The Ultimate Bad Rap: Emperor Nero, the Great Populist, Savior of the Ancient City of Rome


‘What an artist the world is losing.’ –– Nero’s last words

Ranking high on the list of historical figures subjected to memory sanctions and false hidden histories is Roman Emperor Nero (0037-0068 A.D.). Nero was a populist, an authoritarian ruler, who appealed directly to the people (plebs). He bypassed and circumvented the elite oligarchs of Rome. He also got on the wrong side of the budding Jewish sect, later to be known as Christianity. He sent an army to deal with Jewish zealots as the first Roman-Jewish War erupted (0066 – 0073 A.D.). These groups largely controlled the presentation of Nero’s history for the next two millennia.

Bad Rap No. 1: Murder of His Mother, the Treacherous Agrippina

Relations between mother and son had deteriorated almost from the moment the cold and domineering Agrippina had engineered her teen-aged son’s accession as emperor in 0054. A letter to the senate from Nero explained everything after her death: Checked in the sharing the emperor’s power, Agrippina had insulted the senate and the soldiers, endangered the leading men of state, and sent a freedman with a dagger to murder her son after a banquet. For these, and many other crimes, her death had been for the common good.

Nero professed that he had acted more in sorrow than in anger, he claimed that his sleep was now disturbed by horrifying dreams, and to the bafflement of hostile historians he showed extreme leniency toward anyone who dared criticize his deed in public. He did not try to hide the murder. He agreed that he was guilty, and he took to the stage in the role of Orestes to defend himself.

A Civic-Minded Artist and World-Class Builder

The baths of Nero were built in 0062 A.D. and covered an area of about 190 by 120 meters. It became a focal point and social center for all the people of Rome regardless of class and endured until the fifth century.

In 0064 A.D., Rome was poor, overcrowded, poorly built with wood and cheaply built dwellings. It was a disaster waiting to happen. On the night of July 18-19, 0064, the city began to burn fiercely. More than half of Rome was destroyed over nine days.

Nero returned to Rome to organize a relief effort, which he paid for from his own funds. Nero’s contributions to the relief extended to personally taking part in the search for and rescue of victims of the blaze, spending days combing through the debris without even his bodyguards. After the fire, Nero opened his palaces to provide shelter for the homeless and arranged for food supplies to be delivered in order to prevent starvation among the survivors.

Bad Rap No. 2: Nero Started The Great Fire and Persecuted the Proto-Judaeo Christian Sect for No Good Reason

This is a recurring theme that is glossed over throughout history. Both Judaism and its offshoot, Christianity then and now, have history-influencing, crackpot, apocalyptic, end-of-world elements that historians ignore. Professor Gerhard Baudy of the University of Konstanz in Germany spent 15 years studying ancient apocalyptic prophecies. He has learned that in Rome, proto-Christians were circulating vengeful texts predicting that a raging inferno would reduce the city to ashes.

“In all of these oracles, the destruction of Rome by fire is prophesied,” Baudy explains. “That is the constant theme: Rome must burn.

Moreover, the Book of Revelation, written a mere 30 years later, seems to equate evil with Rome. An ancient Egyptian prophecy that would have been well-known in the Judeo- proto-Christian quarters of Rome foretold the fall of the great evil city on the day that the dog star, Sirius, rises. In 0064 A.D., Sirius rose on July 19, the very day the great fire of Rome started.

Nothing like helping the prophecy along. The proto-Jewish Christian sect likely started the fire (at the Circus Maximus) in a tinderbox city ready to burn down anyway. The historian Tacitus wrote, “Nobody dared fight the fires, and were opposed by menacing gangs.” And Tacitus, who was no friend of Nero, called the sect “a most mischievous superstition.” The now-inverted, warped history that portrays the Judeo- proto-Christians as gentle, benign people couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the Romans’ eyes, they were dealing with yet another troublesome and dangerous Jewish cult. In addition, the eastern Mediterranean was aflame with what conventional history calls “zealots,” ultimately leading up to the first Roman-Jewish War of 0066 – 0073. Nero pointed the finger at the fire’s culprits and proceeded to bring justice against this abhorrent hateful sect by executing and persecuting them.

Two years later, he sent legions east to crush the zealots. This decisive antipathy toward Jews and proto-Christians earned Nero the smear of 666, The Beast.

Actions Speak Louder than Words: Nero Rebuilds a More Modern, Enduring City

While his enemies and detractors schemed, plotted and spread rumors against him, Nero provided, mostly out of his own pocket, extensive and even heroic measures to relieve widespread suffering and to resurrect the city on a much sounder basis and with a strict and sensible building code.

Nero as a designer was very hands on and worked alongside the best builders of the era, or any era. Brick-faced concrete was developed, and soon it was produced all over the Roman Empire on an industrial scale. A modern building code was put in place. Houses built after the fire were properly spaced and faced by porticoes on wide streets and roads.

Unwilling to Bow to Rich Oligarchs at the Expense of the People

To summon the necessary funds for the reconstruction, tributes were imposed on the provinces of the empire, and the elites were levied. The cost to rebuild Rome was immense, requiring funds the state treasury did not have. Nero conducted a controlled emergency devaluation of the Roman currency for the first time in the Empire’s history.

An empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes that was much resented by the upper classes.

Bad Rap No. 3: Nero Used a 3rd of Rome’s Land to Build His Own Private Palace, The Domus Aurea

Nero also built a new palace complex known as The Domus Aurea (also called The Golden House) in an area cleared by the fire. The Domus Aurea included lush landscapes and parks. A lake was developed on the site of today’s Colosseum. Sadly, within just 40 years of Nero’s passing, The Golden House was completely obliterated.

The Colossus of Nero was eventually moved to the Colosseum and renamed for the Roman sun god.

Professor Edward Champlin, writing in “Nero, Reconsidered,” deconstructs the bum rap about Nero being selfish and puts it to rest. Certainly Nero at this point was a megalomaniac and built a 30-meter-tall statue of himself, the Colossus of Nero. But architecture has always been used by effective leaders to project power. Champlain explains:

Nero’s Golden House and its park had always been essentially open to the public. I think that this is right, for all sorts of reasons. When the graffito said that one house was taking over Rome, it was merely distorting something Nero himself had proclaimed just before the Fire: he meant to treat the whole city as his house and the citizens as his closest friends – that is, the intention was to include, not exclude, everyone. To the annoyance of the aristocracy, Nero was in fact positioning himself as the great patron and friend of his people, offering them banquets all over the city and grand public spectacles in the theater, in the circus, in the forum, and now in his own home.

Ultimately, the elitists in the Roman Senate unified in a scheme to depose Nero in 0068 A.D., and he committed suicide. His downfall may have been signaled by too many gestures of mercy and lack of ruthlessness against his enemies. This is typified by what was thought to be a mad speech about Gaul to the Senate. Nero in his own wonderful theatrical way was suggesting friendship, collaboration and the tool of high culture might work better than bloodshed.

Contemporary Views About Nero

The smear version of history of Nero that we all grew up with is well known. But other than his enemies, who rewrote the history, what did his contemporaries say?

The “Annals” by Tacitus (c. 0056 – 0117) is the most detailed and comprehensive history on the rule of Nero. By Tacitus’ own admission, he owed much to Nero’s rivals. Realizing that this bias may be glaringly apparent to others of that age, Tacitus doth-protests-too-loudly that his writing is true.

Tacitus mentions that Nero’s death was welcomed by Senators, nobility and the upper class. He then grudgingly admits the lower-class, the slaves, the frequenters of the arena and the theater and “those who were supported by the famous excesses of Nero,” on the other hand, were very upset with the news.

Members of the military were said to have mixed feelings, as they had allegiance to Nero but had been bribed to overthrow him.

Lucanus (c. 0039 – 0065) has one of the kindest accounts of Nero’s rule. He writes of peace and prosperity under Nero in contrast to previous war and strife.

Philostratus II in the Athenian (c. 0172 – 0250) spoke of Nero in the “Life of Apollonius Tyana“(Books IV – V). Though he has a generally bad or dim view of Nero, he speaks of others’ positive reception of Nero, especially in the Hellenic East.

Josephus (c. 0037 – 0100), while calling Nero a tyrant, was also the first to mention bias against Nero. Of other historians, he addressed the concept of ignoring original research and just circle jerking the same historical script. Nero revisionism was suppressed.

But I omit any further discourse about these affairs; for there have been a great many who have composed the history of Nero; some of which have departed from the truth of facts out of favour, as having received benefits from him; while others, out of hatred to him, and the great ill-will which they bore him, have so impudently raved against him with their lies, that they justly deserve to be condemned. Nor do I wonder at such as have told lies of Nero, since they have not in their writings preserved the truth of history as to those facts that were earlier than his time, even when the actors could have no way incurred their hatred, since those writers lived a long time after them.

The Nero Redivivus Legend

There is further evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners, especially in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as “Nero reborn,” to enlist popular support.

This popular belief started during the last part of the first century. The legend of Nero was so strong that it persisted as a common belief as late as the fifth century.

Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine) wrote that some believed “he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom.”

Dio Chrysostom, a Greek philosopher and historian, wrote, “Seeing that even now everybody wishes [Nero] were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he still is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive.”

27 Comments on The Ultimate Bad Rap: Emperor Nero, the Great Populist, Savior of the Ancient City of Rome

  1. “The now inverted, warped history that portrays the Judeo proto-Christians as gentle, benign people couldn’t be further from the truth.”
    Yep, and they got theirs in 70A.D. when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Early “Christians” believed the book of Revelations was the foretelling of this event, and therefore all things foretold there have ALREADY HAPPENED.
    Joseph Atwill believes that the gospels(new testament) are simply the history of Titus Military campaign and the destruction of the second temple, and were not written by the early Christians but by the Romans themselves. After reading his book “Caesars Messiah” I must say I tend to agree.
    And now we stand at the precipice of more death and destruction thanks to these same religious zealots as we watch events play out in Jerusalem and Palestine this very day. When will we learn?

  2. Gerhard Baudy’s analysis is most likely the correct one – that Jews/Christians resident in Rome deliberately burned the city. Nero certainly took this view. He could not very well prosecute Jews for the crime, as his own wife, Poppaea, was Jewish, but the Christians definitely took the rap.

  3. The only alleged ‘christians’ or ‘jews’ still living in or around Jerusalem at this time were “Edomites”. Converts to Israelite religion. Thus it would make sense that those pesky jews were simply the same pesky creatures we are still dealing with today — Edomites/Canaanites; Khazars and Sephardi.

    • But we are talking about Rome, not Jerusalem , correct? Still, I think that true Christians were not involved in the political system or trying to overthrow it. It’s easy to blame anyone that is convenient.. As we see constantly today. It would have been easy for Romans to frame christians, or Jewish rebels , etc.
      The book of Revelation is mostly symbolic, and contains no dates, AND the early Christians knew that God hated astrology so they would not have used to to make predictions.

      • In 64 AD the early proto-Christian religion was just one more in a series of Jewish Messanic movements the Romans has already dealt with and would continue to deal with. They would not have made any particular distinction.

        Mention of Christ in contemporary Roman histories didn’t occur until Josephus mentioned it in a peculiar off handed way in 73 AD, “the stoning of “James the brother of Jesus” (James the Just) by order of Ananus ben Ananus, a Herodian-era High Priest.”

      • Rome — there would not have been very man self-identifying ‘christians’ in Rome. However, there would have been “Edomites” in Rome infiltrating and subverting as they always do. Not very many Israelites returned to Palestine during the time of Jesus. The majority of Israelites had already dispersed into Europe and Western Europe by this time.
        ‘Jew’ and ‘Israelite’ is not synonymous. Pretty much whenever the Scriptures speak of ‘jews’, it is referring to Edomite converts.
        If you are interested theologically, check out — “Who is Esau-Edom” by the late Charles Weisman. A free pdf exists online.

      • “The book of Revelation is mostly symbolic”

        Who told you this?

        It’s full of A.I. predictions and very astonishing cosmic events that can be confirmed by science (think Wormwood, and Robert Harrington and our second sun). No one in the ancient world could think of a global system of total tracking and surveillance other than from divine influence, and John makes crystal clear the prophecy of the ‘mark’, something of which could have never happened before without high technology.

  4. A much needed article Russ, which deserves much more reception than it currently has. Nero certainly wasn’t a Donald Trump populist type, as he set himself against the Jewish “nation” by ordering it’s suppression.

    A man who has been thoroughly trained in architecture cannot conceivably renege on his training, unless he turns insane, which is extremely unlikely (as he has cultivated an instinct for beauty) and which is an accusation often used as a convenient tool of slander by his enemies. There was no one better suited than Otto Wagner, in his book Modern Architecture, to describe the life and pursuit of the architect. He leaves no room for the destructive tendency. The Jew Lombroso was the one who introduced the ridiculous idea that a man can be both insane and a genius at the same time.

    Also consider how Seneca was undoubtedly a good influence on Nero, as his letters sufficiently demonstrate. The myth that he had Seneca, his own mentor, put to death is almost maddening. If that were Dietrich Eckart and Hitler, no one in their right mind would believe it.

    Mostly notably, all the Roman emperors before Nero had despised foreign cults, Nero was no exception to this. In putting down the Jewish rebellion, he demonstrates that he hadn’t deviated from the policies set by his predecessors (Tiberius, Claudius, Caligula), who tried to diminish Jewish influence by various means (expulsions, defiling the temple, physically weakening Jews by introducing them to mild climates), and later successors.

    It should be obvious to most thinking people today that the Jew Chrestus (mentioned during the reign of Claudius by Suetonius) and the sect Chrestians are two peas in a pod, later modified by early Jewish-Christians to refer to Jesus and Christians and Porcius Festus was substituted by Pontius Pilate, all this in order to establish a Christian presence in the first three centuries (other interpolations are found in the writings of Pliny, Longinus, the Jew Josephus, Aurelius) and to scream persecution (they did, after all, the exaggerate the losses from Diocletian’s persecution).

  5. Some say the Book of Revelation was written in the 90s AD by John the Apostle, which is likely impossible since he would have been imprisoned on Patmos in his late 80s (he was born likely around between 10 and 20 AD since as an Apostle he began as a teenager and was the youngest of Christ’s Apostles). The Preterists (all things fulfilled folks) claim it was written around the time of John’s release from Patmos in 68 AD when Nero was dethroned. (Roman law was that when the Emperor who imprisoned someone died or was deposed, anyone imprisoned under that Emperor was released.) I’d agree with the Preterists on this one. the 70AD event did fulfill some of Christ’s prophesies, but not all of them. As for “Christians” burning Rome, it could be, since at John’s death and Paul’s and the others killings by the Romans (likely), it was then that Christianity started to “fall away” so to speak. Though I believe in Christ, I do not do religion…and I’m not the only one who thinks this way! All religion is, is man-made doctrines.

  6. “Both Judaism and its offshoot, Christianity then and now, have history-influencing, crackpot, apocalyptic, end-of-world elements that historians ignore.”
    Almost 2000 years later and these crackpots are still running the world, and would gladly do to the entire world today what they did to Rome in 64 AD. Unreal!!

  7. (((ADL))) added “bowl cut” style haircuts to its “hate symbols” list. Nero has the Ultimate bowl cut. Fits in with the “hate” jews had for Rome and, IMO the same “hate” the jews have for the USA today, i.e. jew impeachment circus.

  8. ‘What an artist the world is losing.’

    Speaking as a professional artist of much success until blindness did me in, if Rembrandt himself said that to me I’d hope to vomit in his face.

    Does the conceit escape Winter Watch?

    I hail from an Irish/Norweigian Freemason family who exalt themselves for their intelligence – mathematical brilliance in particular. Shattered math test scores – a people of record-setting genius, many triumphantly strode into the Ivy League embrace. Most were conceited pricks who behaved despicably towards their own kin. Their raw intelligence and subsequent conceit blinded them to triflings such as morality.

    Conceit destroys family every time. Yet we are bidden here to genuflect before sheer intelligence as though it were a virtue?

    What is our great international problem with the Screws (those embracing “Jewishness” with satanic intention): they are, in fact, far more intelligent than the public.

    So WTF are we doing exalting the “great minds” who are our destroyers? US edumacation bids us to venerate our very destroyers. We thought we’d found respite on Winter Watch. Have we come so far up the Matterhorn of understanding world events only to be dashed against this fecal crag Nero?

    An aspect of Nero’s imperial “populism” was his penchant for self-expression on the lute – probably much of the basis for “artistic” pride. He strode into the contests to show off as a bard. Although by most accounts he had talent in inverse ratio to ambition. No problem: he always won. To withhold applause might be fatal among the audience.

    He would have been right at home with the self-adulating hijinx at deafening decibel levels known as rock and roll concerts (doesn’t the worshipful format of the inebriated masses facing a stage disturb anyone else?). Chopin trodden underfoot by Frankfurt School-drenched US academia, the entire Romantic movement banished from mention at university level. Much rock is all about idolatry, music be damned. Music you can play while drunk.

    When – not if – Nero returns, expect him in such a setting.

    “There shall certainly be a resurrection both of the righteous and the wicked.” Acts 24:15

    Babylon too. En masse. One and the same horde who in their prior incarnation as Chaldea twice leveled the Temple in Jerusalem.

    Older editions of the Encyclopedia outline ancient belief that Nero was previously Nebuchadnezzar.

    A uniquely informative page online once described the heads on the beast as referring to prior and subsequent reincarnations of a same ruler.

    For the scholarly, this discussion of past/future reincarnation has conflated (Vatican take a bow – dominionist Christendom here’s your laurel wreath) separate issues – the resurrection OF the dead freely confused with resurrection FROM the dead. Read New testament scripture in languages other than English – in which verbs denoting case have all but perished. Romance languages have a finely nuanced system of case in verb usage. A review of the two phrases reveals that ‘resurrection OF the dead’ is written in the imperative. ‘Resurrection FROM the dead’ is subjunctive. The first is mandated for every soul. The second is conditional, said of the post-mortem transformation of Christ as physically immortal.

    Whole societies reincarnate en masse. Babylon serves as the chosen universal object lesson on karma. When the world realizes there is a rigorously reciprocal payday for what is done in life, people will be inclined to make more careful choices. A natural morality.

    Imposters among the Jews have been ubiquitous. If those who burned Rome had any idea of the true law of God – karma – they would likely have made different choices than to harm the innocent.

    Whether acknowledged or not, the pedophocracy is the ultimate edition of Babylon. Winter Watch has them in the crosshairs. They are now trenching in underground. They will fall by their own devices. In this age of high tech it is not difficult to imagine transhumanized bodies twitching forever in fiery trenches. A centerpiece will be the megalomaniac Nero, returned to demonstrate to the world what a star he is.

    Foisted with his own canard of artistic conceit.


  9. I can pretty much guarantee that no one will like my comment, but it’s just historical fact:
    Nero was the first emperor to persecute the gentle Christian faith, and did so at the insistence of his own Hebrew “seers”, who complained that Christian prayers were interfering with their “reading the entrails” of butchered sacrifices. They told Nero he would be “World Ruler” only if he moved his capital to Jerusalem (sound familiar?), but the Roman Senate resisted, so he burned down Rome to change their minds.
    In order to deflect public suspicion of his guilt, he followed his Hebrew seers in blaming the Christians for the fire, torturing and killing them in the most sadistic ways, including the Apostles Peter and Paul.
    He even went to Jerusalem and secretly converted to Judaism, hoping the Jews would reward him with huge amounts of cash, but they refused, and he went back to Rome empty-handed.
    Rome was also falsely blamed for the Jewish-Roman War, which was started by the barbaric Jewish murder of St. James Son of Alphaeus, First Bishop of Jerusalem, who bent over backwards all his life to please the Jews. But they are never satisfied, and when they finally demanded that he renounce Christ, he bravely refused, so they threw him off a parapet, and when he didn’t die from the fall, they beat him to death with fullers’ clubs on the ground.
    They then attacked all the “Gentiles” in Jerusalem, trying to drive out the Greeks, Christians and everyone else, which brought down the wrath of Vespasian. The Christians fled to the mountains, following Christ’s command, because they thought it was the end of the world.
    Now… Who helped Nero burn down 70% of the whole city of Rome? He couldn’t do it all himself, and he couldn’t use the army, who might disobey his orders or betray him to the Senate. So who do you think helped Nero set fire to Rome? Who wanted him to move his capital to Jerusalem, to fulfil their prophecy of the AntiChrist “World Ruler”? And who has been suggesting moving the Papal Throne to Jerusalem, and moving the Embassies of various countries to Jerusalem?

    • For a guy like Russ Winters to be so completely ‘unaware’ of Christianity’s origins and evidence for authenticity of Jesus, his resurrection, the Bible’s CLEAR INSTRUCTION to LOVE your enemies IF you claim to be a Christ follower etc speaks to me of one who wants to believe what he wants to believe because he doesn’t want to believe the truth lest it cause him to re-examine his life

    • I agree–good post. Jews were the first persecutors of Christians (see The Acts of the Apostles, and letters of Paul). They then used their influence over the Roman leadership to move them to persecute Christians.

  10. Bertrand Comparet said that Rabbi S. Wise said it so well he couldn’t improve on it: The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism.
    Christianity it not an offshoot of Judaism and “Judeo-Christian” is an oxymoron.

  11. All these opinions derived from endless semitic readings casting doubt on the Perfect Standard -no wonder Jesus (the nonsemite) held up the ‘preschooler’ as a model of trust in Him!

  12. Nero and Caligula were both attempting to reign in the corruption that had led to Octavian’s seizure of power. They ran up against the Phoenecians and were posthumously tarred as maniacal tyrants.

  13. What is a “proto-Christian?” These would have been people that were alive or known someone who had personally seen Christ. They knew the faith.

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