In Our Time: History

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life of Nero (37-68 AD) who became Emperor at the age of 16. At first he was largely praised for his generosity yet became known for his debauched lifestyle, with allegations he started the Fire of Rome, watching the flames as he played the lyre. Christians saw him as their persecutor, an anti-Christ, and the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation was thought to indicate Nero. He had confidence in his own artistry, took up acting (which then had a very low status) and, as revolts in the empire grew, killed himself after the Senate condemned him to die as a slave, on a cross.

With

Maria Wyke

Professor of Latin at University College London

Matthew Nicholls

Fellow and Senior Tutor at St John’s College, University of Oxford

And

Shushma Malik

Lecturer in Classics at the University of Roehampton

Producer: Simon Tillotson