Saturday, June 9, 2012

This Day in History June 9, 68 A.D.

I am familiar with the person who is featured today.  The crazy emperor of Rome, Nero, committed suicide on this date in 68 A.D.  While not everything is known about what actually happened, it seems as though he was going to be executed as a public enemy.  He hid, and he knew he had to take his life to avoid a painful execution.  But it seems that he actually did not perform the act--he couldn't do it.  He had his private secretary do it.  Sounds like something Nero would do.

Nero is infamous for several reasons.  He was crazy, artistic, sadistic, and full of himself.  Popular legend says he played the fiddle while Rome burned (just a rumor, it would appear).  No one knows for sure if he burned Rome, but he did blame the burning on the Christians.  He then inflicted horrible torture on those of the Christian faith.  He put them in animal skins and had them torn apart by wild animals.  He nailed them on crosses.  He even set them on fire to serve as illumination in his garden at night.

Whenever I think of Nero (and the majority of Roman emperors), I never have a high opinion of them.  Rome was a troubled empire in spite of everything it achieved.  And Nero was one of the worst (although it would seem that Domitian was worse, if I remember my history correctly).  I am always reminded of horrific deaths that Christian martyrs were forced to undergo during his reign.  I am humbled and horrified.  I can only hope that if placed in a situation like that, God would give me the grace to endure.

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