On This Day: June 9th

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Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide on the 9th of June in the year 68. Nero was part of the Julio-Claudian dynasty which referred to the first five emperors of Rome beginning with Augustus, Nero was like most of the dynasty not a direct heir and was the adopted successor of his grand-uncle Claudius. He became emperor in the year 54 and ruled to his death which ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and actually began a power struggle known as the Year of the Four Emperors, the first civil war in Rome since the death of Mark Anthony. Nero’s suicide came after a false report of him being denounced as a public enemy who was to be executed, he forced his private secretary, Epaphroditos to kill him in a panic. The suicide followed a number of rebellions in Roman provinces notably Vindex in Gaul and Galba in Hispania, Galba actually became the first emperor in the troubled Year of the Four Emperors.

Nero’s legacy is that resembling a tyrant, at the time of his reign he faced open revolt in key Roman provinces and according to the historian Tacitus he was viewed by the Roman people as compulsive and corrupt. During his time as emperor however a number of key events did occur such as peace being gained with the Parthian Empire, the First Jewish-Roman War, and notably the Great Fire of Rome, many Romans believed that Nero actually started the fire. Nero’s rule overall though is associated with tyranny. He is known for many executions, including that of his mother, the probable murder by poison of his stepbrother Britannicus, and his extreme persecutions of the Christians, the religion later adopted by the Roman Empire.

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