© 2020 Richard Drebert. All Rights Reserved.
The Roman senate turned thumbs down on Nero’s egotistical request to demolish one-third of the city of Rome—but the great-grandson of Caesar Augustus wouldn’t take no for an answer. Nero wanted to build a series of palaces on sites of revered Roman monuments.
Not long after the political fracas, shops lining the chariot-racing venue, Circus Maximus, “happened to” catch fire. Roman historian Tacitus, who was a child at the time, wrote that gangs of thugs prevented city inhabitants from extinguishing the fire. Citizens were threatened with torture if they tried.
Flames spread wildly and consumed two-thirds of the city of Rome. Tacitus wrote that the fire burned for nearly 10 days, and Nero cast blame for the fire on “a class hated for their abominations,” (the Christians) upon whom he “inflicted the most exquisite tortures.”
“An immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind,” Tacitus wrote.
“Nero Ego” infected the pagan population at large, and the Caesar glutted upon the human appetite for revenge. The loss of life, homes, and businesses inflamed bitterness and chaos, and ended in the slaughter of thousands.
Tacitus records how an offended society will tune-in to propaganda that agrees with their worldview and lifestyle. He writes: “Mockery of every sort was added to their [the Christians’] deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.