Sunday, September 18, 2005

And Isn't it Ironic, Don't You Think?

I was watching a show on the Science Channel this evening about Nero's Golden House. For those of you who didn't watch the fabulous "When in Rome Week" on the History Channel, Nero was the fifth emperor of Rome. You may have heard he fiddled while Rome burned. Apparently that's not true, but he did take over 200 acres of downtown Rome on which to build his Golden House and extravagant grounds, complete with artificial lake, after the fire, presumably because the ruined land was cheap. ;)

His profiting greatly from a natural disaster didn't sit well with Rome ruling class or with the Senate. The ultimate insult to them was the 120 ft. bronze statue of himself called the Colossus Neroni. After that flight of egotism, the aristocrats began to plot, as they do, and eventually Nero was deposed, fled Rome and stabbed himself in the throat, thus ending his family's rule.

Nero was succeeded, eventually, by Vespasian, who founded the Flavian Dynasty. The Flavians did all they could to erase Nero from both the Roman consciousness and the history books. They built over the Golden House and even paved over the lake and built a huge amphitheatre over it. It was called The Flavian Amphitheatre and still stands today. Now, though, we call it the Colosseum, because Nero's Colossus stood nearby.

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