Is there anything good to say about Nero Claudius?

Aug 2017
38
Canada
#1
An honest question to those more educated in the empirical period. I've come across quite a few un-scholarly work lately suggesting the propagandists of his time are to blame for exaggerating him out of per portion?
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#2
An honest question to those more educated in the empirical period. I've come across quite a few un-scholarly work lately suggesting the propagandists of his time are to blame for exaggerating him out of per portion?

If you read the fictionalised account of his life in Robert Graves' I,Claudius he gets a very sympathetic depiction. The truth (as is usually the case) probably lies somewhere in between. I guess at the time his biggest attribute was that he 'wasn't Caligula'.
 
Likes: bedb
Mar 2016
560
Australia
#3
Forming unbiased, objective and fair opinions of Roman Emperors in Antiquity is pretty much impossible because of how dependant we are on extremely and unashamedly biased sources that not only exaggerated and omitted historical facts - which is bad enough - but often completely fabricated things.
 
Mar 2012
2,326
#4
Actually, he was extremely popular in the east for the Peace of Nero, and I have heard he was popular with the the other provincials and plebians, although I can't source it at this moment.
 
#5
I also remember reading that he appears to have been fairly popular among the commoners of Rome, but likewise I don't remember the evidence. It was certainly said that the first five years of his reign were good years for governance, but it should be admitted that bad emperors starting off good was a literary trope. On the other hand, any emperor who executed senators and who behaved in an unconventional manner was going to get a very bad wrap in the literary sources, which were pro-senatorial and conservative in outlook. He certainly couldn't have been the worst emperor, since he ruled for 14 years.
 
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Feb 2012
5,147
#8
The first five years might have been good for governance, but that was the era when coins showed him and his mother as equals. Agrippina the Younger was a very domineering woman and clearly kept Nero on a leash, something he eventually resorted to ordering her murder to escape from. Nero was someone with genuine charisma and that celebrity ingredient to his character. Otherwise he was somewhat amoral, self-obsessed, lacking any real talent despite his hard work to establish himself as a performing artist, and quite panicky.
 
Feb 2012
5,147
#10
Yes, it wasn't just his mother, but also his advisors he threw off. Once he was his own master it all got a little wayward. Bad enough he wanted to be a stage performer - we're told that people feigned pregnancy and death to escape a performance - but also a charioteer, for which he had no talent whasoever, a role normally preserved for slave athletes (The famous film race in Ben Hur wouldn't have happened. Both men might have chosen champions to race for them, but racing themselves? Not done for men of senatorial or patrician rank, nor would ceremonial chariots or wheels fitted with scythes be admissible). However, Nero had lost considerable popularity when he had his mother killed.
 

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