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HUNDRED OF YEARS after his demise medals with his image stamped onto them were awarded to athletes at the Olympics Games. So he was remembered in ancient times differently, perhaps, than he is now.
As Rome's emperor he was the most powerful man of his time. He wielded power confidently and sometimes ruthlessly. But he also loved poetry and music and frequently performed his compositions in public. One reported private performance earned him infamy.
He was wild about chariot races and games. So much so, that he even drove a ten horse chariot in the Olympic Games much to the dismay of his advisors. He was so enthusiastic about charioteers, in fact, that he styled his hair in their unique fashion combing it up and forward as shown of his coin. While his hairstyle disturbed his advisors it also contributed to his popularity with the masses. It was important to him to be popular with the masses.
While most historians question whether he ordered the burning of Rome in 64 AD, others believe the massive fire that consumed much of Rome during his reign and killed many was a deliberate act of an emperor who wanted to make Rome great again by clearing the way for his own public building projects. He was said to have sung the "Sack of Illium" in stage costume and possibly played the lyre while the city burned.
Whether he was the architect of Rome's destruction or not, he did make Christians the scapegoat for the fire and ordered the systematic persecution of its members as punishment. Tradition holds that Christ's disciple Peter was among the many crucified during this persecution. In Peter's case, the belief is that he was crucified upside.
He acted with confidence driven, you might say, by an inner compass that justified almost any action that secured his power or advanced his agenda. He ordered the murder of his mother and first wife. And some believe he personally killed his second wife by kicking her at a public function while she was near full term in her pregnancy.
In the end, Rome's legions revolted against him and the taxes imposed to fund his massive building projects. To avoid capture, he ordered his personal secretary to take his life, saying "What an artist dies in me" while contemplating his 'suicide.' His death was followed by a year of civil war during which four different individuals claimed the crown of Rome's emperor.
Of course, we cannot know the full picture of Nero's life with any certainty. The records are too old and incomplete. But the coin does give us a glimpse of his hairstyle and we know his reign was eventually 'trumped' by the leaders of his legions.
Which raises the all important question? Is there a reason the Donald wears his hair the same way? And, will Americans be Trumped this election cycle?
Come back next week for 'Hillary'd".
The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
Travel, history, and business with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor, traveler.
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