nero


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Nero \Ne"ro\ (n[=e]"r[-o]), prop. n.
   A Roman emperor notorious for debauchery and barbarous
   cruelty; hence, any profligate and cruel ruler or merciless
   tyrant. -- Ne*ro"ni*an (n[-e]*r[=o]"n[i^]*an), a.
   [1913 Webster] Nero (originally Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus,
   later Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus). Born at
   Antium, Italy, Dec. 15, 37 a. d.: committed suicide near
   Rome, June 9, 68. Roman emperor 54-68, son of Domitius
   Ahenobarbus and Agrippina (daughter of Germanicus).
   He was adopted by his stepfather, the emperor Claudius, in
   50, and in 53 married Octavia, the daughter of Claudius by
   Messalina. In 54 Claudius was poisoned by Agrippina, who
   caused her son to be proclaimed to the exclusion of
   Britannicus, the son of Claudius. His former tutors, the
   philosopher Seneca and Burrus, commander of the pretorian
   guards, were placed at the head of the government, and the
   early years of his reign were marked, on the whole, by
   clemency and justice. He caused his rival Britannicus to be
   removed by poison in 55. In 59 he procured the assassination
   of his mother, of whose control he had become impatient.
   Burrus died in 62, whereupon Seneca retired from public life.
   Freed from the restraint of his former advisers, he gave free
   rein to a naturally tyrannical and cruel disposition. He
   divorced Octavia in order to marry Poppaea, and shortly
   afterward put Octavia to death (62). Poppaea ultimately died
   from the effects of a kick administered by her brutal
   husband. Having been accused of kindling the fire which in 64
   destroyed a large part of Rome, he sought to divert attention
   from himself by ordering a persecution of the Christians,
   whom he accused of having caused the Conflagration. He put
   Seneca to death in 65, and 66-68 visited Greece, where he
   competed for the prizes as a musician and charioteer in the
   religious festivals. He was overthrown by a revolt under
   Galba, and stabbed himself to death with the assistance of
   his secretary.
   But the imperial Reign of Terror was limited to a
   comparatively small number of families in Rome. The provinces
   ware undoubtedly better governed than in the later days of
   the Republic, and even in Rome itself the common people
   strewed flowers on the grave of Nero.
   --Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, I. 6.
   [Century Dict. 1906]
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