Emperor Nero

Nero was a Roman emperor from 54 AD to 68 AD. He rose to power at only 17 years old.

Some historians think that Nero’s mother Agrippina poisoned his adoptive father, and current emperor, Claudius to help Nero gain the throne early.

Agrippa could then rule as emperor through Nero.At the start of his reign, Nero was happy to rule as his mother and tutors told him.

Over time, Nero began to act independently of them, which Agrippa did not approve of. She began to plot against Nero to get some of her power and influence back.

She murdered her political rivals and tried to turn Nero’s wife, Octavia, against him. She also tried to make her stepson emperor instead of Nero.

In revenge, Nero had Agrippa and her stepson killed.Nero enjoyed the arts and architecture.


He built new theaters for Roman citizens to enjoy and took part in plays, where he acted and sang.

He also enjoyed chariot racing. Nero saw himself as an artist and spent lots of money on massive parties and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

In AD 64, a great fire swept through Rome and destroyed lots of the city. Some Romans thought that Nero started the fire so that he could build a new palace for himself.

The new palace was called Domus Aurea and covered over 100 acres. It also contained a huge bronze statue of himself which was over 100 foot tall!

The Poor People

Historians think that Nero was loved by the common people because he spent a lot of money on the poor.

He put rules in place to help poor people like lowering their taxes, which made the rich hate him. Nero was cruel and unpredictable. If people threatened his power, he would kill them.

He blamed the great fire in Rome on Christians so rounded up any Christians in Rome and crucified them. Nero killed hundreds of people just because he was suspicious of them.

Throughout Nero’s reign, he fought two wars and stopped a British revolution.

During one of the wars, two of Nero’s governors – Vindex and Galba – turned against him because they didn’t like his laws and he was too unpredictable.

Nero’s army defeated one governor but not the other and Nero was declared a traitor.

Nero fled Rome with a few close servants but was pursued by people calling him traitor. Nero knew that the senate would arrest and execute him if they caught him.

He ordered his secretary to kill him. Nero was the first Roman emperor to commit suicide. He did not name an heir, so his death started a civil war.

Facts about Roman Emperor Nero

  • Agrippina, Nero’s mother, killed his father to marry Emperor Claudius.
  • Nero killed his mother when she turned against him and tried to get power for herself.
  • Nero spent a lot of the empire’s money on new theatres and entertainment.
  • During Nero’s reign, the Great Fire of Rome burnt down most of the city.
  • Nero built himself a huge palace on the ruins of some of the city, covering over 100 acres!
  • Nero blamed the fire on Christians, so persecuted them and anyone else who challenged him.
  • The senate declared Nero a traitor because they thought he was insane.
  • Nero was the first emperor to commit suicide.

Questions :

  • Why did Nero kill his mother, Agrippina?
    Agrippina tried to turn Nero’s wife against him and take Nero’s power for herself.
  • How did Nero improve the Roman Empire?
    He lowered taxes and put on lots of entertainment, like chariot racing.
  • Why did Nero kill hundreds of people?
    He was mad and thought that everyone was plotting against him.
  • What did Nero’s death cause?
    Nero had no heir and so a civil war started after his death.