By Edward Champlin,

Book cover of Nero

Book description

The Roman emperor Nero is remembered by history as the vain and immoral monster who fiddled while Rome burned. Edward Champlin reinterprets Nero's enormities on their own terms, as the self-conscious performances of an imperial actor with a formidable grasp of Roman history and mythology and a canny sense of…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Nero as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Was Nero really such a monster? The New York Times and the British Museum are among the venerable institutions attempting to answer this question. It’s part of a broad trend to rethink the life and rule of one of history’s most famous villains. I’d like to think that this book helped start this historical reframing. Nero was not without his virtues. But he most definitely had vices in abundance. The question is not whether he was good or bad; rather, how did those two dimensions interact? Champlain does a great job of looking at Nero with a measure of objectivity…

After reading the ancient histories about Nero which support the legend that he was a lazy sadistic tyrant it was refreshing to find a book written by a leading academic (Champlin is professor of classics at Princeton University) which portrays him the way I see him, as an energetic, talented dreamer set on making his life a work of art. 

From Humphry's list on Nero (the man and the myth).

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