Nero

Reece Period attributed: Period 3

Obverse image of a coin of Nero

Member of the Julio-Claudians dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 54 until 68.

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (December 15, 37 - June 9, 68), born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, also called Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, was the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (54 - 68). Nero became heir to the then emperor, his grand-uncle and adoptive father Claudius. As Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus, he succeeded to the throne on October 13, 54 following Claudius' death. In 66, he added the title imperator to his name. In 68, Nero was deposed. His subsequent death was reportedly the result of suicide assisted by his scribe Epaphroditos motivated by the threat of execution.

Popular legend remembers Nero as a playboy engaged in petty amusements while neglecting the problems of the Roman city and empire, the emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned".

These assumptions of his behavior are based entirely on hostile sources; namely Suetonius, Dio Cassius and Tacitus. Nero's life was documented almost entirely by his primary rivals - the senatorial class who were pro-Flavian.

The changing face of Nero

A composite image showing the changing profile of Nero. A further rendering of this change in a video from the British Museum.

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Record: SUSS-99165E
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: An incomplete copper-alloy Roman coin, pro…
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Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
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Record: SWYOR-FF3E2C
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper alloy Roman coin; an As of Nero (…
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Record: SUR-9681DE
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper alloy as of Nero (AD 54-68), dati…
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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Nero
  • Full names:
    • Nero
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire, Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Claudius
  • Successor: Galba
  • Definition: Nero ( NEER-oh; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was Roman emperor from 54 to 68, the last ruler of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, he was the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, the sister of Emperor Caligula. Nero's father died in 40, and his uncle was murdered in 41. Nero's great-uncle Claudius then ascended the throne. Agrippina married Claudius, who adopted Nero as his heir. Nero succeeded Claudius upon the latter's death in 54. During the early years of his reign, Nero was content to be guided by his mother Agrippina, his tutor Seneca, and his Praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus. Agrippina dominated Nero's early life and decisions until he cast her off and had her killed five years into his reign. As time passed, he began to play a more active and independent role in government and foreign policy. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire. His general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a major revolt in Britain, led by the Iceni Queen Boudica. The Bosporan Kingdom was briefly annexed to the empire, and the First Jewish–Roman War began. Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy and trade, as well as the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games. He made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician, and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. His extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes that was much resented by the upper classes. In contrast, his populist style of rule remained well-admired among the lower classes of Rome and the provinces until his death and beyond. Various plots against his life were revealed, the leaders of which—most of them Nero's own courtiers—who would be executed (at least until his final demise). In AD 68 Vindex, governor of the Gaulish territory Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled, with support from Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Vindex's revolt failed in its immediate aim, though Nero fled Rome when its discontented civil and military authorities chose Galba as emperor. On 9 June in AD 68, he committed suicide, becoming the first Roman Emperor to do so, after learning that he had been tried in absentia and condemned to death as a public enemy. His death ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Nero's rule is usually associated with tyranny and extravagance. Most Roman sources, including Suetonius and Cassius Dio, offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign; likewise, Tacitus claims that the Roman people thought him compulsive and corrupt. Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. According to Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive, seemingly motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty. Some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts, however. A few sources paint Nero in a more favorable light. There is evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners, especially in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as "Nero reborn" to enlist popular support.
  • Parents:
  • Birth place: Anzio, Roman Italy
  • Death place:
  • Spouse:
    • Other title(s):
      • Julio-Claudian dynasty
      • List of Roman emperors
      • Consul of the Roman Empire
      • Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
    • Came After:
      • Bellicia gens
      • and Marcus Manilius Vopiscus
      • Gaius Velleius Paterculus (consul 60)
      • Cestia (gens)
      • and Publius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus
      • Gaius Fonteius Agrippa
    • Came before:
      • Silius Italicus
      • Marcus Aefulanus
      • Titus Sextius Africanus
      • Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus
      • and ignotus
      • Lucius Duvius Avitus, and
      • and Marcus Ostorius Scapula
      • and Publius Galerius Trachalus
      • Claudius
    • Subjects on wikipedia:

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