Nero

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Definition

Nero was Roman emperor from 54 to 68 CE. The last of the Julio-Claudian emperors to rule the Roman Empire, his 14-year reign represents everything decadent about that period in Roman history. He was self-indulgent, cruel, and violent as well as a cross-dressing exhibitionist. His lavish parties combined with the burning of Rome continued the economic chaos that had plagued the Roman citizenry since the days of Tiberius (r. 14-37 CE). According to the 1st-2nd century historian Suetonius in his The Twelve Caesars, upon hearing of the emperor's death by suicide, "…citizens ran through the streets wearing caps of liberty as though they were freed slaves."

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