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Saturday, November 18 2017

The Roman Emperors: Nero

Tacitus, a non-believer, simply recorded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a matter of fact (i.e. an independent eyewitness account): "Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus"

Nero was the fifth Roman emperor after Julius Caesar. He reigned for 14 years, from 54 to 68 A.D., with the official name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. From a Christian point of view, he was one of the most barbaric persecutors of the early church.

Nero was born at Antium (Anzio), Italy, on December 15 37 A.D. His father was Gnaeus Domitius Anenobarbus, a great-grandson of Caesar Augustus - the Roman emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 2:1). Nero's mother, Agrippina II, was the great-granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, and brother of Caligula, the third Roman emperor.


Nero's father died when he was about 3 years old. After Caligula confiscated their family wealth, he and his mother found themselves quite poor for a time. Things changed dramatically when Agrippina married her uncle, the emperor Claudius. That marriage was the means of Nero's rise to power. Agrippina managed to get Nero adopted not only as a son of Claudius, but the heir to the throne before Claudius' actual sons. With the line of succession taken care of, Agrippina took the final step on October 13 54 A.D. by murdering her husband/uncle with poisoned mushrooms. Nero became the emperor of the Roman Empire at the age of 17.

Agrippina was very influential with the young Nero at first, but as might be expected from the example that she had set, he gradually became estranged with her. He had her removed from the palace in 55 A.D., and then ordered his mother's murder 4 years later. From then on, Nero became increasing brutal and depraved.

Nero is perhaps most famous for the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D. It started in the Circus Maximus before raging through the city for 9 days. It is unlikely that Nero himself started the fire, as is popularly believed, because he was in Antium at the time. Whether he ordered it started is another matter - he had long wanted to make room for a grand new city that he had designed.

To divert suspicion away from himself, Nero blamed the great fire on the Christians, thereby beginning a persecution of innocent people that has never been surpassed. Many were killed by wild animals before crowds of spectators in the arena, while others were tied to posts, covered with flammable material, and used as human street lamps for Nero's gardens. It is difficult to imagine a more evil man.

As was nearly always the case with the Roman emperors, plots were continuously in the making to overthrow Nero, including the Pisonian Conspiracy in 65 A.D. However, Nero was sly enough to avoid all the traps for a number of years. Every failed plot just made him more vicious.

Nero's reign ended June 9 68 A.D. when he committed suicide. He was 31 years old.

Nero is not mentioned specifically by name in the Holy Scriptures, however he is documented in numerous historical accounts - some of which also mention Jesus Christ, apart from the Bible.

Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD) was a Roman Senator (in what remained of the Roman Senate in Imperial Rome and historian of the Roman Empire. His Annals and Histories provide eyewitness accounts of the events of the reigns of the Roman emperors through the first century.

Tacitus Tacitus, a non-believer, simply recorded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a matter of fact (i.e. an independent eyewitness account that verifies the Holy Bible) and the horrendous atrocities committed on Christians by Nero - including martyring Christians by crucifixion, covering their bodies with flammable material and using their burning bodies on crosses as night-lighting torches in his gardens and arenas (see the illustrations below - which also accurately show the actual crosses used by the Romans which were shaped like a capital "T" - not like a "crucifix"; see Crossing The T). Most of Nero's persecution of Christians began after the great fire of Rome to divert public suspicion that Nero himself had started the fire (to make room for building projects that he had planned).

"But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed." (Annals, Book 15, Chapter 44)

Fact Finder: How did the Church of the Roman Empire originate?
See Biblical Eras: The Roman Empire And The Church Of Rome

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This Day In History, November 18

401: The Visigoths, led by King Alaric I, crossed the Alps and invaded northern Italy. The Visigoths (from the Latin meaning western Goths) and Ostrogoths (from the Latin meaning eastern Goths) were tribes of Germanic people who eventually overwhelmed and replaced the Roman Empire in Europe (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

Europe in 526

1095: Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont. Summoned to plan the First Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and Emperor Constantine's Sun Dogs), it was attended by over 200 bishops of the Church of Rome (all of whom had earlier been equal in rank to the bishop of Rome; see The Struggle For The Papacy).

1105: Maginulfo was elected Antipope, as Sylvester IV (again, see The Struggle For The Papacy).

1302: Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed his Unam Sanctam. It decreed that the Church of Rome was superior in authority to all national governments and that obedience to the pope was necessary for salvation.

1307: The famous incident in Switzerland when William Tell was forced to shoot an apple off his son's head with a crossbow or be executed along with his son.

1421: The Zuider Zee flooded 72 villages in the Netherlands, killing an estimated 10,000 people.

1477: William Caxton produced the first printed book in the English language, "The Dictes and Sayengis of the Phylosophers."

William Caxton

1493: Christopher Columbus first sighted the island now known as Puerto Rico. All of the four voyages of Columbus were limited to the islands of the Caribbean Sea (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy). The Vikings arrived in continental America over 500 years before Columbus.


1497: Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first to round the Cape of Good Hope, thereby opening a sea route to India from Europe.

1755: The worst recorded earthquake on the Massachusetts Bay area struck Boston.

1883: Canada and U.S. adopted standard time. Standard Time was the invention of Sir Sanford Fleming, who immigrated to Canada from Scotland. He was Canada's foremost railway surveyor and construction engineer in the 19th century. The standard time system was adopted by the rest of the world in 1884.

Sir Sanford Fleming

Time Zones

1916: During the First World War (1914-1918), General Douglas Haig of Britain called off the First Battle of The Somme after 5 months of futile battle, which included the first use of tanks in actual conflict. The allied advance of just 125 square miles cost 420,000 British, 195,000 French and 650,000 German casualties.

1936: Germany under Adolf Hitler and Italy under Benito Mussolini (see Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?) recognized General Francisco Franco's provisional government in Spain.

Hitler and Mussolini

1941: Britain opened its second Western Desert offensive in Libya when the 8th Army advanced into Cyrenaica.

1961: U.S. President John Kennedy sent 18,000 "military advisors" to South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was actually a civil war between the people of Vietnam who had been divided into two countries by French colonial forces in the 1940s. When France was driven out by Vietnamese military forces, the U.S. replaced them and participated in the Vietnam civil war until the early 1970s. When the U.S. withdrew, Vietnam was re-united into the single nation that it had been for centuries before the French and U.S. occupations.

1966: The Roman Catholic Church ended its "meatless Friday" requirement.

1970: West Germany and Poland initialed a treaty recognizing the Oder-Neisse line as a common border and pledging each other to territorial integrity.

1978: U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan was shot and killed in Jonestown, Guyana by members of Jim Jones' "People's Temple." Ryan's murder was followed by the mass suicide and murder of 912 members of the California cult (see also Is Your Church A Cult?).

1991: British peace envoy Terry Waite and U.S. academic Thomas Sutherland were released after 5 years of captivity in Lebanon by the Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

1993: White and black leaders in South Africa approved the new constitution which gave blacks the right to vote and ended white minority rule.


Copyright © Wayne Blank