The fifth Roman emperor, Nero has gone down in history as the archetypal narcissistic tyrant. In this fascinating new biography, Jurgen Malitz invites readers to reconsider Nero's reputation. Malitz focuses on the growing tension between Nero's artistic tendencies and the political role for which his ambitious mother, Agrippina the Younger, groomed him. The author reveals how, after sound beginnings under Seneca and other serious men, Nero succumbed to his love of acting; and how, while using the arts to please the people, Nero alienated the senate with his increasingly autocratic style. Finally, he explains how Nero met his untimely end following a failure of nerves in the face of rebellion. Nero's crimes are notorious: he murdered his mother and all possible contestants to the throne and brutally persecuted the Christians. Despite Nero's notoriety, Malitz outlines the often forgotten aspects of his reign: his early, surprisingly responsible political agenda, his initial popularity, patronage of the arts, and innovations in architecture. This original biography allows readers to form a balanced judgment of this divisive and controversial Emperor.
Jurgen Malitz is Chair of Ancient History at the Catholic University, Eichstatt. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Histories of Posidonius (1983) and Nicolaus of Damascus, Life of Augustus (2003). Malitz also specialises in the development of PC and Internet applications for the Classics, including Gnomon Online, Numismatische Bilddatenbank Eichstatt, and ConcEyst.