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In July AD 64 a fire, which lasts for six days, destroys almost all of Rome. Many of the senators think it would be impossible to rebuild the city, and suggest that the capital should be ... See full summary »


Nick Murphy


Nick Murphy


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Episode credited cast:
Michael Sheen ... Emperor "Nero" Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
James Wilby ... Ofonius Tigellinus
Michael Maloney ... Senator Natalis
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Trevor Cooper ... Senator Scaevinus
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Cluvius
Hugh Dickinson Hugh Dickinson ... Seneca
Alex Lowe Alex Lowe ... Milichus
Catherine McCormack ... Poppaea Sabina
Stewart Permutt Stewart Permutt ... Fop
Ben Pullen ... Rufus
Hugh Ross ... Senator Piso


In July AD 64 a fire, which lasts for six days, destroys almost all of Rome. Many of the senators think it would be impossible to rebuild the city, and suggest that the capital should be moved to Naples or Capua. Nero is irresolute and asks his mentor, the philosopher Seneca, about his advice. Seneca says that in a crisis great emperors rule as gods rule, and if Nero does that he can become a god himself. Nero decides to rebuild Rome and at the same time make the city more magnificent than ever before. He has a great vision of a city characterized by art and beauty, but the costs of such a project are enormous. Tigellinus, head of Rome's security force, advises Nero to robe the temples. For most Romans this is a shocking sacrilege, and when Nero starts it he gets into a collision course with the senate. In April AD 65 a group of senators plan to murder Nero, but a slave reveals the conspiracy, and all of them are killed. In one move all political opposition are wiped out, and Nero ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Drama | History







Release Date:

21 September 2006 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


Seneca: You know, years ago, your father falsely accused me of adultery. Exiled me, ruined my name. But he was Emperor. Denying t would have cost me my life. I know what it is to be the enemy of an emperor Nero. I'm too old to be one again.
Nero: You'll never be my enemy.
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User Reviews

Realistic, almost a documentary, and so sad.
21 October 2015 | by nzpedalsSee all my reviews

In the common view, all we know of Nero is that he fiddled while Rome burned. This stunning episode in the series tells a different story, that it was Nero that rebuilt Rome after a horrendous fire.

There is a voice-over that fills in some of the details, but we can follow what is happening as Michael Sheen portrays Nero, at first in full control and so imaginative and far-seeing. Then later, the descent into "madder than a meat-axe". James Wilby is Tigellinus, the chief of security, and does a fine job.

Catherine McCormack is the unfortunate wife, Poppaea. Wonderfully costumed and groomed and almost unrecognisable.

The story is told clearly as the rebuilding bankrupts the Emperor and he goes to extraordinary lengths to get more money and so upsets the Senators that they eventually decide to change their Emperor. There are gruesome events.

Superbly produced, directed and acted, so it's almost a 10.

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