Roman Empire had mixed historical backgrounds and happenings since time in memorial. One dominant period was when Emperor Nero was in charge of Roman kingdom. This emperor was born in December 15th AD 37 at Antium (Anzio). However he never became the emperor until his predecessor Claudius died in AD 54 probably with suspicion that he was poisoned by his wife Agrippa. Since Nero was the next of kin in Claudius household, he was supposed to take over the leadership of the empire but he never resumed leadership immediately since he was below 17 years of age. Therefore Agrippa the deceased wife was to take over as the overall leader of the Roman Empire till Nero was of age. However, her stay in leadership never lasted for long when Nero shunted her and claimed no power sharing with anyone. This forced Nero to move Agrippa to a far residence away from the palace to ensure he resumes powers and dominate leadership of the Roman Empire all by himself. Nero never wanted to sense or realize that anyone in the palace was a threat to his leadership otherwise all was done in accordance with Nero’s direction to eliminate the person (Cornelius 123).
This happened with the death of Britannicus at a palace party and thereafter his death was suspected to be food poison highly associated with Nero’s command and directions. Nero’s personality was not well noted and defined since it was a mixture of lifestyles and paradoxes; sporting, bisexual, artistic, sadistic, sensual, extravagant and erratic. Since Nero’s took over power, the empire experienced a sound and peaceful governance but it was mostly attributed by the wise counsel of two experienced personalities in the Roman Empire; Burrus and Seneca. These two personalities acted as chief advisors of Nero as the emperor. However, Nero made an announcement that he purposed to follow the example and footsteps set by former emperor Augustus. However, Nero as the emperor followed the example of his predecessor Claudius who was aggressive and applied rigorous steps and judicial reforms to be acceptable and fit in the governing system especially in the judicial system (Cornelius 104).
Nero however adopted liberal governance when he stopped the killings gladiators and had strong public condemnations of criminal activities in public spheres and spectacles. Nero at first stages of his leadership was very humble and humane most probably due to the wise counsel of his prefect Seneca. However, the situation changed immediately after the sudden death of his close partner Pedanius Secundus who was the city prefect. His death saw Emperor Nero compelled by law to order the killing of all the four hundred slaves of Pedanius’s household who were held responsible to the death of Secundus. Nero was hot tempered and ordered the killings of his mother Agrippa when his efforts to capsize her failed. However, he reported to the senate that his mother was plotting to kill him that’s why he had to act fast. After these events, Nero intensified his public campaigns and performed in many occasions including public events as a singer (Suetonius 46).
During his performance, no one was allowed to leave the auditorium for whatever reasons. Around AD 50s, Nero’s life turned to be that of murder, music, sports and orgies due to influence of corrupt advisers after the resignation of Seneca as Nero’s adviser. These events followed Nero’s divorce to his wife Octavia through charges of adultery which were not profound but meant to make and pave way for Poppaera Sabina who was later married by Emperor Nero. The emperor was desperate to make his figure known across the empire to an extent that he associated an accident of fire with Christians, an action that saw massive arrests made towards Christians with crucification of many while burning some to death. This made the roman church regard Nero as the first antichrist in the Roman Empire as well as in the church history. Nero witnessed rebellion from neighbors and a section of his military servicemen. Nero could not stand all these occurrences and he contemplated committing suicide which he did on June 9th AD 68 through the assistance of his secretary (Basil 89).
Nero’s successors and their influence to his legacy
After Nero’s suicidal action, Emperor Galba Claudius was the immediate successor of Nero. This was as a result of severe period wars that accompanied Nero’s death. This period came to be labeled the years of four Emperors where Galba, Vitellius and Otho occupied the Emperor position briefly. This continued until when Nero’s general returned to Rome from Judea and took over leadership as the emperor restoring sanity and peace in the whole empire. The great fire that erupted in the night of July 64 is greatly attributed with Nero as the original cause and leaders after Nero regards him as an arsonist. Nero’s reputation in the face of the public was so damaged to a point of public celebration after Nero’s death. The successors of Nero went to a point of erasing Nero’s name in several and famous monuments in Rome. This actions were seen as an effort to tarnish Nero’s name and regard him as the worst ever leader in Rome of all times (Cornelius 133).
They demonstrated themselves better leaders by inputting all their efforts to rectify what Nero had destroyed not because it was beneficial to the masses, but due to their quench of political mirages and achievements of people’s sympathy as good leaders. They also strived to make their reputations and good name out of the wrongs committed by their predecessor instead of hard work to serve and improve the lives of Roman people. Besides erasing Nero’s name in public monuments, his successors also destroyed his images that were regarded as public spectacles across Rome and represented them with other images to reflect their will to include their own. This was meant to portray Nero as the worst ever Emperor and take advantage of people’s perception towards Nero. The actions were explained as an attempt to eradicate the disgrace of the country’s past injustices and atrocities committed by the Emperor through a cleansing process that involved replacing all that was associated with Nero regardless of its significance and importance in the public arena. Nero had created a wide range of influence across the empire through raising leaders as a symbol of national unity through loyalty and allegiance to his leadership (Suetonius 67).
However, this was not the same perception that was advanced by Nero’s successors when they came to power. This happened especially when Rome underwent the year of four Emperors with the most notable stage been that of Galba who executed many leaders who reigned during Nero’s leadership and many of his allies. Nero’s reputation was still evident and years after his death, many imposters came up as Nero and led a rebellion as liberation efforts of Roman people and the whole Empire from the successors of Nero. However to demonstrate the hatred that successors of Nero had on their predecessor, every person who came up as an impostor was captured and killed immediately without any official recognition either from the leader of the time or his allies including the Roman people. Therefore, the text has demonstrated how the successors of Nero were in all the efforts to frustrate every work that was carried out by Nero all the time. They acted so angrily to whatever Nero had started and destroyed all his works to a point of convincing the masses that Nero was the most cruel and inhuman Emperor to ever rule Romans. This notion was so strongly held by Christians who were persecuted, crucified and killed under Nero’s regime. This demonstrates how the leadership disputed Nero’s legacy regarding it as a disgrace to the Empire and the Roman people (Cornelius 145).