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Obverse of Nero Gold Aureus


Reverse of Nero Gold Aureus

AD 54 - 68
Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus
Nero was born at Antium in 37 AD to Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina Junior. He was originally called Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. The Emperor Claudius married Agrippina, Nero's mother. Agrippina persuaded Claudius to adopt her son in AD50, when he was also created Caesar, and took the name Claudius. When Claudius died by poisoning in 54 A.D., Nero became Augustus at the age of 17; it is believed that the poison was administered at the instigation of Agrippina.
At first, influenced by his tutors Seneca and Burrhus, he appeared to govern well, and was involved in fine arts, poetry, and above all, music. After the first year, he dropped what has been described as a mask of virtue, and his name eventually became a byword for extravagance and extreme behaviour, and was not only reputed to have fiddled while Rome burned, but is thought by many to have started the great fire which destroyed half the city in 64 A.D., and then shifted the blame onto the christians, thus starting the first persecution. He put to death a great number of people, including his step-brother Britannicus, his mother Agrippina, his aunt Domitia, his divorced first wife Octavia, , his sister-in-law Claudia, his tutors Seneca and Burrhus, his general Corbulo, his second wife Poppaea.
After the fire, he built an enormous palace known as the "Domus Aurea" (Golden House), the site of which covered an incredible area, approaching half the size of the entire City, parts of which are still being excavated.
Gaul and Spain rebelled in AD 68, and Galba was proclaimed Emperor, the elections being confirmed by the Senate, who declared Nero to be an enemy of the Republic. Abandoned and loathed by all, he committed suicide in 68 A.D., by plunging a dagger into his own throat. His death was celebrated by all.

Roman Emperors Portrait Gallery
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