Originally Posted by tlaxa
Nero was nothing more than a poor misguided kid manipulated by the ruthless Roman political system. Far from a "great" leader. Or even a "pretty good" leader.
That's a little erroneous. Certainly his mother wanted to manipulate him, but she initially found herself with less power than under Claudius (where she orchestrated the death of many). Then she ended up dead with an anniversary to mark the joyous occasion. As far as I am aware, young as he was, he was his own man. If he had been easily manipulated by the political system, the Senatorial class would not have held him in such contempt. Everyone loves a puppet. Instead, he slaughtered them, and that's why they hated him. He also chose his people carefully. The reason Vespasian survived to be emperor was because he was a nobody. Nero was not worried about him, wherease he moved against others. Also, senators wrote the histories, and their bias is reflected in them. It should be noted that the majority of his executions were contained to that very small group of people.
It also doesn't mean that he was not an effective ruler in other ways. Even Tacitus will concede that he administered laws quite fairly, did much to extend road networks, repair infrastructure, keep up the grain supply, etc. And although he was a bit of a spendthrift, who can blame him for being a patron of the arts? :P
Anyway, I only put him in to rile conne, but he's not as bad as he's made out to be.