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CLASSICS 220 ESSAY #2 - 3 Worst Emperors of Rome Jordan...

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3 Worst Emperors of Rome Jordan Wertheimer 11/17/08 Classics 220- Essay #2 The success of ancient Rome was dependant on whether the emperor could lead the people in an organized and civil manner. For these three emperors, although some of their reforms made Rome prosper, many of the things they did during their rule constituted them to become hated by many. They allowed greed to run their every action, and forced some to even turn against the very people that supported them throughout most of their reign. Others got caught up on scandals and conspiracies that allowed for their citizens to question the motives they were tried of, comparing these emperors to cold-blooded killers. From complete self-indulgence, to the notion of being above the law, Nero, Domitian and Caligula each exemplified characteristics of atrocious emperors that put the rights and virtues of its people at danger. Nero’s self indulgence portrays one of the most vicious examples of greed among the emperors of Ancient Rome. Once Nero came to power, he took much of the empires treasury and spent it on himself, building a great palace for himself that ,”stretched from the Palatine to the Esquiline.” (pg 229 Suetonius) This was no ordinary million dollar mansion that’s built up in the Bel Aire hills, for upon walking into his palace, one could get an idea of the magnificence that he portrayed in his architecture. In the entrance hall of “The Golden House”, Nero built a 120-foot statue of himself for all of his guests to see and recognize whom the supreme emperor was. If that wasn’t greedy enough, “Parts of the house were overlaid with gold and studded with precious stones and mother-of-pearl. All the dining rooms had ceilings of fretted ivory, the panels of which could slide back and let rain of flowers or perfumes from hidden sprinklers shower upon his guests.” (pg
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230 Seutonius) His power shown true through his money and possessions, diminishing the empire of its treasury for his own well being. This greed would have been perfectly content, if his empire wasn’t in the shambles of becoming extinct from the lack of money that it had. Greed is what forced Nero to turn against the empire, which he loved so much, and made him belittle the very people that worshiped him as their supreme ruler. Nero found himself stealing and blackmailing the very people who paid homage to him daily. Nero seemed to find every way to scrounge up money from the people who didn’t have it, for when a freedman would pass away, Nero would make it a point to collect “five-sixths of the estate, not merely one half” (pg 231) and have it be donated to his own funds. He then would charge
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CLASSICS 220 ESSAY #2 - 3 Worst Emperors of Rome Jordan...

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