The last years of Nero's rule particularly characterise our contemporary image of the tyrant, persecutor of Christians and arsonist. This image dates back to the works of antique authors such as Tacitus and Suetonius, members of the aristocracy which Nero approached with ignorance. The exhibition shows his rise to become heir to the throne, his rule and its violent end.
Nero was popular with the people for a long time. He lost his grasp on reality only after some time in office. The development from the young heir apparent and bearer of hopes to the hated tyrant is illustrated beautifully in more than 400 exhibits from Germany and beyond. The great exhibition gives a chronological overview of Nero's career: The murder of his power-hungry mother Agrippina turning point in the first years of his government. The Emperor had a passion for the arts. He was an actor, musician and charioteer, and he built the incredible golden palace, his domus aurea. The facility was constructed on a city area of Rome that had previously been devastated by a horrific fire. After Nero's suicide in a politically irredeemable situation, the crisis of the Empire started into its last act in the region of Trier as well, involving the Celtic tribe of the Treveri. This, too, is a subject of the exhibition.