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Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus[1] (15 December 37 – 9 June 68),[2] born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, and commonly known as Nero, was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68. He was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor. He succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death.

During his reign, Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade, and increasing the cultural capital of the empire. He ordered the building of theaters and promoted athletic games. His reign included a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire, the suppression of a revolt in Britain, and the beginning of the First Roman–Jewish War.

In 64, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome. In 68, the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul and later the acclamation of Galba in Hispania drove Nero from the throne. Facing assassination, he committed suicide on 9 June 68.[3]

Nero's rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance.[4] He is known for a number of executions, including those of his mother[5] and stepbrother.

He is also infamously known as the emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned",[6] and as an early persecutor of Christians. This view is based upon the main surviving sources for Nero's reign - Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio. Few surviving sources paint Nero in a favorable light.[7] Some sources, though, including some mentioned above, portray him as an emperor who was popular with the common Roman people, especially in the East.[8]

The study of Nero is problematic as some modern historians question the reliability of ancient sources when reporting on Nero's tyrannical acts.[9]


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