At first Nero hated signing death sentences, and the extortions of Roman tax collectors upon the populace led him in 58 to unrealistically suggest that the customs dues should be abolished. Because Nero became emperor as a young age, he was very much influenced by his mother, his tutor (Lucius Seneca), and the Praetorian Prefect (Sextus Burrus). Poppaea was married first to Rufrius Crispinus of the Preaetorian Guard, and they had a son. The conflagration lasted … He later adopted her son Nero as his political heir. From that time until 62, Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the empire. Little is known about Sporus' background except that he was a young man to whom Nero took a liking. Nero even dreamed of abandoning the throne of Rome in order to fulfill his poetical and musical gifts, though he did not act on these puerile ambitions. He tried to shift the blame to the Christians, beginning the Roman persecution of that young religion. Her family was wealthy, and Poppaea herself owned a villa outside Pompeii. He married Poppaea in 62, but she died in 65, and he subsequently married the patrician lady Statilia Messalina. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Nero, portrait bust; in the Roman National Museum, Rome. He may have been a puer delicatus, who were sometimes castrated in an effort to preserve their youthful qualities. Otho would go on after Nero's death to briefly become emperor. For the first time, absolute power in the Roman Empire was vested in a mere boy, who was not yet 17. She being his favorite, Nero impregnated her and then married her in 63. Agrippina, the Empress Who Scandalized Rome, A Look at the Lives of the First 12 Roman Emperors, Five Roman Empresses You Shouldn't Invite to Dinner, Biography of Tiberius, 1st Century Roman Emperor, Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, Better Known as Quintilian, M.Div., Meadville/Lombard Theological School. Upon his death in A.D. 59, the officials appointed by Nero ignored it, seizing Iceni land. This caused a rift with his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Otho, Poppaea's first husband, helped in Galba's successful revolt against Nero, and made himself emperor after Galba was killed. He does not depict kind acts, such as those reported by Josephus, but instead depicts her as corrupt. Nero reportedly kicked her during an argument when she was pregnant in 65 C.E., resulting in her death, possibly from the effects of the subsequent miscarriage. Nero, Roman emperor from 54 to 68 AD, was born at Antium on the 15th of December 37. Nero rode a chariot in the Greek Olympic games. Cassius Dio identifies Sporus as a freedman. She was the daughter of the Emperor Claudius and stepsister and first wife of Emperor Nero. This Roman historian also villified Poppaea in his writing about her. You can opt-out at any time. Nero, in full Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also called (50–54 ce) Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, original name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, (born December 15, 37 ce, Antium, Latium—died June 9, 68, Rome), fifth Roman emperor (54–68 ce), stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. Jone Johnson Lewis is a women's history writer who has been involved with the women's movement since the late 1960s. Nero and Poppaea were, according to some contemporaries, happy in their marriage, but Nero had a temper and became more and more erratic. Upon the death of Claudius, she at once had Nero proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard, whose prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, was her partisan; the Senate thus had to accept a fait accompli. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster and, at the request of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, gave aid to the Jews. His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust masters. His armies put down rebellions in Britain and Judaea, he was an enthusiastic patron of the arts, and he was lenient toward his enemies. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Nero's second wife. She was born in early 40 at the latest, but perhaps a year or two earlier, because her younger brother Britannicus was born in February of 41. Artistic pretensions and irresponsibility, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nero-Roman-emperor, JewishEncyclopedia.com - Biography of Nero, Jewish Virtual Library - Biography of Nero, Public Broadcasting Service - Biography of Nero, Nero - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). She also advocated for her home town of Pompeii, and helped it gain considerable autonomy from the Empire's rule. In archaeological study of the city of Pompeii, where volcanic tragedy preserved the city within 15 years of Poppaea's death, scholars have found evidence that during her lifetime, she was considered a virtuous woman, with many statues in her honor. Although this might sound quite nice, this was far from being something to envy. Your father was forced to divorce your pregnant mother, marrying your stepfather instead. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina incestuously became the wife of her uncle, the emperor Claudius, and persuaded him to favour Nero for the succession, over the rightful claim of Claudius’s own son, Britannicus, and to marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. Her paternal grandfather, Poppaeus Sabinus, was a Roman Consul and a friend of several emperors. It was then that the infamous same-sex marriage took place. wife Poppaea Sabina. Almost by accident, Nero initiated the later Roman policy of halfhearted persecution of the Christians, in the process earning himself the reputation of Antichrist in the early Christian tradition. In 65 AD, Nero is believed to have kicked his wife Poppaea to death. Her husband, King Prasutagus, had made a deal with Claudius that would see him rule as a client-king. According to the stories told of her, Poppaea had urged Nero to kill his mother, Agrippina the Younger, and to divorce and later murder his first wife, Octavia. Three ancient writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, … They encouraged Nero to act independently of her, and a growing coolness resulted in Nero’s relations with his mother. Nero burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians! Agrippina followed in 59BC, and finally, in 62 AD, Nero murdered first wife Octavia and her elder sister. Nero’s marriages and affairs also proved to be troublesome. The puer delicatus generally was a child-slave chosen by his master for his beauty and sexual attractiveness. Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics as counterattractions to gladiatorial combats. Hitherto the government had not clearly distinguished Christians from Jews. The Jewish historian Josephus (who also died in 65 BCE) tells us that Poppaea Sabina interceded on behalf of Jews twice. Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died about 40 ce, and Nero was brought up by his mother, Julia Agrippina, a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus. Updates? Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Most of the accounts we have of Nero are hostile; ancient writers loved to … He was even said to have dressed one of his enslaved males as Poppaea so he could believe she had not died. She dies in 65 AD as a result of being kicked to death while pregnant by Nero, some claim. He fancied himself not only a poet but also a charioteer and lyre player, and in 59 or 60 he began to give public performances; later he appeared on the stage, and the theatre furnished him with the pretext to assume every kind of role. His nocturnal rioting in the streets was a scandal as early as 56, but the emergence of real brutality in Nero can be fixed in the 35-month period between the putting to death of his mother at his orders in 59 and his similar treatment of his wife Octavia in June 62. Former faculty member of the Humanist Institute wealthy, and helped it gain considerable autonomy from the empire have! 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