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tv   Doc Film - Rethinking Nero Part 2  Deutsche Welle  August 27, 2018 5:15am-6:01am CEST

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nero murderer and despot a madman on the imperial throne. whose name is inextricably linked with one of the biggest disasters of the ancient world the great fire over a. cock. up. nero set rome alight to make room for his own building plans to fix the blame for the fire on the christians ordering the torture and execution of thousands. but scholars today question the legend of nero as the arsonist of rome and doubt that he initiated a policy of persecution against the christians. to date there is no archaeological
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evidence to support the theory that the apostle peter was ever in rome but there are mounting indications that nero's infamous crimes were described to the emperor by later writers. nero an eccentric ruler who wanted to be an artist and preferred to live in a world of fantasy. but neither an arsonist nor persecutor of christians.
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it's july nineteenth in the year sixty four it hasn't rained for days. rome is home to almost a million people it's a sweltering summer night. the majority of roman citizens can't escape the heat unlike the wealthy who have long since retreated to their estates in the cooler plains of nearby land here. in just a few hours an inferno with eruption turning the city's narrow streets into a death trap. nero is also not in rome he's retreated to his summer residence in the seaside resort of antioch. in rome the brothels bars and betting shops lining the circus maximus are packed on this fateful night. it is here that the catastrophe begins. the great fire of run a try. mount
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a calamity for the city and its people comparable in the magnitude of its destruction to the earthquake infante. the blaze will rage for seven days thousands will die when the smoke clears three quarters of the city will lay in ruins. according to legend the apostle peter was in rome at the same time to supervise the city's fledgling christian community. later he would go down in the annals of the catholic church as the first bishop of rome. with. another natori as legend emperor nero himself started the fire as an excuse to rebuild rome to his own liking and to rename the city mirabilis and that's not all the mad megalomaniac watched the conflagration from his palace on the palatine
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ill merrily singing and playing his liar. in need of a scapegoat he blamed the fire on the christians homie indiscriminately and mercilessly crucified. the apostle peter was also arrested and condemned to death by crucifixion on the vatican hill. so that his death would differ from that of jesus he asked his executioner to invert the cross on which he was nailed. christof ma she says a protestant theologian and church historian he's one of the world's leading scholars of early christian studies in nero's time the christians were a new and obscure jewish sect issue chad. was dust when writing past events historical writers always tend to simplify reality some want for i in for home have a look and a simplification of reality in nearest case time. him into
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a ruler who unleashed the persecution of christians out of pure criminal intent so there was no legal basis though naturally many of the incidents recorded as christian persecution were nothing more than the result of legal proceedings conducted according to the rule of law at the time but here we have a figure who is borderline crazy with a deeply troubled personality who murders his relatives and he is declared the author of or horus it's easy to see a myth in the making here who might remember seeing it you should do anything you want almost everything we know about nero's era derives from the works of three ancient historians tacitus so turning us. in class used. these early biographers were writing to entertain their readers and they had a poor opinion of nero their works are rich in detail but they're misleading because much of what they wrote was fictitious. scholars
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today take a more discerning approach to the ancient texts than their predecessors as a result they've come to question the integrity of many written accounts from antiquity. the apostle peter is martyrdom on the vatican hill is one of them. it marks the dramatic climax of a religious legend but as one of the most powerful stories in church tradition. some one and a half centuries later a magnificent basilica was erected on the vatican here and designed believed to be the very spot where peter was buried. peter's basilica is a monument to the apostle and one of the holiest catholics rhymes. in the catacombs deep below the church lies in ancient roman graves a veritable city of the dead in which according to legend jesus. first apostle
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simon peter was buried. be out said del popolo one of rome's grand squares in the middle ages it was believed to be haunted by demons and evil spirits because it harbored the remains of the most barbarous man who ever walked the earth nero. in the twelfth century anyone entering the eternal city from the via flammini i would have caught sight of the family tomb of the domi de niro's family. and it was here that nero lived on in the imagination of the people of rome long after the fall of the empire the ravens roosting in a walnut tree on the side of his remains were said to be demons in the service of nero. out of fear that nero himself could rise as a demon from hell pope
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a sky the second had the tree cut down the tomb opened and nero sarcophagus removed then a church was built over nero's family muscly of. arrows remains lie beneath its altar. a church to seal off neuros grave to banish him to the depths of the earth for all eternity. strong christian symbolism is designed to put an end to the superstitions that plague the locals. christian tactics to counter the magic of the demon nero. in medieval rome banishing nero's remains to eternal obscurity seemed like a good idea nevertheless the priest at the church of santa maria don't pump although knows where nero is hidden. an ancient tunnel beneath the church leads to the place where near ozark office was allegedly stored. but in the chamber at the
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end of the corridor are. these empty. how did the roman emperor of come to be known as the anti christ and the beast of the revelation. it all started here the circus maximus at the foot of the palatine else the green oval of the ancient racetrack and survived to this day in narrows time an audience of possibly two hundred fifty thousand could pack into the stadium to share the emperor's delight in chariot race and. the circus maximus was the biggest entertainment complex in the ancient world . it was also the origin of the spark that ignited the great fire of rock. it's the evening of july nineteenth in the year sixty four the summer heat is stifling in the shops clustered around the circus maximus there are hundreds of
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bars shops and stalls almost all of them constructed from wood with open fires burning everywhere the blaze breaks out under the racecourses wooden bleachers at the edge of the killing and in college nine elves soon a fire storm sweeps through the narrow corridors of the complex. near always out of town realizing it is summer residence in antioch a seaside resort on the west coast frequented by wealthy functionaries and politicians it's a day's journey from rome. and here he's built a monumental waterfront palace that includes its own amphitheater where he pursues his artistic ambitions. word of the catastrophe reaches in that night and he hurries back to rome. the city is a. sea of flames. when
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the fire eventually dies three of the city's fourteen administrative regions will be totally destroyed only ruins will remain in another seven. wooden houses dry as a tender box narrow passage ways the heat so intense not a trace is left of tens of thousands of residents. rome's water delivery system fails to provide enough water to battle the flames new fires break out the blaze rages on for days. back in the city nero supervises the firefighting operation he sets up a disaster fund and quickly begins reconstruction efforts introducing rome's first building codes and incentives for private rebuilding. passages praises the reconstruction efforts but he also reports the suspicion that arises after
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a second fire breaks out on the estate of nero's police chief to clean house the writing on the wall now reads nero arsonist. rumors began to circulate in the ravaged city nero set fire to rome to build a new city that he will rename after himself. and the biggest nero cliche of them all while the city was burning nero mounted his private stage and comparing modern disasters with ancient and some of the destruction of troy. his words. in the story appears to corroborate accounts of his expressive facilities as an artist and of the way he presented himself at other times it's one of the many scenes that one is tempted to regard as an exaggeration of the literary sources but i'm not so sure. consider. what tacitus. noted as a rumor was recorded as
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a fan runs through tony use nero started the fire. and a century after so tony use consumers do you know wrote neurosurgery his heart on accomplishing what had doubtless always been his desire namely to make an end of the whole city and realm during his lifetime. because it's really the main problem with these accounts lies in the fact that nero's image was colored by bias and hatred in one class it was the type tacitus plays alosi trick with nero and the great fire because he suggests that nero was responsible for the fire without openly saying so if he had come right out and said it his claim could very easily have been identified as an anti nero representation and very quickly discredited as such but by portraying the whole thing as a rumor as something vague and repeatedly portraying nero with such ambivalence tacitus lends greater credence to the impression that nero actually did set fire to
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rome more than he would have if he'd just alleged it straight out it. wasn't the revenge of the roman elite and an emperor who rejected what they saw as decorum. nero's biographers began painting a negative picture of the emperor as soon as he died and his odious reputation has survived into the twenty first century. we think. i'm certain that all surviving texts seen any way connected to the famous fire of rome were tainted by all teary eyed motives. it was interesting that it escaped volleyed as there is no valid primary source testimony from which one could deduce that nero actually set fire to rob and if you try to list the reasons why he may have done so after all the arguments appear very tenuous there really is no motive that one could assign to a dark and tif bussmann with a. credit. even if nero played no part in starting the fire the romans blamed him
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nonetheless as pontifex maximus he was the high priest of the empire a mediator between the people and the gods and they seemed angry. nero was also commander of the vigilance rome's force of police and firefighters and office traditionally held by the emperor and one taken very seriously by his predecessors people expected the emperor to rush to the scene of the fire. nero couldn't he was an anti m. . details didn't interest the public which felt betrayed by nero. his efforts to oversee firefighting operations were praised but they came to light. almost side good. or nero lost a great deal of his capital among the population because he was very very late
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arriving back in rome after hearing about the fire so look at the whole thing and though he then assumed control of the rescue and reconstruction efforts people still felt that he had arrived too late into before and we know from the examples of other roman rulers and even arrest kratz of the republic that when it comes to catastrophes it's always key to show up as quickly as possible or miro missed that opportunity as mukesh no presents to disappear with a sword. christian graves dating from the first century. early evidence of a new sect that would rise to become a world religion. x. and p. alpha and omega the first and last letters of the greek alphabet suggest the all encompassing nature of god. ancient writers repeatedly reference. ns and christ in their accounts of the great fire. tacitus wrote
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nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations called christians by the populace. rome's establishment was incensed by the egalitarian ism of the christian community where freed men sat a long aristocrats a no go in the hierarchical and class conscious society of age. and credits from delaware. and not by traditional roman would have looked at a christian community and said i mean i did it because they're a text that quote them and this is an outrageous gathering which permits fishmongers weiss to speak about religion and he ordered press. and credits and so a traditional roman would have found the christian community pretty scandalous and because of the disconcerting way it removed hierarchical distinctions in the social
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stratification he finds he only has a shaft of. the church of sun giovanni a power on the killian hill this was where the super rich lived in nero's day and age. three meters under the churches foundations subterranean world allows a glimpse into the past. back in nero's day this was a light filled city palace. the owner presided over a network of twenty rooms magnificently appointed with frescos. as was typical in the homes of rome as well healed the walls and ceilings were painted with fantastical creatures and mythological scenes. but the owner of these rooms was christian. the proof lies in the press goes on the wall were the oldest surviving private chapel in rome. dating from
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a time when support for the jewish sect was not dangerous because the citizens of rome enjoyed religious freedom. the world of roman guns was hard to navigate every aspect of life was governed by a different d.d. . each god was no better than the person worshipping on its altar it could be equally cruel insidious evil or eventual the gods were immortal like super heroes but their world was as hierarchical as that of humans on earth. jupiter the supreme god wielding thunder and lightning to control the skies and striking fear into the hearts of more us. for fear of offending an important danger to the romans tended to adopt the gods of conquered lands and
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adding them to their burgeoning pantheon. in nero's day dozens of sanctified for new followers but faith in the traditional collection of pagan gods dominated across the empire most romans unquestioningly followed the rights of their religion priests appeased the gods with sacrifices and as long as the empire prospered all was well. tombstones and inscriptions from the first century the romans to believed in an afterlife but their ideas of what it looked like differed. one thing all romans had in common was a fear of being forgotten. immortal glory was the highest achievable goal those are good for did mark their grave with a tombstone. quested needs the motivation behind the
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persecution of christians through the roman authorities probably lay in the notion that this here was an unpredictable bunch who it was feared could start a revolution. and the first most. from your own or his advisors couldn't possibly have asked for a better scapegoat. with some three thousand members of the roman christian community was a minority that was viewed with suspicion reviled feared and hated by the population at large. and after the catastrophe of the fire nero knew rome was clamoring for justice. like all emperors nero feared the fury of the masses so he went on the offensive. there were no public prosecutors under the roman legal system charges were filed on the basis of accusations brought by individuals it's not known how many christians were interrogated or arrested but
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it's clear only a small percentage of rome's christian community was targeted. justified or not the arsonists arrest was branded religious persecution at the end of the second century by the christian theologian ted too early on. in the fifth century christian monks produced copies of ancient texts and may well have intentionally falsified their accounts in the process. it's likely that tacitus is original works delivered a far less damning indictment of nero than the versions we know today. if they created the impression we have today that ever since the dawn of christianity there were violent waves of persecution in which christians were systematically and indiscriminately lined up for execution that is true of russia's christians in the . twentieth century and the current situation in the middle east but not in
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antiquity but that's just me and. on a late summer day in the year sixty four runs head towards the palatine hill. it's show time at the imperial palace where emperor nero has opened the gates to his garden and the people of rome have been demanding revenge for the loss of loved ones and property in the fire. the emperor lights up the festivities with the perpetrators using their bodies as human torches. nero reportedly ordered tar pitch to be poured on christians who were crucified and set on fire to light up his garden death by fire was common punishment for arsonists so that was nothing unusual what is strange for us today is the juxtaposition of jovial festivities and a brutal mass murder. another indication of just how strange life could
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be in ancient rome. as god went on the abel kinds of this for there was no systematic religious persecution of christians under nero and. the so called persecution of christians must be viewed in the context of the great fire and it's rather a caution system for for most. of it all it was designed to offer the romans who had experienced great sufferings if a big spectacle before namely people who were on fire be nameless but then to mention. according to christian legend the apostle peter was also among those condemned to death. the story first surfaces in a second century collection of writings about peter's life. others adopted the story as a motif. for
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most christians this legend has long since become historical fact. but the opulent tomb of the apostle in st peter's basilica is a center tough and empty gray. the whereabouts of st peter's bones is controversial and always has been. a kind of a but there is no valid historical evidence to support the theory that peter was ever any around our oldest source the late first century a pistol if claimant only alludes generally to the fact that christianity is two leaders met their deaths in significant places and gives no further details. in fifteen forty five martin luther wrote i am content to be able to say since i have seen it and heard it at rome that it is unknown where in the city the bodies of st peter and paul are located or even whether they are there at all. even the
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pope and the cardinals know very well that they do not know. in one nine hundred forty pope pius the twelfth authorized the search for the bones of the apostle peter beneath the basilica. digging was conducted in secrecy and at night so no one would hear anything above in the basilica it wasn't long before workmen made a significant discovery. soon a vatican archaeologist was overseeing the operations for the find was a christian tomb and ultimately a handful of clones was on earth it was only twenty five years later that pope paul the sixth announced the remains of st peter had been found below the vatican. after the great fire nero set about reconstructing the destroyed districts two thousand years later not much of his efforts has survived the ruins of an insulating a multistory department block. in nero's days such tenements were groundbreaking
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both in terms of architecture and city planning as a way of providing housing for the growing population. nero made his mark on the city's design and proved to be a visionary and pragmatic planner with his advisors he set out to read rome of its narrow streets and congested spaces unbearably confined in the hot summer months. instead he ordered wide avenues in colonnades to provide shade a mammoth project that nero helped finance from his own coffers tacitus praised nero's actions as wise and prudent. at last i'm going to be able to be housed like a human being that is also tony is quote here on the completion of his new palace the domus aria or golden house. it's wall and ceiling frescoes were rediscovered at the height of the renaissance painters were abseiled down into the subterranean
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labyrinth of the palace to copy the works of their predecessors fermenter gritty. is no stranger to palaces but the sheer size of nero's new toiling was unprecedented. romans complained one house was taking over the entire city to tony as wrote parts of the house were overlaid with gold they were dining rooms with fretted ceilings of ivory whose panels could turn and shower down flowers and were fitted with pipes for sprinkling the guests with perfume as. the architectural highlight and art of the palace was the octagonal hall of all to dome built on an octagonal basis one of the first known concrete vaults in the history of architecture. tony has remarked the hall constantly revolved day and night. like they have.
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the complex consumed eighty hectors in the center of rum the entire problem is complex was laid out like a stage accessible to all it included a huge artificial lake its own future villages with fields of vineyards and woodlands teeming with all kinds of team down. even by imperial standards the golden house was nothing short of bombastic. nero commissioned a giant statue of his likeness golden thirty meters sign for the entrance hall of his palace was all this a sign of megalomania proof of his madness. he would need it one wished looked at side i missed it but i wouldn't describe nero as
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crazy not because i rule out that he was crazy but because ultimately we just know too little about nero to classify him as such. as it's a cocked of his and given by the band we need to keep in mind is that even if his contemporaries described him as crazy and they did his behavior doesn't necessarily have to have a pathological explanation miss and your boy to ken on dust that's all they could simply be a label for his inappropriate inexplicable and surprising conduct in which people simply lacks the means to describe them and i'm not under mukesh garden tribal kata . trance or just concluded that it was nero's artistic streak and showmanship they were most damaging to his reputation. but biographer contemptuously recounts nero's performance of a woman giving birth. the emperor on stage as
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a pregnant woman playing to a capacity audience. and taking gender role reversal to the point of absurdity. of flesh nero's sexual escapades were particularly open to attack because he demonstrative lee crossed the line when it came to gender and social norms and if a man doesn't it here to norms he simply can't be an adequate ruler in political terms like. in the year sixty five nero's enemies began plotting to assassinate him. his greek style arts festival the neuron i was coming up and many roman senators couldn't bear the prospect of their emperor once again making a fool of himself identifying roman tradition. for many of the emperors of parents on a public stage was scandalous. but not all of rumsey lead condemned nero second
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career. as an oft with. reactions to his performances were very mixed we know of roman aristocrats who supported nero's performances and encouraged them others were deeply contemptuous of what he debt and it was tessa to send particular who gave a voice to their view a horse for tots it was. a conspiracy was exposed and nearest police cracked down at least one thousand men and women were arrested you're going to go on their social status they were killed or forced to commit suicide nero's former tutor and advisor seneca it was one of the. euro put his life on public display he gave guitar of performances in poetry recitals and increasingly he appeared on stage in roles that echoed his own personal history erasing the boundary between stay. and.
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i think. he was clearly identifying himself with the characters he played. and he went so far as to specifically select roles that reflected episodes in his own life. that's most evident in the murder of pina. know what it is he repeatedly performs the role of arrest is the greatest epitome of matricide in antiquity and by doing so repeatedly reminded the public of his own mother's murder. using your. hero's first biographer is described is increasing panic attacks and growing state of anxiety. it was at this time that you know made a fateful decision. and he really didn't want to rule over the roman
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world as the princeps the emperor he wanted to recycle witchery he wanted to perform he wanted success as a chariot race or because he wanted to stand in front of a large audience naturally he tried to assert himself as emperor but probably only because it afforded him a heightened experience of the things that really matter to d.c. in the case of eyes also the. nero disregarded all warnings and placed government in the hands of his trusted freedom. in august sixty six he took his show on the road to greece he was accompanied by an entourage of six thousand people with string instruments clothes and theater masks crusade for the arts. hero ask the organizers of all four. games the new me and the in this to be end and olympic games to
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reschedule their competitions within the same year so that he nero could take part . in the able fought in we have accounts that reveal nero suffered from severe stage fright before these events but that he still put in spirit at performances against his competitors and he was always tremendously surprised when and as if by coincidence he won first place and very humbly accepted the prizes and the applause. even if he'd fallen off the chariot and nearly died during the race as. a. as a hero so here again we have the phenomenon that we can observe and many other areas of nero's persona he was living in his own world and shaping his own reality a shuffle hot. aside from athletic competitions like chariot raising the
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games also featured artistic contests miro took part in all of them organizers displayed ingenuity as they vied for the emperor's favor they hired veteran singers who still sang well but were no longer interested in accolades nurul was celebrated as the most successful competitors since the birth of the games. the venue of olympia served him as a stage and he won every competition. it will never be known whether nero was aware of this charade but he didn't just accept the trophies that came with his victories he also pocketed the cash prizes gold that he badly needed to restock is depleted travel fund where. is certain is
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that nero's popularity among his subjects reached its zenith during his tour of greece. the corinthia canal. it connects the peloponnese with mainland greece providing a shortcut of some four hundred kilometers. it was near zero who began a canal during the isness of carinthia employing thousands of slaves for the six kilometer dig but the project died with him and was only completed in the nineteenth century. rome celebrated nero like a triumphant general when he returned from greece in january sixty eight with one
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thousand eight hundred eight trophies. but rome's elite could no longer stomach nero's addict they viewed it as a mockery of the imperial coughed. a new conspiracy took shape. the leg it's been dicks and got back joined forces in a rebellion. got a very good his legion declare him emperor. one last time nero mobilized his loyal generals and initially he even won the upper hand but then he sank into it. the ancient texts repeatedly note that in the final phase and the first signs of apostasy nero would certainly have had the chance to turn back the tide in his favor has he shown more determination. reached out and taken the necessary steps and good but he
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didn't his response was hesitant at times he didn't respond at all and merely concentrated on his artistic interests and that served to solidify the opposition and facilitate nero's downfall and the who she was. the new prefect of the praetorian guard in future use of venus informed nurul that his loyalists had all abandoned him but this was a lie as tacitus wrote nero was undone by rumors and vague intelligence not by force of arms. that's based on which bits if you combine i think what was particular about nero was that he knew no boundaries he staged his life like a play his life was one big spectacle what if and i believe he always planned his end accordingly for how to design and so instead it didn't play out that way because of the particular circumstances and also because he panicked too soon
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but in nero's life there's virtually no way of differentiating between theater drama the stage and real life gonchar he goes on. nero fled rome. the biographers of antiquity describe his last hours as the death of a cowardly tyrant not man enough to voluntarily and his own life grand p.r. until the very end. and yet this emperor did rack up victories even if they weren't on the battlefield. what we can determine is that under nero the latin literature really flourished amid a burst of literary activity for out the positive aspect the positive side of nero's personality was certainly his enthusiasm his love of the arts and culture which had a formative influence on rome not just in the development of the arts but also in city planning and in entertain. and romans were familiar with greek culture but not
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so much with things like athletics so he was absolutely pioneering in these respects and absolute nor in imposing in the face of that house that he saw himself in the first place as an artist and only in second place as emperor that's why i always describe nero as the emperor artist question. the ancient drama starring emperor nero ended with his words what an artist dies in me then he stabbed himself in the throat with a dagger. the script of nero's life needs a rewrite it remains unclear whether st peter was ever in rome to heighten the drama of his narrative christian historians later cannister neuro as the anti christ. nero was no monster nor was he any more brutal than many so-called good emperors but the dead do not write their own history nero's was tainted by the passage of time. the bishop of rome became the head of the church and rome the
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center of christianity. you. know most ten. and arts twenty one special on arts and culture from india. the worlds of sound. creative types. critical voices. that
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encounters with a new generation of indian artists on. thirty minutes on. germany street by street. the most colorful. a lot of latest. the most traditional find it all at any time. check in with a web special. take a tour of germany state by state on d w dot com. the scars on the move. the pain still tangible.
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the suffering now for god. to see these french by more they have survived do they also have a future i really understand people who say they don't want to stay sure but i also admire people who want to stay here and. decided to create some of the. outer darkness see more store september second on g.w. . officials in the u.s. state of florida have confirmed three people have been found dead after a mass shooting in a shopping mall in jacksonville including the twenty four year old suspect eleven others were injured it happened during a video game tournaments. in a wide ranging interview with the german public.

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