An exhibition about one of the most notorious, and misunderstood Roman Emperors is coming to London next month.
The exhibition, at the British Museum, aims to explore the true story of Rome’s fifth emperor informed by recent research and archaeological evidence from the time, challenging the biased historical accounts written after Nero’s death that have shaped his legacy.
Although Nero was based in Rome, his reign saw one of London’s most famous events, the sacking of Roman London by Boudica in rebellion against the procurator of Roman Britain, Catus Decianus. Although the classic image of Nero would paint him as an Emperor likened to seek revenge, in fact, he was more lenient after the uprising was put down.
A lot of what we have been traditionally taught comes from exceptionally biased, even by the standards of the time, writers who were supporting later Emperors in consolidating their authority to rule following Nero’s death by suicide. Painting him as a monster helped to justify their own takeover.
In fact, recent discoveries relating to Nero’s fourteen-year rule reveal a more accurate picture about the much-maligned Emperor.
Treasures hidden during the destruction of Colchester in AD 60-61 during Boudica’s Iceni rebellion, burned artefacts from the Fire of Rome in AD 64, and evidence from the destruction of Pompeii uncover a new understanding of Nero’s turbulent and misconceived reign.
The exhibition, which opens on 27th May will feature over 200 objects, drawn from the British Museum’s collection alongside rare loans from Europe, most never seen in the UK before.
The Nero exhibition costs £20, and the Becket exhibition costs £17.
Alternatively, join the membership scheme to get free entry to all the museum’s exhibitions.