Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Pseudo-Neros

THE COLLECTOR: Emperor Nero’s Death & The Curious Case Of The Pseudo Neros. In 68 CE, Nero, the notorious Emperor, was forced to commit suicide. Nero’s death sparked a sequence of imposters that kept emerging for up to a generation after his passing (Colin J Campbell). HT Rogue Classicism.

At last some attention to the post-Nero Neronic traditions! There were three Nero imposters (Nero rediturus, "Nero shall return") after his death. This article has the details, along with an analysis of Nero's reign.

My view? The entire Nero tradition has almost no credibility. The main accounts are hostile to him. Many of their claims involve unsources stories about events that supposedly happened in private. That includes the account of his death. Any or all of them could be true, but many sound outrageous and are just the sort of thing people would make up about their enemies. I assume much of this material is fake news. Even the accounts of public events were written many years later when few people who witnessed them would still be alive.

I doubt that Nero was a nice Emperor. But about all we can say with confidence is that he was remembered with hatred by some, including those in the ruling class who wrote about him. But he was remembered with love by others. Apparently a lot of people were willing to support Nero when they thought he had come back.

Three men showed up after his supposed death and started revolts that had to be put down. Was one of them Nero? Did he go into hiding and later try for a comeback? It doesn't seem likely, but I don't see how we can rule out the possibility.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the current British Museum's Nero exhibition, see here and links. Earlier posts on Nero and his post-mortem mythology (Nero redivivus, Nero shall come back to life), especially the Beast in the Book of Revelation, are collected here.

UPDATE: I have corrected the name of the publication. Please excuse the error.

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