Tacitus on Nero

Tacitus on Nero - ARLT 100g Spring 2007 Masters of Power:...

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ARLT 100g Masters of Power: 10 Ancient Lives Spring 2007 Nero in Tacitus Annals pp. 360-97 Tacitus’ history frames Nero’s achievement and crimes within a “wide-angle lens” compared to Suetonius’ biography. This broad frame puts Nero’s character within the year-to-year chronicles of Rome’s wars against barbarians, political resistance to the emperor, and comparisons with figures in earlier Roman history . The year 64 AD marks Nero’s increasing insistence to appear on stage in Rome. He also shows himself increasingly reluctant to leave Rome, and the masses grow concerned that, if he should leave, the city’s vital supply of wheat might be endangered. Nero celebrates a garish public wedding in which he is the bride. The Great Fire erupts in the Circus Maximus, spreads to the Palatine and Caelian Hills, burning for 6 days and destroying four of the city’s fourteen districts. Many of the city’s oldest monuments and temples were destroyed, and thousands were killed or lost all their property. Nero was away at Antium, but rumors claimed he started the fire. “A rumor spread that, while the fire was burning, Nero had gone on his private stage and, comparing modern calamities with ancient, had sung of the destruction of Troy.” To suppress rumors about its origins,
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This note was uploaded on 05/10/2009 for the course ARLT 101g taught by Professor Gustafson during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Tacitus on Nero - ARLT 100g Spring 2007 Masters of Power:...

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