Ardet Roma. 2.3 Internal. 12LSO

The Great fire of Rome was a devastating fire that began on the night, between the 18th and 19th of July in 64 AD. The fire lasted for 6 days and died down but reignited again for 3 days. This event is significant to the classical world, as 3 districts were entirely destroyed, 7 suffered serious damage and only 4 districts survived, only after 10 years since Nero became Emperor of Rome. At least two thirds of the city was ruined. Following the fire, a rebuilding programme was led by Nero, such as the building of the Domus Aurea. This was completed but did not get much attention from the Romans. This allows us to have a better understanding of Roman life and the society. It is still unknown today, of what truly caused the fire and who caused it. Many various ideas from classical and modern historians are suggested. However, many questions about this event vary and do not have a certain answer.

Nero was the great grandson of Caesar Augustus. When he was a child, he and his mother, Agrippina, were exiled by Emperor Gaius Caligula, to the Pontian Islands. However, Agrippina’s uncle, Claudius, became emperor on January 24th, 41 AD. Then Nero and his mother, Agrippina's banishment was lifted. Agrippina then convinced Claudius to marry her and make Nero his next successor. In 54 A.D., Claudius was murdered; he was reported that he was murdered by Agrippina, who secretly gave him poisonous mushrooms. As a result, Nero became the next emperor of Rome at a young of age 16 years. However, in 59 AD, Agrippina was murdered. How she died is not clear. However, Tacitus claimed that Nero had murdered her by sending 3 men to assassinate her. Suetonius claimed that Nero had her executed after she survived the shipwreck and disguised her death as "suicide". However, Cassius Dio said that Agrippina had swum to shore after the bottom of the ship opened up. Nero sent an assassin to her and when the assassin was about to strike at her, she uttered last words "smite my womb!" Agrippina wanted to be stabbed in the womb, where she gave birth to Nero. At her funeral, Nero was claimed to be feeling "scared and witted". Over here many Roman senators and various people congratulated Nero, saying that he has been freed from his mother's plots of killing him. Nero is notoriously known for his strange acts. Rumors said that he used to roam the streets after dark, visit taverns, mugging people, attacking women and stealing from stalls and shops. Nero was accused for abusing married women and freeborn boys. Nero, when he first became Emperor, turned his attention to focus on diplomacy, trade and elevating the cultural life of the empire. Nero ordered theaters to be built and encouraged athletic games. During Nero’s reign, the formidable general Corbulo directed a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire. His general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a revolution in Britain. Nero took possession of the Bosporan Kingdom to the Empire and began the First Roman–Jewish War.

On 19TH July, 64 AD, a huge fire was lit in Rome. There are many various views from both historical and modern historians towards the cause of the Great Fire of Rome. Some believe that it was arson, ordered by Nero to clear room for his palace, as he took much of the burnt city to build a Domus Aurea (Golden palace) for himself. Tacitus, an ancient Roman historian, claims in the Tacitus Annals that Nero purposely set the city alight, to clear space for his Domus Aurea. Tacitus believed Nero blamed and persecuted the Christians for the beginning of the fire, in order to avoid of his arson being revealed. In Tacitus book, Annals, Tacitus stated "Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities” In the Tacitus Annals, as a punishment, Tacitus states that the Christians were “covered with the skins of beasts...torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt”. However,