Nero reigned as emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 AD He was the adopted son of the emperor
Cladius whom he succeeded. The wife of Claudius, and mother to Nero, Agrippinathe younger,
convinced Claudius to adopt Nero and then name him his heir. In 54 she murdered Claudius and
nero became the probable heir to the throne, even ahead of Claudius’s own legitimate son.
Since Nero was only an adolescent when he inherited the throne, the early part of his reign
was mainly directed by others. It is generally characterized that Nero’s first 5 years of service
was exemplary. He forbade capital punishment and events in the Circus Maximus that involved
bloodshed. He was able to reduce taxes, increase thei ndependence of the Roman Senate, and
was even able to give permission for slaves to bring complaints against their masters. In the early
part of his reign, Nero seemed to be pursuing the goal that his teacher thought impossible, that of
remaining innocent of all crime. during this period, the citizens of Rome was favoring Nero and
regarded him as a very able leader.
The emergence of brutality and evilness in Nero did not occur until around 59 A.D. up to
this point, nero was fairly well admired by the Roman people and was on the good side of the
Roman Senate. It was then believed that Nero had had a sexual relationship with his mother.
when Agrippina discovered another lover in her son’s life, Poppaea Sabina, she publicly
denounced Nero and stated that Britannicus, Nero’s half-brother, should take over the reins of
emperor. This enraged and disgraced Nero and he immediately ordered the murder of his mother.
Just three years later, Nero would order the murder of his first wife Octavia, Claudius’s daughter.
As time went on, Nero’s image slowly degraded and soon became viewed as a tyrant.
Nero then married his long time mistress, Poppaea Sabina, in 62 A.D. They bore a child,
however, he died only a few months later. In 64 the great fire in Rome left much of the city in
ruins. Nero was in Antium when the fire started at the Circus Maximus and the fire spread and
raged over Rome for the next nine days. There are still existing rumors that Nero started the fire
himself to in order to make room for a new city t be built in his honor. To many of the time,
Nero’s ambitious building campaign, especially the construction of the Domus Aurea, was an act
of privsate selfishness at a time when public reconstruction was most needed.
The Roman Senate soon became unimpressed with him and they turned against him.
Some of the senators banded together in 65 to form the Pisonian Conspiracy. They formed to
assasinate Nero and replace him with Gaius Calpurnius Piso. Luckily for Nero, the plan failed.
Nero’s religious ambitions and artistic ties alienated many of his followers including the
military and senators. Nero then ordered a popular and very successful general, Gnaeus Domitius
Corbula, to commit suicide. This act left other leaders in doubt about what Nero would do next.
This inclined them toward rebellion.
Nero left for Greece in 68 and spent an extensive period of time there partying and having
fun. Rome as a whole was tired of Nero, as he was more interested in his own life of pleasure
than in ruling one of the most powerful empires in history. The army became dissatisfied with his
lack of attention to the frontiers of the Empire. Later in 68 A.D. the Roman legions in Spain
proclaimed Galba, their commanding general, as the new people, The Praetorian Guard and
Senate accepted Galba and declared Nero enemy of the people. Rather than face a brutal
execution, nero committed suicide by stabbing himself. It is said that Nero shouted before he
died, “What an artist the world is losing!!!!”