Her body was embalmed and buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus. You can opt-out at any time. According to the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus and to the Nero of the Roman biographer Suetonius, Nero in response tried to shift responsibility for the fire to the Christians, who were popularly thought to engage in many wicked practices. The Jewish historian Josephus (who also died in 65 BCE) tells us that Poppaea Sabina interceded on behalf of Jews twice. She also advocated for her home town of Pompeii, and helped it gain considerable autonomy from the Empire's rule. Beginning about 63, he also developed strange religious enthusiasms and became increasingly attracted to the preachers of novel cults. The image of a crazed and capricious Emperor Nero is immortalised in popular culture: from fiddling while Rome burns to having a sexual relationship with his mother. Otho, Poppaea's first husband, helped in Galba's successful revolt against Nero, and made himself emperor after Galba was killed. You fall in love? After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina incestuously became the wife of her uncle, the emperor Claudius, and persuaded him to favour Nero for the succession, over the rightful claim of Claudius’s own son, Britannicus, and to marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. Poppaea and Nero’s child died after her birth, while Pappaea’s next pregnancy ended in tr… He put an end to the more odious features of the later years of Claudius’s reign, including secret trials before the emperor and the dominance of corrupt freedmen, and he accorded more independence to the Senate. He does not depict kind acts, such as those reported by Josephus, but instead depicts her as corrupt. The conflagration lasted … In reality, Agrippina detested Poppaea Sabina and forced Nero to marry Octavia. Nero, a depraved first-century emperor, married at least two men. Nero’s marriages and affairs also proved to be troublesome. Nero married Poppaea, and Poppaea was given the title Augusta when they had a daughter, Claudia. Tacitus, for instance, asserts that Poppaea engineered her marriage with Otho specifically to get closer to, and eventually marry, Nero. Nero married Poppaea, and Poppaea was given the title Augusta when they had a daughter, Claudia. Hitherto the government had not clearly distinguished Christians from Jews. Nero rode a chariot in the Greek Olympic games. Her birth year is unknown, but we know she died in 65 C.E. She was the daughter of the Emperor Claudius and stepsister and first wife of Emperor Nero. In Nero: Artistic pretensions and irresponsibility …having fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young wife of the senator (and later emperor) Otho, and by his fear that his repudiated wife was fomenting disaffection at court and among the populace. Otho would go on after Nero's death to briefly become emperor. His government forbade contests in the circus involving bloodshed, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and accorded permission to slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust masters. Emperor Nero surveys the damage in Rome after the Great Fire of 64 A.D. One dubious story holds that he blamed, and punished, the city’s Christians for the devastating blaze. Nero himself pardoned writers of epigrams against him and even those who plotted against him, and secret trials were few. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. Being older than his stepbrother Britannicus, Nero became heir to the throne. She hoped to control the government, but Burrus and Nero’s old tutor, the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, though they owed their influence to Agrippina, were not content to remain her tools. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. The Senate condemned him to death by crucifixion, and his household guard abandoned him. For the first time, absolute power in the Roman Empire was vested in a mere boy, who was not yet 17. His new wife was Statilia Messallina. This caused a rift with his mother, Agrippina the Younger. The main source for information about Poppaea is the Roman writer Tacitus. From that time until 62, Burrus and Seneca were the effective rulers of the empire. He tried to shift the blame to the Christians, beginning the Roman persecution of that young religion. In 66, Nero remarried. She was born in early 40 at the latest, but perhaps a year or two earlier, because her younger brother Britannicus was born in February of 41. Nero's bad acts are often attributed to her influence. He later adopted her son Nero as his political heir. But our most detailed images of homosexual marriages come from the descriptions of Roman emperors. She is also reported to have persuaded Nero to kill the philosopher Seneca, who had supported Nero's previous mistress, Acte Claudia. Poppaea Sabina was the mistress and second wife of the Roman emperor Nero. Agrippina—having already helped bring about the murder of Valeria Messalina, her predecessor as the wife of Claudius, in 48, and ceaselessly pursuing her intrigues to bring Nero to power—eliminated her opponents among Claudius’s palace advisers, probably had Claudius himself poisoned in 54, and completed her work with the poisoning of Britannicus in 55. Seneca urged Nero to use his autocratic powers conscientiously, but he obviously failed to harness the boy’s more generous impulses to his responsibilities. The legend that Nero fiddled during the 64 CE fire in Rome is false because bowed stringed instruments would not reach Europe for almost another millennia. This caused a rift with his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Claudia did not live long. Her mother was executed in their childhood for committing adultery, and her father remarried Agrippinna. At the time she was still married to Otho (a future emperor! They encouraged Nero to act independently of her, and a growing coolness resulted in Nero’s relations with his mother. Claudius proved to be a relatively successful emperor, but his greatest fatal mistake was marrying his niece Agrippina in later life, and adopting her son Nero as his own in order to secure the alliance. ! Moreover, the daughter of Claudius was murdered soon, but Nero made it look like a suicide. Nero’s rule would have its share of bloodshed in places throughout the empire. Oh, young Tiberius! In order to marry her, he accused Octavia of adultery and exiled her, later to be murdered (but made to look like a suicide). She embarked on her third marriage, to the Emperor Claudius, in AD 49, and although he already had a son, Britannicus, by another wife, manipulated him into adopting Nero as his heir. He castrated a boy so he could marry him. She then married her uncle, the emperor Claudius. Nero. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was married to the very popular Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and Messalina (a marriage made at his mother’s urging) but also having an affair with the very pregnant Poppaea Sabina (his mother detested her). Imagine yourself as nine-year-old Tiberius. His armies put down rebellions in Britain and Judaea, he was an enthusiastic patron of the arts, and he was lenient toward his enemies. It’s true that Nero out-did his predecessors when building his palace in Rome – but outdoing his predecessors was exactly what a Roman emperor was meant to do. If only your troubles ended there. Sporus became emperor Nero’s formal wife in the eyes of everyone, and he had to be addressed as “empress.” He would wear all the luxurious attires worthy of the Roman aristocracy and had an entourage of servants at his disposal. Taking advantage of the fire’s destruction, Nero had the city reconstructed in the Greek style and began building a prodigious palace—the Golden House—which, had it been finished, would have covered a third of Rome. Also known as: Poppea (Italianized spelling), Poppaea Augusta Sabina, Poppaea Sabina the Younger (to differentiate from her mother). Her husband, King Prasutagus, had made a deal with Claudius that would see him rule as a client-king. "The Coronation of Poppaea," or "L'Incoronazione di Poppea," is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Monteverdi, libretto by G. F. Busenello. This caused a rift with his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Three ancient writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, … It is widely believed that she poisoned Claudius when Nero was 16 and poisoned Claudius's son Britannicus to seal Nero's claim to the throne. Shortly after Nero allegedly killed Poppaea, he remarried … Nero's death ended the almost 100-year rule of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. wife Poppaea Sabina. In 50 AD, at the age of 13, Nero was adopted by Emperor Claudius and took the name by which he is famous, Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. Nero was married to Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and Messalina, but had affair with Poppaea Sabina. Gender:. Nero gave her a public funeral and proclaimed her virtues. Poppaea was married first to Rufrius Crispinus of the Preaetorian Guard, and they had a son. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. After the murder of Poppaea Sabina, Nero was introduced to a male look-alike of his murdered wife named Sporus. Agrippina was the daughter of Germanicus Caesar and Vipsania Agrippina, sister of the emperor Gaius, or Caligula (reigned 37–41), and wife of the emperor Claudius (41–54). The opera was first performed in Venice in 1642. Occupation: Emperor of Rome Born: December 15, 37 AD in Antium, Italy Died: June 9, 68 AD outside Rome, Italy Reign: October 13, 54 AD to June 9, 68 AD Best known for: One of the worst Emperors of Rome, legend has it he played the fiddle while Rome burned Biography: Nero ruled Rome from 54 AD to 68 AD. Nero burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians! The first time was to free priests; Josephus went to Rome to plead their case, meeting with Poppaea and then receiving many gifts from her. Her father was Titus Ollius. As Nero's behavior became more erratic—he believed that he could sing Gaul into submission—his enemies became bolder. Nero divorced his wife, Octavia, who was the daughter of his predecessor, the Emperor Claudius. The last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was notorious as a brutal, tyrannical, and ineffective leader. His father died when Nero was about three. Poppaea is believed to have stirred Nero to attack Christians after the Fire of Rome and to have helped free Jewish priests at the request of Josephus. Nero’s father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died about 40 ce, and Nero was brought up by his mother, Julia Agrippina, a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus. Nero and Poppaea were, according to some contemporaries, happy in their marriage, but Nero had a temper and became more and more erratic. She dies in 65 AD as a result of being kicked to death while pregnant by Nero, some claim. He was led to the murder of Agrippina by her insanity and her fury at seeing her son slip out of her control, to the murder of Octavia by his having fallen in love with Poppaea Sabina, the young wife of the senator (and later emperor) Otho, and by his fear that his repudiated wife was fomenting disaffection at court and among the populace. After his father’s death, his mother married his great uncle, Claudius, and persuaded him to name Nero his successor. Birthplace: Antium, Latium Location of death: Rome, Italy Cause of death: Suicide. Others suggest Nero poisoned her. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Nero's second wife. Rome burned while he was emperor, and the eagerness with which he rebuilt led many to believe that he was responsible for the fire. Seeing that he could do what he liked without fear of censure or retribution, Nero began to give rein to inordinate artistic pretensions. His next wife was Statilia Messalina, whose first husband Nero had executed. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Nero, portrait bust; in the Roman National Museum, Rome. After Emperor Nero allegedly kicked his second wife Sabina to death in 65 A.D., he met a slave boy named Sporus who looked like her. The law of treason was dormant: Claudius had put 40 senators to death, but, between the murders instigated by Agrippina in 54 and the year 62, there were no like incidents in Nero’s reign. Agrippina immediately eliminated the powerful freedman Narcissus, who had always opposed her aims. The puer delicatus generally was a child-slave chosen by his master for his beauty and sexual attractiveness. If the Golden House was an extravagant folly, the allegation that Nero killed his wife Poppaea by kicking her while she was pregnant is far more shocking. Poppaea Sabina was born the daughter of a woman with the same name who committed suicide. Britannica now has a site just for parents! Nero (/ ˈ n ɪər oʊ / NEER-oh; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, ruling from 54 to 68.His infamous reign is usually associated with tyranny, extravagance and debauchery. He saw to it that assistance was provided to cities that had suffered disaster and, at the request of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, gave aid to the Jews. DIR Atlas (Claudia) Octavia, wife of Nero Donna Hurley Octavia, properly Claudia Octavia, was the daughter of the emperor Claudius and his third wife Valeria Messallina. In order to marry the woman whom he loved, Nero accused Octavia of adultery and exiled her. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Agrippina, the Empress Who Scandalized Rome, A Look at the Lives of the First 12 Roman Emperors, Five Roman Empresses You Shouldn't Invite to Dinner, Biography of Tiberius, 1st Century Roman Emperor, Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, Better Known as Quintilian, M.Div., Meadville/Lombard Theological School. Omissions? In 56 Agrippina was forced into retirement. Brought up in this atmosphere, Nero might well have begun to behave like a monster upon his accession as emperor in 54 but, in fact, behaved quite otherwise. Nero appointed Otho to an important post as governor of Lusitai (Lusitania). Julia Agrippina, mother of the Roman emperor Nero and a powerful influence on him during the early years of his reign (54–68). Tacitus does assert that she was quite beautiful but shows how she used her beauty and sexuality as a way of gaining power and prestige. Upon his death in A.D. 59, the officials appointed by Nero ignored it, seizing Iceni land. Nero is considered as one of best known for the worst list of Roman emperors ever existed and also having allowed his wife and also his mother to rule for him and then stepped out from their Shadows and in the result of having them and reportedly kicking his wife to death. Your stepfather is none other than Emperor Augustus, so his wish is your command. Statue in the Golden House of Nero, Rome. Up to the year 59, Nero’s biographers cite only acts of generosity and clemency on his account. ), but she had only married him to get close to Nero. Nero built a palace, the Golden House, which was apparently magnificent, but it was so resented by the public and by his successors that it was almost completely dismantled. Nero divorced his wife, Octavia, who was the daughter of his predecessor, the Emperor Claudius. Following his divorce, Nero was quickly seduced by Sabina, who became his favorite mistress. His nocturnal rioting in the streets was a scandal as early as 56, but the emergence of real brutality in Nero can be fixed in the 35-month period between the putting to death of his mother at his orders in 59 and his similar treatment of his wife Octavia in June 62. Nero was born in 37 A.D., the nephew of the emperor. Little is known about Sporus' background except that he was a young man to whom Nero took a liking. In 52 AD, at the age of twelve, she married her step-brother Nero. AKA Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Nero married Poppaea, and Poppaea was given the title Augusta when they had a daughter, Claudia. The great fire that ravaged Rome in 64 illustrates how low Nero’s reputation had sunk by this time. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Jone Johnson Lewis is a women's history writer who has been involved with the women's movement since the late 1960s. In Britain, in A.D. 60, the Iceni Queen Boudicca (also spelled Boudica or Boudicea) rose in rebellion after she was flogged and her daughters raped by Roman soldiers. Cassius Dio identifies Sporus as a freedman. Because Nero became emperor as a young age, he was very much influenced by his mother, his tutor (Lucius Seneca), and the Praetorian Prefect (Sextus Burrus). Agrippina the Younger, as empress, removed him from his position, as he was too close to a previous empress, Messalina. Your father was forced to divorce your pregnant mother, marrying your stepfather instead. An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. During the fire, Nero was at his villa at Antium 35 miles (56 km) from Rome and therefore cannot be held responsible for the burning of the city. But the Roman populace mistakenly believed that he himself had started the fire in Rome in order to indulge his aesthetic tastes in the city’s subsequent reconstruction. But his early promise gave way to wild extravagance and murder. Otho was then defeated by Vitellius' forces, and he subsequently killed himself. Biographies >> Ancient Rome. In archaeological study of the city of Pompeii, where volcanic tragedy preserved the city within 15 years of Poppaea's death, scholars have found evidence that during her lifetime, she was considered a virtuous woman, with many statues in her honor. OCTÁVIA) (late AD 39 or early AD 40 – 8 June AD 62) was an empress of Rome. Born as the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, he lost his father at an early age. He fancied himself not only a poet but also a charioteer and lyre player, and in 59 or 60 he began to give public performances; later he appeared on the stage, and the theatre furnished him with the pretext to assume every kind of role. Nero’s second wife is the beautiful Poppaea Sabina. Nero, Roman emperor from 54 to 68 AD, was born at Antium on the 15th of December 37. This led the Christians to label him the Antichrist. Nero divorced his wife, Octavia, who was the daughter of his predecessor, the Emperor Claudius. Nero was a Roman emperor who ruled from 54 to 68 AD. Agrippina followed in 59BC, and finally, in 62 AD, Nero murdered first wife Octavia and her elder sister. Your stepfather gleefully divorced his wife, who was pregnant, too. Too bad! Updates? She is a former faculty member of the Humanist Institute. Sensitive and handsome, Nero (37 – 68 AD / reigned 54 – 68 AD) started out well as emperor. In 53 AD, Nero married Claudia Octavia, his stepsister and daughter of Claudius with Messali… Nero, in full Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also called (50–54 ce) Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, original name Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, (born December 15, 37 ce, Antium, Latium—died June 9, 68, Rome), fifth Roman emperor (54–68 ce), stepson and heir of the emperor Claudius. In the second instance, a different delegation won Poppaea's influence in its cause to keep standing a wall at the temple that would keep the emperor from seeing the Temple's proceedings. Then Poppaea became mistress of the emperor Nero, Otho's friend, and about seven years younger than she was. Nero was just 30 years old when he fled Rome and committed suicide. Even later Nero was capable of conceiving grandiose plans for conquests or the creation of public works, but for the most part he used his position simply to gratify his own personal pleasures. Almost by accident, Nero initiated the later Roman policy of halfhearted persecution of the Christians, in the process earning himself the reputation of Antichrist in the early Christian tradition. Although this might sound quite nice, this was far from being something to envy. In 65 AD, Nero is believed to have kicked his wife Poppaea to death. Most of the accounts we have of Nero are hostile; ancient writers loved to … Nero reportedly kicked her during an argument when she was pregnant in 65 C.E., resulting in her death, possibly from the effects of the subsequent miscarriage. She being his favorite, Nero impregnated her and then married her in 63. His mother, Julia Agrippina, poisoned her second husband when Nero was 12. Her family was wealthy, and Poppaea herself owned a villa outside Pompeii. It was the fourth marriage of Claudius and he had had his previous wife Messalina executed in 48 AD. He had Poppaea's son by her first marriage killed. Poppaea's next husband was Otho, a childhood friend of Nero. According to the stories told of her, Poppaea had urged Nero to kill his mother, Agrippina the Younger, and to divorce and later murder his first wife, Octavia. Augustus forces you to marry his daug… So Nero had him castrated and took him as his bride. Octavia was the daughter of the Roman Emperor Claudius and his wife Messalina. Upon the death of Claudius, she at once had Nero proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard, whose prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus, was her partisan; the Senate thus had to accept a fait accompli. Nero proclaimed her divine. It was then that the infamous same-sex marriage took place. He was even said to have dressed one of his enslaved males as Poppaea so he could believe she had not died. Nero appointed Otho to an important post as governor of Lusitai (Lusitania). The opera focuses on the replacement of Nero's wife Octavia by Poppaea. And he had your father executed. He wed Pythagoras in a formal same-sex wedding by first putting on a bridal veil that made Nero the "bride" and Pythagoras the "groom." Even still some argue that she died as a result of childbirth or miscarriage. Nero also inaugurated competitions in poetry, in the theatre, and in athletics as counterattractions to gladiatorial combats. By now Seneca felt that he had lost all influence over Nero, and he retired after Burrus’s death in 62. Her paternal grandfather, Poppaeus Sabinus, was a Roman Consul and a friend of several emperors. Then in 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome broke out. He married Poppaea in 62, but she died in 65, and he subsequently married the patrician lady Statilia Messalina. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina married her uncle, Emperor Claudius, in 49 AD. According to ancient texts, Nero killed his own mother. The testimony of contemporaries depicts Nero at this time as a handsome young man of fine presence but with soft, weak features and a restless spirit. To the Romans these antics seemed to be scandalous breaches of civic dignity and decorum. Wikimedia Commons Emperor Nero took the young boy Sporus as his bride in 67 A.D. Roman Emperor, 54-68 AD. Nero even dreamed of abandoning the throne of Rome in order to fulfill his poetical and musical gifts, though he did not act on these puerile ambitions. While directing the government themselves, Burrus and Seneca had largely left Nero uncontrolled to pursue his own tastes and pleasures. He married Poppaea in 62, but she died in 65, and he subsequently married the patrician… He became infamous for his personal debaucheries and extravagances and, on doubtful evidence, for his burning of Rome and persecutions of Christians. After poisoning her second husband, Agrippina incestuously became the wife of her uncle, the emperor Claudius, and persuaded him to favour Nero for the succession, over the rightful claim of Claudius’s own son, Britannicus, and to marry his daughter, Octavia, to Nero. This Roman historian also villified Poppaea in his writing about her. At first Nero hated signing death sentences, and the extortions of Roman tax collectors upon the populace led him in 58 to unrealistically suggest that the customs dues should be abolished. However, Nero’s second marriage wasn’t happy. As Nero was older than Claudius’ natural son by a previous marriage, Britannicus, he now had a superb claim to the imperial purple. Artistic pretensions and irresponsibility, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nero-Roman-emperor, JewishEncyclopedia.com - Biography of Nero, Jewish Virtual Library - Biography of Nero, Public Broadcasting Service - Biography of Nero, Nero - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Two Sides to Every Story. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? He may have been a puer delicatus, who were sometimes castrated in an effort to preserve their youthful qualities. Believed that he could sing Gaul into submission—his enemies became bolder know if you have suggestions to this. 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