Timeline Description: Nero (37 - 68 CE) was a Roman emperor who gained the throne through the machinations of his mother. As a ruler he began a program of reforms, but his personal life overshadowed his political decisions and ultimately turned him into a tyrant. H spent extravagant sums of money and ordered the execution of opponents and Christians. He famously "fiddled while Rome burned." The Roman Empire finally revolted in 68 and he committed suicide as a result.
|37||Nero is born.(December 15, 37 CE)
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, later known as Nero, is born on December 15, 37 CE in the Roman Empire. His parents are Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina, the great-granddaughter of Emperor Augustus and sister of Emperor Caligula. As a young boy, Nero studies Greek, philosophy, and rhetoric under the philosopher Seneca.
|50||Claudius names Nero his successor.
Ahenobarbus dies in 48, probably due to the plotting of Agrippina. She marries the emperor Claudius, who also happens to be her uncle. She convinces Claudius to name Nero his successor over his own son, Britannicus, in 50.
|53||Nero marries Octavia.
Thanks to Agrippina's persuasion, Claudius offers his daughter Octavia to Nero as a wife. They marry in 53, soon after Nero is proclaimed a proconsul of the Senate.
|54||Nero becomes emperor of Rome.
In 54, Claudius dies, most likely because Agrippina kills him with poisoned mushrooms. Nero delivers a eulogy for his stepfather in the Senate and is named emperor of Rome, taking the name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. He is 17 years old, and he begins a generous and reasonable program of reforms, lowering taxes and allowing slaves to complain against their masters.
|55||Nero defies his mother to begin an affair with Claudia Acte.
Now that he is emperor, Nero refuses to listen to his mother's advice in both his political and private life. Against her wishes, he begins an affair with Claudia Acte, a former slave, and threatens to divorce Octavia. While he does not follow through with the divorce, he lives openly with Acte, much to his mother's dismay.
|55||Britannicus dies(February 12, 55).
Upset over Nero's personal and political decisions, Agrippina she angrily begins supporting Britannicus, Claudius' son. The day before he attains adulthood, Britannicus dies, and most assume Nero is to blame. When Agrippina tries to sway Rome against her son, Nero banishes her from the palace.
|58||Nero pursues Poppaea Sabina.
Tired of Acte, Nero decides to pursue Poppaea Sabina, a noblewoman married to a member of the Roman aristocracy, in 58. His mother still opposes the idea of divorce, which is frowned upon in Roman society, so he cannot marry Poppaea.
|59||Nero orders the death of Agrippina.
With Agrippina's refusal to countenance divorce, Nero reaches his limit. He is no longer willing to put up with his mother's interference, and he is not content to remove her from the palace. In 59 he orders his mother to be murdered.
|59||Nero begins to rule as a tyrant.
After Agrippina's murder, Nero turns away from his reasonable program of government and begins to rule as a tyrant in 59. He spends extravagantly and begins to give public performances as a poet and lyre player, although as a member of the ruling class, he is not supposed to do so.
|62||Nero marries Poppaea.
Two of Nero's closest advisors depart from the public eye in 62: Burrus dies, and Seneca retires in the same year. Finally free of their censorship, Nero divorces Octavia on grounds of infertility and later has her murdered. He finally gets his wish and marries Poppaea, who is pregnant. She later dies in 65, before giving birth to his second child.
|62||Detractors accuse Nero and the Senate of treason.
As Nero descends further into tyranny and self-indulgence, detractors begin to accuse him and the Senate of treason. Nero responds by executing or exiling his rivals and anyone who says anything remotely negative about him, thus allowing him to consolidate his power in the next few years.
|64||The Great Fire destroys 75% of Rome.
A fire begins in stores in the Circus Maximus and rages for 10 days in 64 CE, ultimately destroying 75% of Rome. Many Romans argue that Nero must have started the fire to clear space for his villa, the Domus Aurea. Nero, by contrast, blames the Christians, and he undertakes a ruthless program of persecution against the new religious group.
|65||The Pisonian conspiracy is discovered.
Hoping to raise funds to finance the construction of the Domus Aurea, Nero sells positions in public office, increases taxes, and steals money from temples. He allows property to be confiscated in cases of treason. His policies provide the funds he needs, but convince his former supporters and politicians to form a plot to assassinate him. Originated by Gaius Calpurnius Piso, the Pisonian conspiracy is discovered in 65, and the leading conspirators are executed.
|68||Governor Gaius Julius Vindex rebels against Nero's tax policies(March 68).
Frustrated by Nero's continued corruption, governor Gaius Julius Vindex rebels against the emperor's tax policies in March 68. He convinces the governor Servius Sulpicius Galba to join his rebellion and to declare himself emperor. Nero declares Galba a public enemy, but public support for the rebellion increases, and Nero's bodyguards defect to support Galba.
|68||Nero commits suicide(June 9, 68).
With support for Galba growing, Nero attempts to flee to loyal provinces, but he is forced to return to his palace. When he hears that the Senate has condemned him to death by beating, he decides to commit suicide. However, he requires his secretary, Epaphroditos, to help him. He dies on June 9, 68, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors.