“Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories!”
“Rome burning was an inside job”
“All those who've had enough of his stupid fucking poetry say "aye"”
“Smells like something's burning. Oh well. Time for fiddle practice!”
Nero, Son of Zero (full name and titles Imperator Caesar Maximus Naughtius Pretentious Stroppius Homosexius Nero Augustus) was an Emperor of the Roman Empire and history's first Emo. His reign notable for explosive violence, homoeroticism and bad acting, which has lead to Simon Schama summing up Nero's rule as "the empire's Rambo-film period". He also embarked on an extensive and extremely-tasteless building programme which the ravages of time have spared our modern eyes.
Nero was selected as heir to the
office of First Citizen of the Republic monarchy during the reign of Emperor Claudius (aka M.C. Clau-Clau-Claudius) which Nero didn't really want. What he really wanted to do was write poetry about how no one understood him and how the Praetorian Captain was always making him tidy his room. After Claudius' poisoning tragic death his mother ensured that she would co-rule with her son. She also employed a philosopher, Seneca, to tutor her son in the ways of statecraft. Seneca famously recommended Nero rule "with clemency" but Nero didn't know what clemency meant (literally) and he found this so frustrating that he had several equestrians executed to take his mind off it. Nero's mother was also constantly nagging at him. "It really is too much", the Emperor is said to have confided to his best friends one evening whilst in his cups "On and on that woman goes - "Nero, we need to secure the border in Britannia, Nero you need to deal with this deficit in the treasury". When I say I'd rather play my harp and write a ten-act play about my favourite sandals she goes off the boil! So unfair!". Nero eventually decided he'd had enough and made several attempts on his mother's life, including sailing her away in a collapsable boat and trying to drop a roof on her head. After the failure of these excellently slapstick methods he succeeded in bumping her off by handing her a round black bomb with a sparkling fuse which exploded before she knew what it was. Now he was free to order around all those people who had made his life a misery in his way. All would bow down! NERO WAS EVIL! EVIL, I TELL YOU!!!!
The Great Fire of Rome
Early in Nero's reign, Rome was largely-destroyed in a huge blaze which ravaged the city centre. Nero made sincere attempts to extinguish the fire by arranging a huge pan-city play to be performed entitled Woe Is Rome! in which actors threw buckets of water on the fire whilst pontificating on the sheer unfairness of it all.
Despite this, many at the time thought Nero had started the fire himself in order to facilitate his subsequent building-programme and justify his persecution of Christians and even that he'd stood on the balcony of the Imperial Palace playing a flying-v guitar.
Conspiracy nuts said: "Roma Burning was an Inside Job" and formed a movement called the "Great Fire Truth Movement". This belief has been traced to a pamphlet entitled Laxa Denari: The Real Story Of The Great Fire written by the seventeen-year-old Christian activist Spodicus Nerdius Maximus.
Nero was quick to act after the destruction of much of the city. Nero had noticed the popularity of excessive gold jewelery or "bling" amongst the senatorial class and decided that, as their emperor, he should outdo all of them. He therefore proposed to the senate the building of a huge palace build entirely out of gold. It would have gold toilets, gold baths, sparkly-diamond windows and be set amid splendid gardens filled with exotic plants and animals from the farthest corners of the Empire. Oh, and he also wanted a statue of himself on the front lawn with a grossly overproportioned penis that reached down to below its knees. Can you guess what he wanted it made out of? (clue: not tin). Because of its clublike cock, the statue gained the nickname "Collossus".
Roman society was outraged. The popular theatre production How Tasteless Is Your House? with Colinus and Justinian saw the titular pair pour bitchy scorn on Nero's "ugly yellow brick" to considerable applause from the mob. "Let us pull the club from his Collossus and bash his brains in with it!" became a popular cry around Rome and the Praetorians warned Nero that his extravegance could forment a popular revolt against him. Nero was furious. This was typical of the Roman people - he tried to do something nice for them and they hated him for it! So unfair! After he was persuaded out of sulking in his golden sulk-room his mentor, Seneca, advised him to make a sacrifice to the gods that he might win their favour. Nero thought this was a splendid idea and arranged for the sacrifice of several senators who not only had been conveniently found guilty of treason but were also fabulously wealthy.
Fall from Power
After far too many years of terrible plays, bad emo poetry and general neglect of affairs of state the Roman senate voted Nero out of power declaring him "an enemy of the state" and "a quite appalling harp-player". They put a price of 1,000,000 sestercii on the ex-emperor's head which the commanders of several legions were greedy to collect. Instead of allowing himself to be killed by angry, sweaty soldiers Nero stabbed himself to death in a tent somewhere. His last words were supposed to be "What an artist dies in me" but he corpsed (hilarious pun).
Unfortunately, as Rome suddenly realised, there were no members of the Julio-Claudian line left to replace him and therefore no natural successor; and you know what that meant don't you? Oh yes, it was
party civil war time!!
Nero invented the Chicken Caesar Salad. The variation eaten today varies slightly from Nero's, however, because it doesn't contain a deadly poison. He is also known for his poetry: for instance, the epitaph he wrote for himself toward the end of his political career...
- Here lie the remains of great Nero,
- Exemplary scion of Zero.
- A ruler illustrious,
- And a poet industrious.
- A classical tragical hero.
Nero's other works have not been preserved, and so we can only conclude that they were a (as they said in Latin) a pile of old Capulus.
Today, Nero is in the darkest pits of hell, burning and burning and reliving the fire of Rome...while we all string our lyres above him singing in Latin.
A great deal of fighting
- Spodicus and his friends were said to have hung around outside the senate house telling people they had collected "more and more evidence that the Great Fire of Rome was an inside job!", "more and more evidence" being the aforementioned pamphlet.
- Translated from the Latin:
- Hic restibus Neronicus
- Augustus Ahenobarbus.
- Et dona ferentes.
- Et timeo danaos.
- Hic Rhodus, hic salta.