Do you remember Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus? He was actually born Lucius Domitius Athenobarbus. His mother was a niece of Claudius. That was a couple years before your time—and mine. He was the emperor of the Roman Empire from 54 AD to 68 AD. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius, who needed an heir. In other words, Nero,
who became Caesar at 17 years of age, was actually not eligible to serve in the office he held from his 17th birthday until his death at age 30 since he did not directly carry the bloodline of the Caesars. Rumor has it that Claudius was murdered by his niece, Agrippina the Younger, who caught the eye of Claudius.
She fed her husband, Crispus, a meal of poisoned mushrooms so she could marry the Emperor. Ancient historians claim she also fed her next husband, Claudius, the same delicacy in 54 AD, opening the way for Nero to be proclaimed Caesar by the Senate in Rome.
Although carrying the bloodline of the Caesars, Claudius never aspired for greatness. Because he suffered from a limp from childhood, and partial deafness, he was ostracized from polite society. He was the invisible Caesar. Since Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius (after being named Caesar by the Praetorian Guard) was only 25, Claudius expected that Nero would never become Emperor because Caligula was young enough to sire an heir. In the end, the Praetorian Guard assassinated him, his wife and their infant daughter and proclaimed Claudius Caesar.
Upon the death of Claudius (whom both the Senate and the Praetorian Guard respected) Nero had to make several concessions to the Senate to win their endorsement. Nero, of course, lied to them. To secure power, in 54 AD, Nero promised the Senate the same type of power they enjoyed when Rome was a Republic. (Sound familiar?) By 65 AD Nero had completely erased their authority. The Senators, complaining they had absolutely no power left, devised a series of schemes to rid themselves of Nero. Accusations of treason by Nero were being leveled by members of the Senate and the Praetorian Guards. The accusations were true. But, Nero escape retribution.
Attempts to kill Nero were instigated by Gaius Calpurnius Piso, an…………