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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Nero: The Man Behind the Myth

May 27 – Oct 24, 2021
Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK

Nero’s 14-year reign (54–68 A.D.) is infamous for its violence and turbulence. He is known for such atrocities as having had his mother and first two wives killed, as well as possibly lighting the Great Fire of Rome (64 A.D.). Yet recent archaeological discoveries challenge the prevailing image of Nero as a simple villain, and focus more on his complexities of character as a man and as a ruler. It turns out that his pragmatic approach to relief and reconstruction after the fire and his involvement in the arts and public games may have been great assets to Rome. With over 200 objects ranging from sculptures to manuscripts to precious jewels, this exhibition tracks the rise and fall of Rome’s fifth emperor, revising existing notions of Nero’s Rome and highlighting his contributions to the young empire. —Sabina Vitale