On this day: Raging inferno in Rome

While the Eternal City was engulfed in flames Nero, galvanized by the sight of the burning metropolis, was looking around with satisfaction at the top of the palace singing of the fall of Troy. However dramatic the picture of the Roman Emperor enjoying art in the midst of the apocalypse is, the description of the shameless Nero conveyed by the strongly biased chronicles of Suetonius and Cassius Dio is very likely to be false. Actually, at the time of the catastrophe the emperor was staying in his villa 37 miles (60 kms) away from the blaze which began on the night of July 18, 64 AD, and raged for six days.

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