We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Nero?

Niki Acker
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Nero was the emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE. He has become notorious for his persecution of Christians in the Empire and for the rumor that he "fiddled" during the Great Fire of Rome. As with many of the Roman emperors, early historical sources are unreliable and it is difficult to separate fact from rumor. Though Nero's name became a byword for tyranny and decadence, his reign was also noted for diplomatic success and cultural growth.

Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on 15 December 37 in Antium. He was the nephew of the current emperor, Caligula. Lucius' father died when he was three years old and Caligula soon afterwards exiled Lucius' mother, Agrippina, and sent the child to be raised by an aunt.

Though Lucius was not looked upon as a possible heir to the Empire during his childhood, his luck changed after Caligula's death in 41. Claudius, who succeeded the throne, adopted Lucius in 50 and changed his name to Nero. Older than Claudius' only natural son, the boy was proclaimed an adult and appointed to the Senate the following year and began to be groomed for the throne. At the age of 16, he became the youngest ever Roman emperor following the death of Claudius. During his early reign, he was heavily under the influence of his mother Agrippina, his tutor Seneca the Younger, and the Praetorian Prefect Burrus.

Beginning in 55, Nero consolidated his power through increasingly ruthless measures. He executed his mother in 59, and Burrus died in 62, some speculate from poisoning. Seneca was charged with embezzlement and retired from public life.

In 62, Nero also divorced and exiled his wife, Octavia, and married again, to Poppea Sabina, who was already carrying his child. Octavia returned to Rome later in the year, but was executed shortly thereafter. Nero executed a string of his rivals and detractors over the following year and began slowly restricting the power of the Senate.

The political highlight of Nero's career was the Roman-Parthian War of 58-63. The war erupted over the contested area of Armenia, a Roman vassal kingdom that overthrew their Roman prince for a Parthian one in 55. Nero was successful both in quashing the initial Parthian invasion in 58 and in negotiating peace in 63. According to the peace agreement, a Parthian prince would hold the Armenian throne, but he must be approved by the Roman government. The peace between Rome and Parthia under these terms continued for 50 years.

Nero's administrative policies made him popular among the poor, but disliked by Senators, nobility, and the upper class. He lowered taxes for the poor; placed limits on fines and lawyers' fees; invested in a great deal of public construction, particularly after the Great Fire of 64; and vetoed laws restricting the rights of freedmen and slaves. Government officials were frequently impeached and removed from office following corruption charges during Nero's reign. The emperor was also known for his love of public theatre and sporting events, another quality that appealed to the poor. In addition to staging many public entertainments, Nero often performed in them as a singer, actor, and charioteer.

Though Nero is remembered for "fiddling while Rome burned" in July of 64, he responded to the aftermath of the Great Fire with relief efforts and reconstruction of the city. No one knows what caused the fire, and Nero was originally a scapegoat. However, he soon found a new scapegoat for the tragedy: the Christians, at that time a small and unpopular religious sect in Rome.

Under Nero, Christians underwent widespread and brutal public torture. THe emperor went down as the first persecutor of Christians, which contributed to his reputation as a ruthless tyrant in later centuries. Christian legend also holds that he was responsible for the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, two of the most important figures in early Christianity. Some early Christians, as well as some modern biblical scholars, believed that Nero was the Antichrist described in the Book of Revelation.

Nero's reign came to an end in 68 as a result of the rebellion of governors of Roman provinces against his tax policies. He had been heavily taxing the provinces to pay for his construction projects, which some considered extravagant. Nero was declared a public enemy in 68 and Galba, a governor in Hispania, was declared Emperor.

The praetorian prefect, another aspirant to the throne, bribed the Praetorian Guard, the Emperor's personal guards, to betray Nero. Instead of fleeing, Nero committed suicide shortly before his capture. His reign was followed by civil war and political chaos.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a PublicPeople editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon164207 — On Mar 30, 2011

"CE" means Christian Era (a.k.a. Common Era). This is during the time when Jesus was alive.

By ShadowGenius — On Jan 29, 2011

This reign marks the turning point and the beginning of a downward spiral in Roman hegemony in the world. After this man's reign, leaders became more and more unreliable, and rebellions occurred all over the empire. It seems that the Roman empire had accomplished its goal: spreading new ideas. Now, perhaps, it had served its purpose.

By BioNerd — On Jan 27, 2011


Nero was not "the" Antichrist, but I think he was "a" Antichrist. The term refers to any forces which go against the redemptive and forgiving power of Christ as an ambassador of peace and God's will. Rulers such as this tend to brutally torture and murder Christians. His reign of terror ultimately served to increase Christian martyrdom, and thereby, to make it ever more popular.

By BostonIrish — On Jan 25, 2011

Nero was a result of extensive inbreeding. His family was all royalty descended from the Caesars, and he had a double portion of their qualities. They rose to the top by brutality and smart double-dealing. They also all had some serious psychological and sexual issues. Nero was the culmination of a lot of these problems, living in a brutal society which was losing its inherent brutality to new redemptive religions. His reaction to this changing of the times was typical of what Christians would consider to be behavior befitting the Antichrist.

By cainan3 — On Jun 05, 2009

What does "CE" mean as connected with the date of Nero's reign as emperor? I always thought the dates before Christ was born were BC and after His birth it is AD. When did they take Christ out of the picture since He is the Maker and sustainer of life and His time on earth as Savior marked the offer of eternal life for us all?

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a PublicPeople editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of...
Learn more
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.