What to Make of Nero? An exhibition takes on the notorious Roman emperor, from gleaming marble to roaring flames (Michael Glover, Hyperalleric). Good commentary on some of the artifacts, but tries too hard to sound clever.
All of that said, Nero’s immorality and extravagance were almost pedestrian by Roman imperial standards. The most interesting aspect of the British Museum exhibit is to show how the facts were spun, why they were exaggerated, how the exaggerations gained traction, and why the image has persisted with sufficient intensity for Nero to be one of the few ancient rulers that still have name recognition.Good insights on how the exhibition implicity illuminates our own media and social-media culture.
It's remarkable that (as far as I recall) none of the reviews of this exhibition even question Suetonius' dubious report of Nero's suicide or ask whether one of the imposter Neros could have been Nero himself. More on that here.
Nero may well have killed himself. All of the Nero claimants may well have been imposters. But our sources are at the tabloid level of credibility. I make no assumptions about what did or did not happen.
Previous posts on the BM's Nero Exhibition are here and links.
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