Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life of Nero (37-68 AD) who became Emperor at the age of 16. At first he was largely praised for his generosity yet became known for his debauched lifestyle, with allegations he started the Fire of Rome, watching the flames as he played the lyre. Christians saw him as their persecutor, an anti-Christ, and the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation was thought to indicate Nero. He had confidence in his own artistry, took up acting (which then had a very low status) and, as revolts in the empire grew, killed himself after the Senate condemned him to die as a slave, on a cross.

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  • Maria Wyke 8 episodes
    Professor of Latin at University College London
  • Matthew Nicholls 5 episodes
    Fellow and Senior Tutor at St John's College, University of Oxford
  • Shushma Malik 2 episodes
    Lecturer in Classics at the University of Roehampton

Reading list

  • The Domus Aurea and the Roman Architectural Revolution
    Larry F. Ball (Cambridge University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Emperor Nero: A Guide to the Ancient Sources
    A.A. Barrett, E. Fantham, and J. C. Yardley (Princeton University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to the Neronian Age
    S. Bartsch, K. Freudenburg, and C. Littlewood (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • A Companion to the Neronian Age
    E. Buckley and M. Dinter (eds.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) Google Books →
  • Nero
    E. Champlin (Harvard University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • Nero: Emperor and Court
    J. Drinkwater (Cambridge University Press, 2019) Google Books →
  • Reflections of Nero: Culture, History, and Representation
    J. Elsner and J. Masters (eds.) (University of North Carolina Press, 1994) Google Books →
  • Nero: The End of a Dynasty
    M. Griffin (Routledge, 1987) Google Books →
  • Nero
    Jurgen Malitz (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005) Google Books →
  • 69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors
    Gwyn Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Political Dissidence under Nero: The Price of Dissimulation
    V. Rudich (Routledge, 2014) Google Books →
  • Dissidence and Literature under Nero: The Prize of Rhetoricization
    V. Rudich (Routledge, 2013) Google Books →
  • Religious Dissent in the Roman Empire: Violence in Judaea at the Time of Nero
    V. Rudich (Routledge, 2018) Google Books →
  • Nero
    David Shotter (Routledge, 2005) Google Books →
  • Nero Caesar Augustus: Emperor of Rome
    David Shotter (Routledge, 2017) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 937 (Ancient Rome)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 54 AD, Nero became the ruler of the Roman Empire, aged 16.