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Nero begins to show his True Colors

Contributed by David Verne

Nero has spent most of his time as emperor drinking, playing music, and partying. The Empire did okay during the first few years of his reign because of two of his advisers, his former tutor Seneca, and the Praetorian prefect Burrus. They guided Nero toward good policies and kept things stable. This year Burrus dies, and Nero appoints one of his friends, Tigellinus, as prefect. Instead of acting as a moderating influence on the emperor, Tigellinus encouraged Nero's excesses. Nero has been wildly popular with the people thanks in large part to his massive social welfare programs, but this will soon change as he begins to go further off the rails. [1] [2]

My Take by David Verne
Popularity is a useful tool that savvy politicians like Augustus use to cement their power, but it was never the end goal. For Nero, popularity was the end goal and seemed to view the throne as a popularity contest. He spent extravagantly and threw lavish parties and games. Nero was 17 when he came to power. Caligula was 24 when he gained the throne. Absolute power is terrible by itself, but giving it to a college aged kid is so much worse.

See Also


  1. Tacitus, Cornelius. The Annals. 
  2. Duncan, Mike (August 23, 2009). 666.

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