In popular culture, Nero is thought of as the Emperor who played the fiddle as Rome burned to the ground. Whilst this might not be strictly factual, it does hint towards another side of this infamous character. For this episode, Dr Shushma Malik returns to The Ancients to discuss Nero's interest and talents in the arts: in poetry, on stage and playing the cithara. Shushma shares the evidence provided by Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio to explore how commonplace these hobbies were, how Nero's performances were received and whether they can give us a deeper understanding of Nero's matricidal behaviour. Shushma, from the University of Roehampton, also explains why good acting was not only necessary on the stage during Nero's rule.
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