Roman Emperor Nero Competed in the Olympics

Let’s Rewind to the 67 AD. The Olympic Games happened with the whole grove. The show was fully set as countless fans went breathless, cheering for the racers standing with their chariots at the starting line.

One of these racers included a foreign athlete with a heart of love for the Greek heroes. The said athlete bathed in the admiration of his idols and wanted to share their glory. This foreigner, trying to shine in the glory of his idols, stood behind the 10-horse chariots, defying the rules of the Olympics, whereas his opponents only showed up with four stallions.

While the officials felt infuriated at this foreigner’s will to not comply with the regulations, they stood in awe of him without any questioning. The name of this bold Athlete was Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the Roman emperor.

The competitors galloped their steeds from the starting line as the race opened. Reaching the first corner, Caesar was at a disadvantage as his chariot of ten horses felt too overweight and bulky to maneuver.

Unable to control the chariot, the horses threw Nero off the chariot, and he sustained almost fatal injuries, almost nearing his untimely demise. But he didn’t give up; He knew that his time would come, and he will try later.

Amidst all his love and admiration for his Greek heroes and their courage, Nero had no reason to compete in the Olympics, and his love would prove no match for his insatiable vanity.

The Encylopedia Britannica dictated the birth of Nero as Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on December 15, 37 AD. He was born in Antium, Latium. The incident of valor shared above clearly highlights how captivated Nero was by the Greek culture. However, his love for his Greek heroes rose with him since he was a boy.

Nero excelled in speaking Greek and had complete trust in his abilities as a performer and a great poet. Nero also performed as a young Kithara singer for his close friends. Although he had an eye for the applause of an artist, Nero followed the Olympic contenders and always wanted to be one of them.

Nero started chasing his dream by establishing the first Greek Games in his Kingdom and called these games “Neronia.” As he arranged Neronia, Nero demanded that the winners devote their victory crowns to him.

The Roman Emperor also altered the course of Neronia to accommodate his talents and tastes in poetry and singing. He did so by announcing singing, trumpeting, lyre-playing, and acting competitions.

However, the lack of athletic abilities proved to be his bane. Nero leveraged his political power to seek his long-life goal. He could strongarm his position in the Olympics not for his sportsmanship and skills but due to his political influence. Nero paid bribes to force his way into the Greek Olympics.

He earned this entrance at the expense of his influence as the ruler, and Nero held an office from 54 to 67 AD. However, politics never seemed according to his tastes, and the boredom born by his political life ensued the wish to seek admiration and applause as an Olympic Competitor.

Nero first participated in the Naples Sebasta in 64 AD. Later in 65 AD, Nero took part as a Kithara singer and poet in the second Neronia. All these participations eventually paved the way for his participation with his ten-steed chariot in the Circus Maximus.

As The Roman Emperor lacked the finesse to win competitions based on skills, he used his political power and wealth to alter the rule of the games.

Changing the rules of the games was not his biggest crime, however. During his final tour of Greece, Nero used force to ensure that the Olympics were held in 67 AD. Having the Olympics during his final tour of Greece allowed him to be a part of the Olympics and make the most of his grandstanding tour.

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