by Evropa Soberana
The case of Nero as an example of historical distortion
The perfect example of Christian victimhood is found in the figure of Nero. Nero has gone down in history as a cruel, tyrannical, perverted, capricious emperor given to excesses, and it is really incredible the amount of trash that Christians poured into his biography, to such an extent that the name of Nero is already synonymous with tyranny, caprice and depravity.
The problem of Nero, we are led to believe, is that he did not tolerate Judaism or Christianity; and that not a few Jews and Christians found their bones in the Colosseum, in the jaws of some lion, under the thunderous applause of the people of Rome by his express mandate.
The reality is that, in the year 64, there is a great fire in Rome that destroys many districts and leaves the city in a state of emergency. Nero welcomes the victims of the fire, opening the doors of his palaces so that the town’s people have a place to stay. In addition, he pays from his own private funds the reconstruction of the city.
What the emperor did do was take action against the Christians. In the words of the famous Roman historian Tacitus (55-120), ‘Nero blamed and inflicted the most cruel tortures on a class hated for its abominations, called Christians by the populace’. He orders to arrest them ‘not so much because of arsonists but because of their hatred of the human race’. Nero, then, does the following with the captured Christians: covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn to pieces by the dogs, or nailed to the crosses, or condemned to the flames.
Another issue is the wife of Nero, Poppaea Sabina. She is an interesting figure as a beautiful woman, ambitious, unscrupulous and immoral, conspiratorial, manipulative and typical of a society too civilized—a real harpy. Having already married twice, and because of her influences as a lover, Poppaea convinces Nero himself to dispatch of his own mother and divorce his own wife—after which she is exiled and forced to cut her veins, her corpse is beheaded and her head presented to Poppaea.
With such free way, Poppaea marries Nero and breaks into high Roman society with excesses in regard to coquetry, extravagances and high-handedness. Precisely at the instigation of her intrigues, the famous Spanish philosopher Seneca is pushed to suicide.
Poppaea openly sympathized with the Jew and the Christian cause, favouring them through palace conspiracies behind the emperor’s back. Nero, already tired of having the conspiracy near him, kills her supposedly with a kick on the stomach.
The year 65 runs. It follows an anti-Jewish repression from Nero, in which future Christian saints fall, such as the Jew Peter, and Paul himself: another Jew who had turned out to be so unruly. Paul is beheaded for being a Roman citizen. Peter, an unregulated immigrant with no Roman citizenship, is crucified. According to the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, crucifying in uncomfortable positions was a common practice among Roman soldiers to have fun in a macabre manner.
Nero, despite having shown himself to be magnanimous and generous to the people, passed into modern history as the Antichrist, a ruthless killer of Christians who murdered his own wife on a whim, and who for fear of conspiracy surrounded himself with a personal guard of praetorians of German origin—the only ones he considered sufficiently loyal.
Nero has also passed to the popular mind as the perpetrator of the arson in Rome while he played the lyre, singing a song before the flames; when in real history Nero was not even in Rome when the fire started.