NERO and CALIGULA
Posted 11 March 2003 - 09:30 PM
Claudius Nero Caesar, born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, Roman Emperor (from 54 AD to 68 AD) - great-great-grandson of Augustus and step-brother to Britannicus.
Ahenobarbus (Nero) was the son of Agrippina the younger, 4th wife of Claudius Nero Germanicus, who had adopted him just before his death (which is considered the result of a manoeuvre by Agrippina and Seneca, Nero's tutor) most probably to ensure his succession.
After the start of Nero's rule, Agrippina became more favorable towards Britannicus, legitimate son of Claudius, but Britannicus was soon killed (AD 55 - it is suspected that Sextus Afranius Burrus, praefectus preatorianus and good friend of Seneca, was somehow involved in this murder), and Agrippina's power declined. Burrus and Seneca together became the most influential men in Rome, and the hypothesis has been advanced that Nero was only their man of straw.
Nero is probably better known for his private life, which has been considered immoral by the judgement of many cultures. Nero's reign, garnished with a constellation of murders and immoral (in mentioned sense) behaviours of all the figures involved, is not among the brightest pages of Roman history.
The first scandal coincides with his first marriage with his step-sister Octavia, daughter of Claudius, considered incestuous; Nero later divorced her when he became fascinated by Poppaea. Poppaea, who was described as a notably beautiful woman and later married Nero, was simultaneously involved in a love affair with Marcus Salvius Otho, a good and intimate friend of Nero himself; Otho was as dissolute as Nero. The gossip about this presumed triangle is to be found in many sources (Plutarch Galba 19.2-20.2; Suetonius Otho 3.1-2; Tacitus two versions: Histories 1.13.3-4; Annals 13.45-46; and Dio Cassius 61.11.2-4). However, Poppaea became Nero's mistress in 58 and is supposed having organised Agrippina's murder (59) with Nero's acquiescence. Otho was soon (59) sent to Lusitania as governor, and this has been interpreted as an effect of his involvement in the affair.
In 62 Burrus died and Seneca retired; Nero remained without his counselors; a few months later he married Poppaea. One theory suggests that Poppaea attempted, in those four years (58-62), to separate Nero from any of his counselors and friends; in this case, what happened to Burrus and Seneca could have been not casual.
Soon Nero found a new counselor in Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus (previously exiled by Caligula for adultery with Agrippina), soon appointed a praetorian praefect; one of the earliest effects of Tigellinus' advancement was the introduction of a series of treason laws; lots of capital sentences were executed.
In 63 Nero and Poppaea had a daughter, who died very young.
The Burning of Rome (64) is traditionally considered as Nero's work, but there is no real evidence for this. Rome was severely damaged by this fire, which started at night in densely populated areas like the Suburra, in which had been built the insulae, sort of modern condominiums on 3 or 4 floors, made of wood. Legend says Nero, quite indifferent, was playing his lyra on top of Quirinale Hill, while the town was being destroyed.
After the burning, Rome was rebuilt, and Nero is supposed to have played a leading role in the reconstruction; it was now that the building of his famous Domus Aurea began.
In 65 Nero was involved in another scandal, considered more serious by contemporary society than it would be now. It was considered shameful for a Roman emperor to appear as a public entertainer, acting, singing and playing his lyre.
Quite unanimously hated by citizens, with an increasing list of political enemies, Nero started to appreciate his loneliness when in 65 he discovered the Pisonian conspiracy (named after Gaius Calpurnius Piso, who intended taking his place) and the involving of old friends like Seneca in the plot. Conspirators were forced into suicide.
In addition, Nero ordered that Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, a popular and valuable general, commit suicide because of the mere suspicion of new threats. This decision moved military commanders, locally and in the provinces, to start planning a revolution. Also at about this time, according to tradition, Nero personally ordered the crucifixion of Saint Peter and, later, the beheading of Saint Paul.
In 66 Poppaea died, supposedly by the hand of Nero himself. The emperor left for Greece, in 67, where he amused his hosts with other artistic performances, while in Rome Nymphidius (a colleague of Tigellinus, taking the place of one of the Pisonian conspirators) was collecting the support of praetorians and senators.
Back in Rome after the tourn?e, Nero found a quite cold atmosphere; Gaius Iulius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, revolted, and this brought Nero to a paranoid hunt for eventual threats; in this state of mind he ordered the elimination of any patrician with suspect ideas. His (once) faithful servant Galba, governor of Iberia (Spain), was one of those dangerous nobles, so he ordered his death. Galba, lacking an alternative choice, declared his loyalty to the Roman Senate and People (SPQR), no longer recognising Nero's power. Moreover, he started organising his own campaign for the empire.
As a result, Lucius Clodius Macer, legate of the III legio Augusta in Africa, revolted and stopped sending grain to Rome. Nymphidius corrupted the imperial guard, which turned against Nero on the promise of financial reward by Galba.
The Senate deposed Nero, who committed suicide on June 6, 68. With his death, the Julio Claudian Gens had came to an end.
Posted 11 March 2003 - 09:33 PM
Gaius Caesar Germanicus (August 31, 12 - January 15, 41), also known as Gaius Caesar or Caligula, was a Roman emperor who reigned 37-41. Known for his extremely extravagant and sometimes cruel despotism, he was assassinated in 41 by several of his own guards.
He was the son of the popular general Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. As a boy, he accompanied his parents on military expeditions and would wear soldier's boots around the camp, hence the nick name Caligula (Latin: "little boots" or "bootsie"). Through his mother he was the great-grandson of the emperor Augustus, through his father the great-grandson of Augustus's wife Livia. See the Julio-Claudian Family Tree.
Most of the information about Caligula comes from sources biased against him, mainly from the historian Suetonius.
After the death of Tiberius in 37, Caligula became emperor. He probably had an incestuous relationship with his sister Drusilla. In 38 he had his former supporter and powerful head of the guard Naevius Sutorius Macro executed; he also had the grandson of Tiberius, Gmellus killed. Caligula claimed to be a god. After having squandered the state's finances on generous rewards for the military and pompous games, he extorted money from the Roman aristocracy and established a state brothel. Suetonius also relates his extraordinary fondness of his horse Incitatus.
A famous motto of his was oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate so long as they fear", a saying attributed to Lucius Accius).
In 39, Caligula suppressed a revolt among his troops on the Upper Rhine and marched on to the northern coast of France, apparently in order to invade Britain. Instead, he ordered his troops to shoot into the waters and collect seashells.
When he was assassinated, his wife Caesonia and their infant daughter were also killed.
previous emperor Tiberius (14 - 37)
following emperor: Claudius (41 - 54)
Ludwig Quidde's essay Caligula. Eine Studie uber romischen Caesarenwahnsinn (Caligula: A Study of Imperial Insanity) (1894), in which Caligula is likened to the German Emperor Wilhelm II.
Caligula is the title of a play by Albert Camus, which was the basis for a 1996 Hungarian movie and the 2001 made for TV version.
Caligula is also a controversial movie in 1979 about the emperor starring Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Sir John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole, among others, directed by Tinto Brass, and produced by Penthouse magazine's Bob Guccione. The movie, based on a novel by Gore Vidal, was unrated when shown in theaters because it contained several scenes with sexually explicit content, including orgies and masturbation. It was highly controversial, and considered by some objectors to be pornographic and would almost certainly have received an X rating.
Posted 14 June 2004 - 06:07 AM
Called a half-wit once, he responded"
"I may be a half wit, but I have survived to middle age while all those with full wits did not.
Quality is more important than quantity."
Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:54 PM
Originally posted by liberation
Rome- bruatalised and subjugated the intellectually and culturally superior Greeks, wiped out the high civilisation named Carthage, desecrated and enslaved the proto-urban and increasingly advanced Celtic race and then was over run by Germanic barbarians that spread a dark age throughout Europe.
Good riddance to the destroyer of worlds.
Quoque tu Brutu Fili me
Also you Brutus my son
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