San José State University
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The Timeline of the Life of Nero, |
the Fifth Emperor of Rome
Nero the fifth emperor of the Roman Empire was born December 15th of 37 A.D. His birth name was
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and his birth place was Antium Latium a town 56 kilometers from Rome.
Later his name became officially Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.
He ruled Rome from 54 A.D.
until his death in 68 A.D.
He was the son of Agrippina the Younger, the great granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the first
- 40 CE: Nero's father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died. Nero's life was subsequently controlled
by his mother, Agrippina the Younger. She remarries but it is not a successful marriage.
- 48 CE: The wife of the Emperor of Rome, Claudius, is murdered. Agrippina was involved in this.
Claudia was Agrippina's uncle.
- Agrippina poisons her second husband and marries her uncle, Claudius.
- Agripinnia persuades Claudius to marry his daughter Octavia to Nero and favor Nero over his own son
Britannicus as his successor to the emperorship.
- 54 CE: Claudius dies, probably due to poisoning by Agrippina. The Praetorian Guard, under the
the command of Sextus Africanius Burrus, an ally of Agrippina, declares the 17 year-old Nero
Emperor of Rome.
- About this time a revolt broke out in the Roman province of Armenian led by a prince from
the Parthian Empire (Persia). A Roman expeditionary force was sent to put down the revolt.
- 55 CE: Britannicus, the son of Claudius, dies due to poisoning by Agrippina.
- 56 CE: Agrippina is forced out of active participation in the governance of Rome. This was brought
about by Nero acting under the influence of Burrus, the commander of the Praetorian Guard, and
the Stoic philospher Seneca, his old tutor. Burrus and Seneca effectively rule Rome. Nero was left
to pursue his dreams of being poet, actor, musician and charioteer.
- 59 CE: Nero has his mother Agrippina put to death. She had become insanely outraged at losing
control of Nero. She objects to the affair Nero in having with a wife of a Senator. Nero
decides to kill his mother. He puts her on a boat that is designed to sink. She however makes
it to shore and her home. Roman soldiers under Nero's order go there and kill her.
- 60 CE: The Britons under the leadership of Queen Boadicea revolt against Roman control.
- 62 CE: Nero has his wife Octavia put to death. He had fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young
wife of a senator. Also he had come to believe that Octavia was working against him in his court.
Nero then marries Poppaea Sabina. Burrus dies and Seneca retires from Roman government because he
felt that he had lost all of his influence with Nero.
- 63 CE: Nero becomes interested in the religious cults in Rome.
- 64 CE: A great fire destroys much of Rome. Nero initiates a plan to rebuid Rome in a Greek style that
includes a great palace for Nero, called the Golden House, that would cover one third of Rome. Nero's
reputation with the populace of Rome had fallen to such a low level that he was accused of being personally
responsible for the burning. Nero however was not in Rome at that time; he was at his villa in Antium,
the place of his birth, 56 kilometers from Rome. Nero blamed the Christians of Rome for the fire. This
initiated the specific persecution of Christians whom hithertofor were not distinguished from the Jews.
- 65 CE: A conspiracy to replace Nero with Gaius Calpurnius Piso is uncovered. Eighteen of the
41 implicated in it are killed, including Seneca.
- 65 CE: Nero's second wife Poppaea Sabina dies. Nero marries Statilia Messalina.
- 66 CE: The Jews in Judea revolt against Roman control and their revolt is not suppressed until the
year 70. The revolt in Armenia is settled by a compromise in which the Parthian prince leading the
revolt is made king of Armenia under Roman suzerainty.
- 66 CE: At the end the year Nero embarks on a 15 month visit ot Greece. In this visit he acted in plays
sometimes portraying low characters such as slaves. He even portrayed a pregnant woman.
- 68 CE: Nero returns to Rome. The populace is scandalized at his behavior.
The provinces were suffering from the funds he was demanding for his personal projects. The amounts
were several times the cost of supporting the army. Revolts were breaking
out in Spain and France and Nero treated them as being of no significance and took no action to
quell them. The Roman legions declared Servius Sulpicius Galba, the rebellious governor of Roman
Spain, the new emperor. The Praetorian Guard which had supported his ascendancy to the throne as
as a 17 year-old abandoned him. The Senate condemed Nero to die the death of a slave; i.e., crucified
and beaten with a whip. Nero needed to flee Rome but probably commited suicide instead of trying to