Skip to main content
Select Source:

Nero

Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar) (nēr´ō), AD 37–AD 68, Roman emperor (AD 54–AD 68). He was originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and was the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul in AD 32) and of Agrippina the Younger, who was the great-granddaughter of Augustus. Agrippina married (AD 49) Claudius I and persuaded him to adopt Nero. In AD 55, Agrippina saw the bonds of her domination of Nero loosening and intrigued in favor of Claudius' son, Britannicus, but Nero poisoned the boy. Poppaea Sabina, the wife of his friend Otho, became his mistress; according to rumor she was to blame for the worst of Nero's behavior. In AD 59 he murdered his mother and in AD 62, his wife Octavia. He later married Poppaea. When half of Rome was burned in a fire (AD 64), Nero accused the Christians of starting it and began the first Roman persecution. In AD 65 there was a plot to make Caius Calpurnius Piso emperor. The detection of this plot began a string of violent deaths, e.g., of Seneca, Lucan, and Thrasea Paetus. Nero had ambitions to be a poet and artist. In AD 68 a series of revolts, including one by his own Praetorian Guard, caused him to commit suicide. Among his last words were, "What an artist the world is losing in me!" His memory was publicly execrated.

See biography by M. Griffin, Nero: The End of a Dynasty (1985).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nero." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nero." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nero

"Nero." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nero

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Nero

Nero (ad 37–68), Roman emperor, whose patronage of the arts extended to appearing himself upon the stage. Infamous for his cruelty, he ordered the murder of his mother Agrippina in 59 and wantonly executed leading Romans. His reign witnessed a fire which destroyed half of Rome in 64; in Suetonius's Lives of the Caesars, it is said that after watching the fire, Nero dressed himself in his tragedian's costume and sang The Fall of Ilium. This story gave rise to the expression to fiddle while Rome burns (although Nero's instrument would have been the lyre).

A wave of uprisings in ad 68 led to his flight from Rome and his eventual suicide.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nero." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nero." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nero

"Nero." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nero

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Nero

Nero (37–68) Roman Emperor (54–68). One of the most notorious of rulers, he was responsible for the murders of his half-brother, his mother, and his first wife. Rome burned (64), according to rumour, at Nero's instigation. He blamed the Christians and began their persecution. Faced with widespread rebellion, Nero committed suicide.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nero." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nero." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nero

"Nero." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nero

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Nero

Neroarrow, barrow, farrow, harrow, Jarrow, marrow, narrow, sparrow, taro, tarot, Varro, yarrow •gabbro • Avogadro • Afro • aggro •macro • cilantro • Castro •wheelbarrow •Faro, Kilimanjaro, Pissarro, Pizarro, Tupamaro •Pedro • allegro • hedgerow • velcro •escrow •metro, retro •electro • Jethro •bolero, caballero, dinero, Faeroe, pharaoh, ranchero, sombrero, torero •scarecrow • Ebro •Montenegro, Negro •repro • in vitro • Pyrrho • synchro •windrow • impro • intro • bistro •Babygro • McEnroe •biro, Cairo, giro, gyro, tyro •fibro • micro • maestro •borrow, Corot, morrow, sorrow, tomorrow •cockcrow • cointreau •Moro, Sapporo, Thoreau •Mindoro • Yamoussoukro •Woodrow •burro, burrow, furrow •upthrow •De Niro, hero, Nero, Pierrot, Pinero, Rio de Janeiro, sub-zero, zero •bureau, chiaroscuro, Douro, enduro, euro, Ishiguro, Oruro, Truro •Politburo • guacharo • Diderot •vigoro • Prospero • Cicero • in utero •Devereux • Jivaro • overthrow

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nero." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nero." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nero-0

"Nero." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nero-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.