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The Great Fire of Rome Options
Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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The Great Fire of Rome

According to the historian Tacitus, the Great Fire of Rome started in the shops around the Circus Maximus on July 18 in 64 CE and burned for 5 days. In his account, Tacitus writes that the fire completely destroyed 4 and severely damaged 7 of the 14 Roman districts. Both the size and cause of the fire are debated as well as Emperor Nero's response to the crisis. Some claim he sang or played music while the city burned, and many accused Nero of arson. Nero, in turn, blamed what religious group? More...
Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 4:42:35 AM

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Tacit, who was Nero's contemporary, did not, as far as I can remember, directly accuse the emperor. Only P. Only C. Suetonius Tranquillus, who lived much later, put up some direct accusations against Nero, basing mostly on rumours, as it seems. Nero himself blamed Christians, of course, burning many of them alive.
Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 4:51:02 PM

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People were angry that he hadn't helped them, and they started saying that Nero had started the fire himself in order to clear land for his palace. Nero needed to find someone else to blame, fast!

Nero thought of the Christians. By this time people had learned that Christians were different from Jews. Many people hated the Christians anyway, so they wouldn't mind blaming them. Roman people hated Christians mainly because they were different, and because they tried to get other people to become Christians too. So Nero arrested a bunch of Christians. He blamed the fire on them, and had them burned alive. We know about this from both Suetonius and Tacitus (although both of them are repeating things they were told; Tacitus was about nine years old when this happened and living far away in Gaul, and Suetonius wasn't born yet, so they didn't know about it for themselves).
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