The fire most mentioned by the ancient historians was that of arson that broke out in Rome which has expanded the area of ​​the Palatine and the Colosseum also occurred in 64 AD.

Speaks of this event in his Annals Tacitus, Pliny in his Natural History and Suetonius in his report on the Life of the Caesars.

All reminders that Nero considered if not the author, but perhaps the instigator of such an event, to stop the rumors of the Roman people had to find scapegoats: the Christians.


Rome to ashes

It's the year A.D. 64.

The Roman emperor, Nero, is out of town is spending the summer months at the spa of Anzio. Not expected that his stay will be short: a catastrophic event is about to fall on Rome. On the night between 19 and 20 July the Circus Maximus suddenly catches fire. The area between the Palatine and Caelian full of workshops in wood, full of merchandise fuels; fertile ground for the fire, which, aided by the wind, advancing like a sea compact and impenetrable.

At first, the fire blazes on the ground, then rises devastating to the hills back down to the bottom, prevented any defense and the speed of the flames and the narrow, winding streets especially in irregular neighborhoods, as there were then in old Rome.

These are the words of a medieval writer to describe the wave glow that invests Rome until July 28. Ten days... of fire!


The megalopolis against the megalomaniacal

Once in Rome, Nero is facing a dramatic scenario: of the 14 regions of Augustan:

• 3 are razed to the ground;

• 7 are in ruins;

• 4 are safe in a partial way, along with the Forum, Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill


The regions affected by the fire of Rome in 64 AD

The Domus Transitional, which joined the former imperial residence palace of Tiberius on the Palatine with the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline, was reduced to ashes.

Unspecified number of deaths, especially in the tangle of streets and alleys of the humble neighborhoods, surrounded by fire and difficult to reach because of the collapse of the walls in wood. More than half of the Romans lost home and work: the despair reigns supreme.

But for Nero 's worse: the people, that a few days before the cheering obsequious, now turns against angry and accuses him of being the real culprit of the fire.

It outlines a clash between two titans: the megalopolis on the one hand, the megalomaniacal other.

Surely the exaggerated self-centeredness and paranoid Emperor, always clear and under the eyes of all, does not help to bring agreement in time of need.

But Nero was the architect of the disastrous event ?

And because the people who accuse him ?


Two indications of guilt

Nero understands the difficulties of the people and tries to run for cover: open to displaced the Campus Martius, the buildings of Agrippa and the imperial gardens.


Not only that.

He himself is working to build temporary buildings host and distribute all kinds of food, also sold as a result of very low price.


But good intentions are not enough.

Tacitus, shortly after the historic period, points out: " The infamous opinion that the fire had been commanded by the emperor remained firmly rooted."

Other ancient historians, witnesses do not always objective opinions of the time give a unanimous verdict of guilty.


Why so much rage?

As I mentioned, the emperor suffers from an obvious magnitudinis delirium, a form of megalomania that does not make it sympathetic to this side character that borders on lunacy, add two indications of guilt:

1. desire, often expressed, to found a new Rome and call it Neropoli

2. purchase, a few months before the fire, low cost, a vast area between the Esquiline and Palatine (on which will extend the Domus Aurea).


So much "meat" to put the fire to feed the more gossipy.

But back to ancient historians.

What do you think ?

Suetonius says:

Disgusted by the ugliness of the old buildings and narrow streets, and all curves, [ Nero ] set fire to the city (...) had even planned to build a new Rome and call it Neropoli.

The same opinion is Cassius Dio:

Nero felt the desire to realize what he had always hoped and that is bankrupting the entire city as long as he was alive (...) So secretly commissioned some men who, acting as if they were drunk, hanged outbreaks of fire in more parts of Rome.

Last but not least, the confirmation of the previously mentioned Tacitus:

Nero took advantage of the disaster the city to build a luxurious residence, where they were not so much to admire gems and gold (wealth became even trivial to a man called Nero), as farmland and lakes, with forests, parks, spaces and perspectives: a work of imaginative architects Severus and Celer, whose genius is sbizzarriva boldness in creating the art that is not offered in the cheerful nature and squandering the wealth of the prince.


Fires 217 and 250 AD

In 217, a fire, presumably triggered by lightning, caused the collapse of the upper structures, the restoration of the Colosseum made ​​close to five years old, 217 to 222, during which time they moved the games in the Circus Maximus. The restoration work was begun under Elagabalus (218-222) and carried out by Alexander Severus, who remade the colonnade at the summa cavea. The building was reopened in 222, but only under Gordian III work could be said to be concluded. Another fire caused by lightning was the cause of the repair work ordered by the Emperor Decius in 250.


Fire today

The monument was targeted by a young Dane from an Argentine to quell their insane passion: to create fire. They have already gained some experience in having burned down not long ago the contemporary art museum ARoS in Copenhagen, and they did not even fernati front of the Cathedral of Copenhagen, in fact, also set fire to the Logumkloster. But the atmosphere of northern sparsely populated was not enough and they have continued the work of various buildings on fire in Berlin to Frankfurt and then again in Kiev and arrived in September arrived in Rome with an obsession: set fire to the Colosseum, or at least a part of it. They made it ! Anyone who is found on the night between 17 and 19 September 2010 near the famous monument is left open-mouthed by the spectacle of flames triggered by two talented arsonists who said they had big plans: burn the Altar of the Fatherland, the Pantheon.



Translated via software



Italian version of