History. Yes, I will talk about history, but in an absolutely new way. I will deal with uncomfortable characters, who are still scary today.
So who could I start with if not Nero?
The emperor who set fire to Rome, considered bad enough to have the verb black be coined, who sang as if he had a toad in his throat, who tortured and killed anyone who disliked him.
IT’S NOT TRUE!!!
It was born in 37 A.D. from Agrippina a very noble young woman with an iron character. She got it into her head that her son was to become emperor and nobody stopped her …
He marries his uncle, Claudio, clumsy, stammering and cruel, and has his son adopted, in spite of Britannico who was the natural son, had by his legitimate wife Messalina, who was not at all that woman of easy virtue we are talking about. But that’s not all. She turns to Locusta, the greatest poisoner of all time, and asks him to prepare a powerful poison to put in the mushrooms, which her husband liked so much. Claudio eats them and dies (perhaps later due to a poisoned pen sunk in his throat). The British himself will die from poison (or from an epileptic seizure) and so the terrible mother has the free field and Nero becomes emperor at only 17 years old in 54 AD.
Do you think it will stop here? No, my dear. Here she is committed to bringing that hypocrite Seneca back from exile to Corsica to be the teacher of Nero. Thus the poor boy found himself squeezed between a tyrannical mother and a very severe philosopher (“he preaches well, but scratches badly”, the sources write). And it will be this saint’s shin, as you say in Rome, that will convince Nero to kill his mother who had become dangerous, because crazy as she was, she wanted to make emperor a relative she had fallen in love with. Then let’s face it … Seneca wanted to be the only one to lead Nero … and, moreover, after a few years he will participate in a conspiracy to kill him.
After Agrippina’s death and Seneca’s departure, Nero is finally free to show his character and do great things.
Help the people and low income people with many laws. The most revolutionary of all is to reduce the weight of coins, without changing their purchasing power (therefore more money in circulation!) To the aid of modest families, but contrary to the ideas of the senators. It prevents tax evasion and triples government revenues! He himself contributes 60 million sesterces. All this money was used to donate wheat to those who needed it, for pensions, salaries and the necessary donations for emergencies.
He also loved Greece and hated the cruelty of the shows that took place in the amphitheaters, so much so that he introduced sports and poetry competitions. He himself was a poet, a refined collector and divinely played the hydraulic organs he invented. He loved art so much that he had an amazing house built: the Domus Aurea.
The Domus Aurea was a widespread dwelling, that is, of extraordinary dimensions, from the Palatine to S. Giovanni so to speak, and, inside, the buildings alternated with fountains, woods and lakes. It had a spa with sea and thermal water and where the Colosseum now stands there was a lake with a small port.
And it will be this house that will be singled out as the cause of the fire. To build it and to renovate Rome, it was said that the emperor had started a devastating fire.
FALSE! Nero spent that night in Anzio, and it was July 19, 64 AD, a night of full moon, so everything was visible. Nero, as soon as he heard the news, opens the gardens of his home to the survivors, orders that the wheat arrive as soon as possible, in short, he does everything he can.
In his defense it can be said that the offending Domus was partly already built, that Rome was a large squatter town, with houses as tall as our suburban apartment blocks, where the first floors were in masonry and the others in wood, attached to each other, in narrow streets where the firefighters could not pass and the flames spread quickly from house to house. The poor, who lived in rented apartments, warmed themselves with braziers and cooked on the stove, as well as lighting with oil lamps and candles. The water only reached the homes of the rich and in these barracks there was only a fountain in the courtyard. Fires were the order of the day in the city.
Nero who was a genius, after the disaster designed a master plan where the houses were no longer leaning, but separated by cavities, faced by arcades and built with fire-resistant materials. Those who used them would also have had tax relief.
This fire had happened at the right time. As it happened, Nero was achieving many military successes: he won over the king of Armenia, the English queen Boudicca, conquered all the ports of the Black Sea, sent an expedition to Ethiopia in search of the gold of Assum. These military conquests also served to discover new trade routes and enrich Rome.
So he rebuilds Rome and leaves for Greece. In Corinth he decides to start cutting the Isthmus and frees Greece from paying taxes.
When he returned, the Senate had already issued a decree in which he was declared an enemy of the fatherland and therefore anyone could kill him. To avoid this humiliation he flees from Rome and, not far away, in the poor country house of his friend Faonte he commits suicide with the sword, reciting some verses of the Iliad before dying to show the world, and us, his great humanity made of culture, genius and compassion.
Not only Nero enjoyed this bad reputation, but also his uncle Caligula … yes that madman who had made the horse a senator !!
Also on Caligula I will tell you some good ones and you will change your mind!
Raised in Capri in the house of Tiberius, the emperor who succeeded Augustus, he was the son of one of the greatest heroes of Roman history, Germanicus and Agrippina Maggiore.
Caligula as a child had followed his father and mother in the great deeds of this general. We owe precisely to her mother, a heroine always following her husband in the valiant battles, the origin of her nickname due to the decision to dress him in military armor including shoes, caligae. He also accompanied his parents to the East in Alexandria and Syria where his father, who was to become emperor, died of poisoning.
It is not the only loss, Caligula will also witness the death of his mother and brothers, wanted by the perfidious Tiberius and the ruthless Livia, his mother and wife of the late Augustus. He is the only one to save himself. On the death of Tiberius in 37 AD, Caligula was chosen as emperor by the praetorians. He is 24 years old, he already knows Greek and Latin perfectly and enjoys the affection that tied the legions to the memory of his father Germanicus, so much so that he was called a “star”, “chick”, “baby”.
What does he do immediately? He honors his murdered relatives and distances himself from the aristocracy and senators. He was formal in political relations and free within his home. He had sumptuous dinners, often with charioteers (charioteers in the circus), drank pearls dissolved in acid (like Cleopatra) to show off luxury.
He ignored the strict ceremonies to be carried out in public and loved the closeness of the people, with whom he attended the games and communicated directly.
He built two important aqueducts (the Anio Novus and the Aqua Claudia) and even before Nero had the intuition to cut the Isthmus of Corinth.
He was the subject of many conspiracies because he had unmasked the hypocrisy of the Senate, which on the one hand flattered him for benefits and promotions, on the other he wanted to see him dead.
He ignores the attempt of those who preceded him to mix monarchy and republic and makes only one choice: monarchy.
Caligula was a politician and loved ironic jokes. One of these was to invite his favorite Incitato horse to his table, deciding to make him consul. In this way, the prince made fun of those who did everything to become consuls and were certainly no better than the horse! Caligula never killed anyone, he put the senators in front of the fait accompli that only he had the power, following in the footsteps of the Greek Hellenistic rulers, as Caesar, Marcus Anthony, Octavian Augustus had done before him and Nero immediately after.
Another example of how Caligula transformed events with irreverent cynicism is the expedition to Britain (England). The legions had rebelled and refused to land, because they considered the island not belonging to the civilized world.
Caligula not only forced them to disembark, but forced them to collect shells to display in the triumph, the winners ceremony, and bestowed upon them the prizes usually accorded for a victory. Since there had been no military action and no conquest, he ridiculed them.
Many episodes told to demonstrate the emperor’s folly must be interpreted in the light of Caligula’s intelligent, refined and ironic way of doing politics.
Another gesture of humanity, perhaps mocking, but important was that of the possibility for the slave to be able to denounce his master.
It should be remembered that the slaves were continually subjected to violence and lived in miserable conditions.
Unfortunately he reigned for only four years. He was killed, in 41 A.D. with thirty stabs and with him his wife and daughter were slaughtered.
Instead, we reveal some gossip about the founder of the Empire.
Julius Caesar was born around 100 BC, from such a noble family, the Giuli, that they claimed to be descended from the goddess Venus.
Politically he was a genius and his victorious battles against Gaul, Egypt, Pontus (Black Sea) and Africa made him an invincible commander. He officially became dictator in 48 BC, even if he preferred the title of emperor and planned a vast plan of reforms, which with his death he could not carry out. Siding with the democratic party during the civil wars, he was much loved by the people, to whom he also left a conspicuous legacy. He ended his days on the Ides of March (March 15) in 44 BC, pierced by 23 stabs, helpless, in the Curia of the Theater of Pompey. The conspirators who thought they were thus gaining popular favor, after exposing the body covered in blood, had to flee.
But let’s take a step back.
Julius Caesar was a handsome twenty-year-old boy, taller than the common Roman, thin, self-confident, charismatic. Servilia, wife of Marco Giunio Bruto, is only 14 years old and falls madly in love with her, reciprocated. Furthermore, the future dictator had created a reputation for himself as a courageous revolutionary by siding against the ferocious Silla, during the civil war, who had ordered him, in vain, to leave his wife Cornelia, daughter of one of his enemies. Cesare, saved by the intercessions of his family, is forced, however, to hide and flee. Precisely in the period of his absence that Marcus Giunio Brutus will be born to whom Caesar, dying, will address his last words: “You too, Brutus, my son” which could hide not an exclamation, but a truth. In fact, the child was born when Servilia was already Giulio’s lover.
Their love story will last thirty years, even after the two marriages of Caesar and the wedding of Servilia with Silano. Not even the fascinating Cleopatra with her nuptial boat and her son Caesarion will be able to distract Cesare from Servilia.
To understand the close relationship between the two, but also the indignation and hatred of her family, opposed to Caesar, an enlightening report can be reported. In 63 BC the Senate is debating whether to condemn the conspirators who had taken part in the Catiline conspiracy to death. Caesar argues that it is illegal to sentence Roman citizens to death without trial and without the sovereign vote of the people. In this way he arouses the anger of Servilia’s half-brother, Marco Porcio Cato, who accuses him, in the meantime, of having received a suspicious message, certainly sent by the conspirators. Let’s imagine Giulio’s smile in handing the message to Marco. It was an invitation from Servilia … he had to hurry up to join her who was anxiously waiting for him !!!
In 59 BC Julius Caesar becomes consul and gives Servilia a pearl worth six million sesterces and will continue to bestow favors and recommendations over time.
When the woman is no longer young and thriving, she will offer him her daughter Giunia Terza in his place, beautiful, young and very similar to her. After all, Aspasia did not do the same with Pericles in Athens in the fifth century BC. C., in order not to lose her lover and Livia who provided her husband Augusto with virgins ?! Oldest Language of The World
When Servilia learns of her beloved’s death she will run desperately to Rome from her Neapolitan villa. Caesar was burned at the stake in the Roman Forum on March 21 with great emotion, Brutus and Cassius fled to Asia and died defeated and committed suicide.
Servilia did not even get the ashes of her great love, but those, instead, of those who had murdered him, her son, Giunio Bruto.
Another figure I want to tell you about is known to all of you, thanks to the film, “The Gladiator”. Do you remember the cruel Commodus who kills his father Marcus Aurelius? Well, I want to briefly tell about his life.
As you will notice, his misfortune was that, like Caligula and Nero, to oppose the powerful senators and to be an intelligent and tolerant man, on the side of the people and a lover of games in the amphitheater, as Nero had been of athletics competitions. by participating personally.
You will also discover another truth: Marcus Aurelius died of the plague, despite the care of the famous doctor Galen and was concerned that his son would not approach him for fear of contagion. The horrendous crime you see in the film was therefore not committed !!!
Lucio Marco Aurelio Commodus was born in Lanuvius on 31 August 161 AD. and he is an emperor of the Antonine dynasty, but above all, like Caligula and Nero, he is described by historians as extravagant and depraved.
Son of the philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius, Commodus was the only one of many sons to survive his father and Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor, after Vespasian, to have a son of his own as heir. He received a good education in the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called “an abundance of good teachers”. Commodus assumed his toga on the Danube front on 7 July 175, thus officially entering adulthood. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius gave the young prince the office of Imperator and in 177 the title of Augustus, giving his son the same position as him. On 1 January 177 Commodus became the youngest consul in Roman history. After a new series of decisive victories in the years 178-179 against Marcomanni and Quadi, his father, Marcus Aurelius, fell seriously ill in 180, perhaps also struck by the plague that afflicted the empire for years.
Marcus Aurelius died on March 17, 180, at about fifty-nine, according to Aurelio Vittore in the city-encampment of Vindobona (Vienna).
Commodus intelligently immediately secured the loyalty of the Roman army and people with large donations (donative and congiaria), thus governing as a real absolute monarch, protected from the continuous conspiracies of the Senate and maintaining power for twelve long years. In one of these conspiracies was also involved his sister, Lucilla (as well as other family members) who Commodus had first exiled and then killed. Another sister, Fadilla, was, together with her husband, one of the brother’s most faithful advisers. During his principality, despite his fame as a despot, Commodus exercised a broad religious tolerance, for example by putting an end to the persecutions against Christians, which began again after his death. He himself practiced oriental and foreign cults. The reign of Commodus also gave a new impetus to the arts, which developed greatly compared to the art of the early Antonines. During his reign he erected various monuments celebrating the exploits of his father Marcus Aurelius, including the Aurelian Column, the great column celebrating his father’s victories over the barbarian peoples of the North and perhaps also completed the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius that stands today. on the Capitol.
Commodus had a passion, like his mother Faustina and his uncle and brother-in-law Lucio Vero, for gladiator fights and those against beasts, to the point of descending himself into the arena dressed as a gladiator, like the Roman Hercules. This behavior was considered scandalous by the Romans: the common morality placed the gladiators in the lower ranks of the social ladder. Among other things, a legend, without foundation, told that he was not the son of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator. In 190, a part of the city of Rome was destroyed by a fire, and Commodus took the opportunity to “refound it”, calling it Colonia Commodiana in his honor (as Nero might have wanted to do in 64). Even the months of the calendar were renamed in his honor and even in the Senate he changed the name to the Senate of Fortuna Commodiana, while the army became Commodian Army and so did the Classis Commodiana and Ostia Colonia Felix Commodiana fleet. These monarchical attitudes were considered grossly offensive by the Senate.
He was assassinated with the complicity of his favorite March of probable Christian faith (he had pushed Commodus to stop the persecutions and to pardon Pope Victor I), so that, taking advantage of his proximity to the prince, he was able to poison him.
The attack was carried out on 31 December 192, the eve of the inauguration of the new consuls, during a banquet. The Emperor, however, believing he felt weighed down by the large meal, asked the servants to help him vomit, thus saving himself unwittingly. At that point, having missed the mark and fearing that they might soon be discovered, the conspirators turned to his fighting master Narcisso, who, driven by the promise of a rich reward, strangled the emperor that same evening in the bathroom. About Vatican City
His memory condemned by the Senate, he was rehabilitated and deified by the emperor Septimius Severus, who, in open opposition to the Senate, wanted to reconnect with the Antoninian dynasty seeking the favor of the surviving members of the family of Commodus and Marcus Aurelius. He even rehabilitated it, ordering that its apotheosis be decreed. Commodus then went from being an enemy of the state to the condition of divus, with a special priest in charge of his cult.
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