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Nero Kills his Pregnant Wife?

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Poppaea Sabrina had enough of her husband spending too much time at the races, and decided to confront Nero about it. This argument rages on, growing ever fiercer before finally Nero has enough and lashes out, kicking his wife in the stomach. This kick causes her demise, or at least so claims Suetonius, a historian from the 100s. Tacitus also claims Nero's kick killed his wife, but puts it at a different time, and was a spontaneous outburst. Others claim he lept upon her belly, which caused her death, with debates over if it was intended to do so. Still others claim he poisoned her.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
Modern historians believe that Poppaea's death was merely and accident from complications with a stillbirth or miscarriage. They cite the fact that all the historians who recount her death had an extreme bias against Nero. They also point out how Nero went into a deep mourning after her death, and gave her a state funeral and divine honors, before being embalmed in the Egyptian fashion and entombed in a location unknown to modern historians. Nero allegedly burned a year's worth of Arabia's incense production at her funeral.

It's a Conspiracy

Contributed by David Verne

Italy and the provinces have been ruined by Nero's spending policies, including raiding not only temple donations, but also the statues of gods. Gaius Calpurnius Piso was a well-liked senator; who during the reign of Caligula was forced to divorce his wife after Caligula wanted to marry her. With discontent for Nero growing, especially in the Senate, Piso finds himself at the center of a large word of mouth conspiracy to assassinate Nero that includes senators, military officers, servants, slaves, and even Nero's adviser, Seneca. The amazing thing is that so many people of different ages and social standings were able to keep it secret, but eventually it was betrayed. A freedman named Milichus was heard complaining that since he was out of favor with Nero, his career couldn't move forward. He was approached by the conspirators, and after being told about it; he went and told Nero to regain the Emperor's favor. With their plot exposed, several of the conspirators committed suicide, including Piso and Seneca. Nero locked down Rome and re-instituted the treason trials. At least 41 people were accused of being part of the conspiracy, with most executed or exiled. [1] [2]

My Take by David Verne
Even though the Senate was almost competently irrelevant in Roman government, there were two groups of Senators that still cared about ruling, the ambitious Senators and the Senators who believed in good government. Nero's reckless spending and favoritism angered both groups resulting in the conspiracy. Nero re-instituting the treason trials was a step that both Tiberius and Caligula had took, and it only resulted in their downfall.

See Also


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

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