Nero

He was the 5th emperor of Rome, and ruled A.D. 54-68. Although he is not mentioned by name in the Bible, he did reign during the events of the Apostles that are chronicled in the Book of Acts.

Some scriptures in Acts (25:11-12; 26:32), and Philippians (4:22), may be referring to Nero. When Claudius died in October 54, Nero became the emperor of Rome at age 16. Nero's father died at an early age and his mother, Agrippina, later married Claudius, who in turn adopted Nero as his own son. Thus, Nero became emperor, as the adopted son of the previous emperor, Claudius. Even so, Claudius had a younger natural born son, Britannicus.

It is believed Nero's mother helped him rule Rome for about the first year, but her power soon waned. In the same year Britannicus died at a dinner party in the palace, and it was said that he had been murdered by Nero. This was never proven. Nero dressed in Greek garb, wrote poetry, and was somewhat liberal in his politics. When his mother started talking against him, he had her murdered in A.D. 59.

Nero divorced his wife Octavia, who was exiled and put to death in A.D. 62. He then married Poppaea Sabina.

Nero was into the arts, (painting, sculpture, poetry) and even appeared on stage.

The great fire of Rome took place in A.D. 64. Although Nero was accused of setting the fire to divert attention from himself, and for annexing some property he wanted to build his Golden House, it was never proven.

It was said he sang a poem he had wrote, "The Sack of Troy," while enjoying the fire, and did not fiddle as convention has it. The Christian community was made the scapegoats for the fire, and many of them lost their lives. It is possible the apostles, Peter and Paul were among them.

During the following years there were many executions, suicides and banishments of politicians and influential people. In march of 68 a rebellion rose against Nero. When Nero heard that the senate, too, had turned against him and condemned him to be flogged to death, he decided to commit suicide on June 9th. His final words were "What a showman the world is losing in me."

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