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Was Nero an arsonist?

The most known fact of the reign of Nero was the fire of Rome in 64 AD, which, according to the black legend, was provoked by the emperor himself. Today, it is put in doubt.

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Was Nero an arsonist?
Was Nero an arsonist?

The most known fact of the reign of Nero was the fire of Rome in 64 AD, which according to black legend and some historians was provoked by the emperor himself, something that today is questioned.

The fire broke out in the tents surrounding the Circus Maximus on the morning of July 18, while Nero enjoyed his summer retreat in Anzio. Upon hearing the news, he rode 40 km to the capital and watched the flames devouring it from the top of the Quirinale (according to legend, he would have played the lyre while the city burned).

The truth is that the thickness of the fire lasted five days and destroyed two thirds of Rome, including 132 private villas and 4,000 neighboring houses. His origin could not be proved, which the emperor attributed to the Christians and used as an excuse to persecute them.

Nor is it clear that Nero was responsible. In fact, he ordered to build barracks to house the victims and rebuilt the city, taking measures to prevent a new fire. Of course, his building plan as well as the circus shows and the grain he distributed among his people were financed by the looting of Italy and the provinces.

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