Fiddling with the Truth

July 19, 64 AD. The Circus Maximus is the main arena in ancient Rome at this time, where tens of thousands watch chariot races and gladiator fights. The stadium is surrounded by shops and bars and restaurants, the whole area teeming with life. And tonight, it will all be destroyed. Nero, the emperor of Rome, will allegedly fiddle while he watches his city burn, and may have even set the fire himself. But if you look at the story a little closer, some of the details just don’t add up. So, what is really true about Nero? And how did a story that was essentially fake news last for 2,000 years?

Special thanks to Anthony Barrett, author of Rome Is Burning: Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty.

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