Nero, Caesar of Rome, born 15 December 37 AD, ruled Roman Empire from 54 AD until 9 June 68 AD, when he died. Was one such depraved individual.
In Dio’s Roman History
we read of his ‘heritage’:
Yet Domitius, the father of Nero, had a sufficient previous intimation of his son’s coming baseness and licentiousness, not by any oracle but through the nature of his own and Agrippina’s characters. And he declared: “It is impossible for any good man to be born from me and from her.”
In Jacob Abbott’s historical account of Nero
we read on page 209,
Nero murdered his mother in cool blood, simply because she was in the way of his plans for divorcing his innocent wife, and marrying adulterously another woman.
For some time after the commission of this great crime, the mind of Nero was haunted by dreadful fears, and he suffered continually, by day and by night, all the pangs of remorse and horror.
It’s a depressing history to read if one believes that there are always redeeming qualities in every man or woman. Nero was an extremely unfortunate individual. Abbott’s inclusion of Nero’s pre-history is crucial to understanding that he began to go wrong before he was even born.
The family of the Brazenbeards was one of high rank and distinction, though at the time of Nero’s birth it was, like most of the other prominent Roman families, extremely profligate and corrupt. Nero’s father, especially, was a very bad man. He was accused of the very worst of crimes, and he led a life of constant remorse and terror. His wife, Agrippina, Nero’s mother, was as wicked as he; and it is said that when the messenger came to him to announce the birth of his child, the hero of this narrative, he uttered some exclamation of ill-humor and contempt, and said that whatever came from him and Agrippina could not but be fraught with ruin to Rome.
Agrippina, Nero’s mother, was brother to the third Roman Emperor, Caligula, who was himself a depraved man.