Nero as Emperor

By 62 A.D. Nero was the established authority in Rome. His mother Agrippina was dead, Burrus, the praetorian commander, was also dead. Seneca had retired, Octavia was divorced and murdered. Poppaea was now married to Nero and she bore him a daughter in 63 A.D. Poppaea had been Otho's wife and she had her eyes on Nero and plotted successfully to eliminate Octavia (Nero's wife), and Agrippina. Nero had his mother murdered in 59 A.D. Nero considered himself an artist, although it is doubtful that he had much talent. He devoted his time to poetry, singing on the public stage, and to sport. He desired to replace the gladiatorial games with racing and Greek athletic contests, yet his biggest desires were never achieved. Without those companions who had helped him in maintaining control of the empire, people were about to see Nero's true inward character. Ofonius Tigellinus, the new commander of the praetorian guard, was a bad influence on Nero. Nero also had many character flaws: vanity, greed, cruelty and a lust for power. He regarded the principate as tyrannical and none of his predecessors, he said "had realized what they could do" (Suetonius, Nero, 37). Just like Claudius, Nero began to surround himself with the worst sort of people. The expense wars in Britain and Armenia caused many problems. There was also a deliberate depreciation of the coinage. The hated law of treason (maiestas) was revived and used to destroy the Senate and aristocracy.

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