Assess The Impact Of Nero’s Principate on Rome
Nero was 17 when he ascended the throne in AD 54, after the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of his adopted father, Claudius. During the first few years of reign, Nero ruled Rome with efficiency and effectiveness, with the guidance of those closest to him. However, it is generally agreed that Nero’s instantaneous descent commenced when he committed matricide 59 AD. It is during this period, where the Ancient writers focus their attention to Nero, as his madness conforms with their endeavour to present the Julio-Claudian rulers as depraved and tyrannical. Portrayals of his madness include his murder of the imperial family and his persecution of Christians. His destruction of Rome continued until AD 68, where he committed assisted suicide, thus ending the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Nero’s ruling of Rome, falls into two distinct halves. Nero’s first half is deemed to be the good half, where there was efficency, prosperity and Justice, served throughout Rome and its Provinces. Nero’s efficent ruling was due to the influences of his mother Agrippina, and his two most trusted advisors, Seneca and Burrus. Although Nero had a passion for acting and music, he was not overly self-obsessed which appears as one of his negative traits during the following half of his reign. Agrippina had much influence over his governing which is described through Suetonius’ quote “...he turned over all his public and private affairs to Agrippina’s management”. His password for the Praetorian Guard was “Optima Mater” (the best of mothers) and Agrippina’s appearance on coins, reflect on her positive influence over him. However, Nero came to resent his mother’s interference with his politics, and by AD 59, had her successfully removed after many failed attempts on her life. The other attributes to Nero’s first half of his reign, are his advisors, Seneca and Burrus. Seneca was Nero’s former tutor and responsible for Nero’s initial...
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