Senecca and Burrus

Brief overview of Nero's tutors, Seneca and Burrus

It wasn't long before Agrippina promoted her son Nero in the imperial household. She had already arranged for him to have excellent instructors, the famous philosopher Seneca the Elder, and also the commander (Prefect) of the Praetorian Guard, Burrus.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (5 A.D.-65 A.D.) was a poet and a writer, and one of the major literary figures and foremost Stoic philosophers of the first century A.D. He was the son of Seneca the Elder, born in Spain and taken to Rome as a youth. Caligula and the Senate saw Seneca the younger as an incredibly gifted orator and writer. When Claudius became emperor in 41 A.D. he exiled Seneca to Corsica, Spain (the place of his birth). Seneca finally saw the end of his exile when Agrippina The Younger, probably the most powerful person in Rome, called him back to Rome to become a tutor for her son, Nero.

Sextus Afranius Burrus was prefect of the praetorian guard during the reigns of Claudius and Nero. According to an inscription became from Gaul, and was recognized for his military leadership. He served as a Tribune, and then as a procurator and private bodyguard for the Empress Livia, and later for Tiberius and Claudius. It was through Claudius that Burrus met Agrippina The Younger, who found him to be useful and trustworthy, and in 51 A.D. she made him the sole prefect of the guard. Burrus returned the favor by supporting Nero over Claudius’ son Britannicus, and Claudius died in 54 A.D. Burrus presented Nero to the cohorts of the praetorians. Burrus also became an advisor to Nero along with Seneca, and together they managed to preserve the Empire from Nero's eccentricities and to break the hold that Nero's mother had on him.

She convinced Claudius to adopt her son and in 50 A.D. Nero became the probable heir to the throne, even over Claudius's real son Britannicus. Seneca became Nero’s tutor, and in 53 A.D. Nero married Claudius's daughter Octavia. In 54 A.D. Agrippina murdered Claudius by giving him a plate of poison mushrooms, and Nero became ruler at the age of seventeen.