Wednesday, July 7, 2010


A while ago I had to choose a historic figure to dress up as for a school project. I was extremely sucessful, and got a 105 A+ on the project. anyway, the idea was that whenever someone threw a coin into a bowl at my feet, I "came to life", and gave the following speech. I would record it, and show it to you, but I had to present it so many times that I am sick of it. I just thought I would post the written script:

I am Nero, the emperor of all emperors, the star from the heaven! My rule of Rome is perhaps one of the most famous, and for no small reason. Art! Art has saved me, helped feed my weary soul. My own art, my own voice, my own music! Let the people of Rome talk behind my back: my art is worth every bit of ridicule.
My original name was Lucius, but that all changed when my mother married Claudius, the emperor of Rome. She convinced him to adopt me, and he then…mysteriously…died. No one really did find out how, but…I did see my mother messing around with his goblet…she put some…never mind. You didn’t hear any of that from me. There’s no proof, anyway. Since I was older than Claudius’ own son, I became emperor. The first artist-emperor of Rome. This when my name was changed to Nero, by the way.
My stepbrother from whom I had taken the throne then died--don’t ask how-- he just died. My mother was bothered by this. She was going to use him to control me. Well, this is about the time that I became obsessed with art: pantomime, ballet, singing, lyre-playing, anything. But, mostly singing. During a time I refused to eat anything except chives marinated in oil. They help my vocal chords, you see. And I would never, ever eat an apple. They are like demons: they hurt your voice. Beware of the apples! Beware!
When I was young, I had been forced to marry my stepsister, Octavia. It was out of my control: you can’t marry again until your previous wife is dead. But I could start some relationships. Which I did. Even the emperor needs some romance in his life.
My mother didn’t like me cheating on my wife. She didn’t like art. She didn’t like me. Now, you can’t dislike the emperor of Rome and get away with it. Thus started a series of six murder attempts upon my mother’s life. The first three times I used poison, but it soon became clear that that wasn’t working. So, it was time to crank things up a notch with a bedroom ceiling that caved in while my mother was asleep and a ship that deliberately sank. Both times she eluded me. So, I felt ablidged to try things the old fashioned way. I hired an assassin to club her over the head and stab her. Guess what! It worked.
Octavia, my wife, was executed three years later for committing adultery. Okay, maybe not. That’s what you get for forcing me to forcing me to marry! Well, I then married another woman, Poppaea Sabina. A few years later she scolded me for coming home too late, and in my temper I kicked her to death. Poor Poppaea.
Ah, the burn of Rome! During my rein, Rome burnt to the ground. Now, if you have been listening to the rumors circulating, you might believe that I played the fiddle while Rome burned, or even started the fire. Now, any sensible person would no that the fiddle, or violin, wasn’t in Europe until the Byzantine Empire, which started after my death. Far more likely that I played the lyre, a harp-like instrument or sang “The Burning of Troy” or “The Capture of Troy”. And, I didn’t start the blaze, I just took advantage of it, and built an enourmous palace in the ruins once the fire subsided. The palace had a vast garden and an artificial lake--oh, the things that you can afford when you are the emperor of Rome! Anyway, to disprove these dispecible rumors, I had to blame somebody. That somebody, or sombodies, were the Christians.
In order to take the blame off my self, I persecuted the Christians more than any emperor before me! They insulted the Roman gods, and burnt down Rome. They deserved to die! I fed them to wild animals, crucified them, and ties them to poles, which I then set on fire, and made into human torches in my garden. Needless to say that those somebodies soon became some bodies! (laughs) What!? When the emperor makes a joke, you should laugh. Laugh! Laugh! Go on, laugh with me, he he he he he! Oh, ha ha ha! You’re just a bunch of filthy peasants, whose laughing now! Ha ha h…forget it. Anyway, the more people talked behind my back, the more I persecuted. Yet, despite my efforts, it wasn’t enough. The Senate didn’t like me, they were after me. Rather than being publically humiliated, I drank some poison, (gulp) and died in peace. Oh, what an artist the world loses in me!

Here is my written report on Nero that I also had to turn in:

Nero has long been regarded as one of the most brutal, murderous, and selfish emperors that Rome has ever known. But who was Nero? Was he as brutal as all the stories depict? The sad answer is: yes. Nero’s violence and cruelty made a major impact on the lives of the Roman people, many of whom suffered and even died at the hands of this despicable dictator. Nero wasn’t exactly a family person, seeing as he murdered most of his family, a Senate person, seeing as the Senate murdered him, or really even a people person: he murdered a lot of people. He was the worst emperor Rome has ever known.
Nero’s original name was Lucius Domitius Anhenobarbus. He was born on December 15, 37 A.D. to Julia Agrippina. She was banished to the Rontian Islands by Caligula, the Emperor at the time. Nero’s father then died, and his inheritance was seized. Then, Caligula was murdered, and Agrippina and Lucius were able to return home. Once back on the main land, Agrippina married Claudius, the new emperor. Nero received a fine education, and was betrothed to Octavia, his stepsister. Somehow, Agrippina managed to persuade Claudius to adopt Nero. This is when his name was changed to Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus. Claudius’ own son was younger than Nero, and was therefore no longer Claudius’ heir to the throne. The new heir was Nero. Agrippina then supposedly poisoned Claudius, making Nero the emperor.
At first, Nero came across as a kind, humane person. He shuddered over having to sign a form that put to death some slaves who had poisoned their master. However, all of this humanity soon left Nero. Nero starting cheating on his wife, which greatly angered his mother, who started spreading some hostile rumors about him. He proceeded to start another affair, this one with Poppaea Sabina.
Nero became obsessed with the arts. He prided himself in his lyre playing and singing, although to this day no one knows the truth about Nero’s skill. Such was Nero’s devotion to his own singing that he often refused to eat apples, claiming they damaged his vocal chords. Sometimes he would eat nothing but chives marinated in oil, believing they helped his voice. Despite Nero’s own devotion to singing, the people of Rome were not as pleased. Many suspected that Nero had gone insane, and he became very unpopular, even among his own family. His mother became even more resentful, feeling that she had helped a nut to gain power. She looked to his stepbrother, who she had kept in reserve in the event that she lost control of Nero. However, he was dead on the floor, poisoned by the emperor of Rome.
Nero came to greatly dislike his mother. She despised his singing, and his romantic life. What could be done? In Nero’s eyes, there was only one solution: murder. Thrice, Nero attempted to poison Agrippina, but all three times she survived. His schemes became more far-fetched. He rigged her bedroom ceiling to cave in while she was in bed, and he created a large boat that deliberately sank while she was onboard. Despite these attempts, it wasn’t until he hired an assassin to kill her that she was finally stabbed, clubbed in the head, and killed. To explain why he killed his mother, Nero told the Senate that he had uncovered a plot of Agrippina’s to murder him, and he had to act first. The Senate had disliked Agrippina, and accepted his explanation. Three years after his mother’s death, Octavia was executed on the grounds of adultery, and Poppaea Sabina became Nero’s wife.
Nero greatly loved chariot racing, although by no means did he play fair. He would often show up at an arena called the Circus Maximus, ready to race. Nero’s color was purple, and people cheered very loudly for him at first, wearing purple and waving purple cloths. However, Nero was a terrible racer, and soon the number of his supporters dwindled. Nero claimed that his horses were not working well, and decided to hitch some fast moving, but hard to train camels to his chariot instead. The camels didn’t quite work well either, so he started holding his races at night, when no one could see what was occurring, and declaring himself the winner of every one. On a particular night, his wife scolded him for coming home too late. In his anger, Nero kicked his wife to death. He also hitched too many horses to his chariot, and threatened the other racers to let him win. Soon, many fans stopped coming to see him, and Nero finally stopped going to the Circus Maximus.
In the year A.D. 64, a great fire destroyed Rome. Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. However, the fiddle didn’t exist in the year A.D. 64. If Nero did make music during the fire, it is more likely that he played the lyre or sang either “The Capture of Troy” or “The Burning of Troy”. After the fire, Nero helped to rebuild Rome in his own twisted image. He created an enormous palace for himself on the ground where many Romans had perished, generating the belief that Nero was responsible for burning down Rome. He had to disprove this belief, and blamed the Christians.
Christians everywhere, many of whom believed Nero to be the devil, hated him. He crucified some, fed some to wild animals, and tied some others to posts, which he set on fire and used as human torches in his garden. However, the persecution of the Christians didn’t completely save Nero’s reputation. The Senate soon set out to kill him. Rather than be humiliated, Nero decided to drink poison. His last words were: “What an artist the world loses in me!”

Finally, here is the works cited page for both of them. I mad this using I'm sure they would enjoy it if you checked out their fantastic website, or even subscribed):

Donn, Lin. "Ancient Rome for Kids - Emperor Nero." Editorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Mellor, Ronald, and Marni McGee. "Misery, Mistrust, Madness, and
Murder: Successors of Augustus." The Ancient Roman World. Oxford:
Oxford UP, 2004. 98-100. Print.

Nosotro, Rit. "Nero." Editorial. Hyper History. N.p., 2000-
2009. Web. 27 May 2010. .

As a background for my sppech I made a poster of Rome burning (thanks for the help, Dad) and dressed in Roman atire ( a toga with grape leaves in my hair and a zither on my lap (I couldn't fing a lyre). Anyway, I guess it's time to close this post, until next time, oh what an artist the world loses in me!

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