54 - 68 A.D.
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
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Illustration of Nero

"The Monster"

Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. His mother Agrippina, sister of Caligula, married her uncle Claudius when Nero was 12 years old. Claudius adopted Nero and gave him his daughter Octavia to marry, and named him Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. In 54 AD Nero succeeded Claudius and was the last of the Julio Claudian line of emperors. He was only 16 years old. His tutor and prime minister was the stoic philosopher Seneca. Seneca and Agrippina struggled for control of Nero for several years. Seneca won Nero's favor by applauding his art and his taste for athletics and providing him mistresses. Nero began to hate his mother so much that he had her murdered in 59 AD. Seneca maintained control of the Empire with the help of Burrus, prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Later Seneca withdrew to private life but his rule was admired and referred to as the "golden quinquennium." Nero began to lose favor very fast, he divorced the respected Octavia and married his young mistress Poppaea. He exiled Octavia and later had her executed. In 64 AD the great fire of Rome broke out and Nero was blamed with the accusers saying he "fiddled while Rome burned. He turned the blame over to a near Jewish sect known as the "Christians" at the same time that he had his wife Poppaea murdered in a fit of rage. Later he was declared an outlaw by the senate, the Roman generals were conspiring against him, so Nero saw no escape and committed suicide on June 8th, 68 AD. His famous last words were, "What an artist dies in me." With Nero the family of Augustus and the Julio Claudian line came to an end.

Nero Roman Emperor

More to Come

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