Nero was the fifth emperor of Rome. Born Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus
Germanicus on December 15th, 37, at Antium. Nero was the son of the consul Gnaeus Domitius
Ahenobarbus who died about 40 and Agrippina the younger, great-granddaughter of Emperor
Augustus. On Claudius's death during the year 54, the Praetorian Guards, under their
prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus, Agrippina's agent, declared Nero emperor at the age of 17.
He went on marrying a woman named Octavia. The initial five years of Nero's reign, guided
by Burrus and the philosopher Seneca, Nero's tutor. In 59 he had his mother put to death
for her criticism of his mistress, Poppaea Sabina. In 62 he divorced and later executed
Octavia and married Poppaea. Burrus died, possibly poisoned, and Seneca retired. In July 64,
two-thirds of Rome burned while Nero was at Antium. According to some accounts, he laid the
blame on the Christians, a few at that time, and persecuted them. He sheltered the homeless,
however, and rebuilt the city with fire precautions. He also built himself a beautiful
Golden home, more of a palce though, it later on fell to ruins and became the site for the
Colosseum The building programs, like the spectacles and free grain he provided for the
populace, were financed by plundering Italy and the provinces. Viewing himself as an artist
and a religious visionary, he scandalized the army and aristocracy when he appeared
publicly as an actor in religious dramas. Meanwhile, the empire was in turmoil. Nero
established Armenia as a buffer state against Parthia, but only after a costly, unsuccessful
war. Revolts broke out in Britain between the year 60 and 61 and in Judea between 66 and 70.
Poppaea was kicked to death by Nero, and he married Statilia Messalina after executing her
husband. In 68 the Gallic and Spanish legions, along with the Praetorian Guards, rose
against him, and he fled Rome. Declared a public ennemy by the Senate, he committed suicide
on June 9th, 68, near Rome.