of Peter.

Sentenced to Death

  • Was declared a public enemy and sentenced to death on the cross.
  • Tried to flee, couldn’t, took his own life.

Check Out Who We Learned About Last Week



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