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How Nero’s Parents Effected His Future Decisions As Emperor

2232 words - 9 pages

Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus otherwise known as Emperor Nero ruled Rome from October 13th, 54 AD through to the summer of 68 AD.

Madman, tyrant, cruel, debauched, egotistical, narcissistic, selfish, delusional all of these words and more describe the reign of Nero. It is little wonder that Nero or young Domitius as he was formerly known, was unstable and crazed in his adult life because his early childhood and formative years were far from secure and stable. he lacked discipline and suitable role models.

Nero was the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina and as a result of his lineage had a direct descent from the first emperor. His father died in 40 AD where upon his mother doted and idolized her son.

Claudius, Agrippina's uncle, was chosen and supported by the Praetorian Guard to take the throne after the death of Caligula. Upon the passing of Messolina, Claudius's wife, Lucius Vitellius persuaded the senate to allow Claudius to marry Nero's mother, his niece Agrippina.

Claudius already had to children with Messalina, Britannicus and Octavia. Nero married his step sister Octavia and ascended to the throne on Claudius's death. Nero had no suitable father figure as a role model. His family was banished in 39 AD and their fortune was confiscated by the emperor. His father died when he was three and his mother struggled with Nero to survive.

`Agrippina had inherited the masterful temperament of her mother and exhibited an undisguised lust for power' (Cary & Scullard)

Agrippina was ruthless and would do anything to gain power including having sexual associations with her brother. She totally indulged Nero and let him get away with anything he wanted. Young Nero didn't receive the right kind of attention from his parents that children need in order to understand boundaries, the difference between right and wrong and generally build a sound character. According to Erikson's Eight Stages of Development, a child that is `well handled, nurtured and loved develops trust and security, and a basic optimism. Badly handled, he becomes insecure and mistrustful' (Myers)

It appeared no-one could be trusted and conspiracies to overthrow the emperor were many. Agrippina used the conspiracy theory to eliminate several of her husband's advisors who might stand in the way of her son ascending to the throne.

Claudius died suddenly in 54 AD with the suspicion falling on Agrippina who had supposedly poisoned him. The lesson for Nero here is its okay to kill whoever you want if they are in your way. Nero applied this lesson when he put to death several of his military commanders on the frontiers without any trials. These executions were to act as a deterrent to any would be conspirators. Agrippina tried to fulfil her own lust for power by ruling through her son. Nero soon became tired of her interference and attempts to control all aspects of his life as she had done in the past. Agrippina became so desperate that...

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