Nero: But no arsonist ?
" It was worse and more terrible than anything that has ever come across this city by conflagration ," the ancient historian Tacitus describes a fire disaster , which struck 64 AD Rome in July. Soon rumors spread , the fire was on command Emperor Nero's been placed . eccentric ruler of Rome Nero had after ten years in power a bad reputation especially as he in the murder of his mother Agrippina as a hand in had as for the removal of his stepbrother , Britannicus . in the year 62 AD, he also his 20 -year-old wife to death . disconcerting had his public appearances as an actor and singer. Nero , however, found his calling in the artistry and was extremely sensitive to any criticism . A senator who dared during his song to sink into sleep, only escaped just the death penalty.
After Emperor Nero had occurred in the spring of 64 in Naples, and it seemed not the applause of the audience frenetic enough, he announced a tour of Greece. In contrast to the Roman philistines would recognize him in the land of the Hellenes better. On several occasions, the Emperor had uttered in this context disparagingly of the capital Rome - a dirty nest of miserable slums . This could not be dignified life , lamented the tyrant . Beginning July 64 Nero was staying in the port city of Antium . In the night of 18 19 July galloped the consul Licinius Crassus and M. flavus Prätorianertribun Subrius the imperial headquarters. They brought a startling message : Rome was on fire for several hours. The fire was south at the foot of the Caelian Hill of wooden Circus Maximus erupted . Nero rushed from Antium 60 km away , which lasted three to four hours. In Rome arrived , he tried its best efforts to contain the disaster. Public buildings and temples were opened as quarters in the imperial parks erected temporary shelter, relief supplies arrived from neighboring towns , clothing and household goods . The total of six days raging fire could not be fought effectively , although Rome had a force of 7,000 firefighters , engineers and demolition specialists you . In the end, more than a third of the 1.2 million city fell in ruins .
Shortly after the accident, the rumor , Nero have let the city intentionally infect so inspire him the sight of a blazing flame ocean through art . There are only two sources. Cornelius Tacitus wrote in his Annals of an " accident in which it is uncertain whether it was due to chance or to the treachery of the emperor " . Direct formulated Suetonius in his imperial history : "He set the city on and quite obvious. " And how was it really ? How likely is it that the emperor had put its own capital on fire? Supposedly Nero had the flames spectacle needed to be inspired for his Ballad of the fire of Troy. Tacitus and Suetonius report that he had , done , declaimed during the fire with theatrical wardrobe songs.
According to Suetonius, this happened on the Maecenas Tower. But the was on the Esquiline Hill , who was already threatened with Nero's arrival from the flames. Tacitus version of the imperial "House Tribune " on the Palatinus is even less credible , because this hill was already burning brightly . If Nero actually the sight of a burning city needed then why he stayed in the 60 km distant Antium ? And why he chose just a bright full moon for his plan ? Blazing flames look much more impressive in thick darkness .
In addition, major fires in Rome were not uncommon . The Caelian Hill was already 27 and 36 AD in flames. In the year 54 AD , a fire raged for two days and nights. One indication of Nero's guilt could certainly be that he was on the leveled ruins of Rome, an equally gigantic as magnificent palace , the Domus Aurea (Golden home ) build . But the mighty monarch would naturally have far simpler urban resources had been available. Moreover, the fire did not break out in the much detested by the Emperor slums , but near his own palace : room for speculation ..