Armstrong Economics Blog/Religion Re-Posted Mar 3, 2023 by Martin Armstrong
Many in Antiquity were claiming that Nero was the AntiChrist. No doubt, there was even an academic consensus that Nero should be identified with the various Antichrist figures in the bible. I seriously doubt that any of that analysis was correct. Nero was really slandered in antiquity because of the Great Fire of Rome claiming he set the fire and played his fiddle as Rome burned. First of all, the fiddle didn’t exist in ancient Rome since it only made its appearance during the 11th century. There is no such evidence that Nero played anything during the great fire. The Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56–120AD) wrote that Nero was rumored to have sung about the destruction of Troy while watching the city burn; however, he stated clearly that this was unconfirmed by eyewitness accounts. That was the origin of the saying. When the Great Fire broke out, Nero was at his villa at Antium, some 35 miles from Rome, and was not watching anything burn.
Nero’s unpopularity developed originally from his mother, Agrippina, Jr., who was a dominant mother and a power-hungry woman with many attributes of Hillary Clinton. Agrippina, Jr. was the first woman whose portrait appeared on Roman gold coins during her lifetime. She was first banished by her brother Caligula for being suspected of a plot against him to take the throne. She was very lucky to escape that one with her life. She then connived to marry her uncle, Claudius. The plot then thickens for Claudius’s heir, his son Britanicus, is then poisoned. Some attributed this to Nero, but it seems more likely the deed of his mother. Upon Claudius’s death, which she also may have aided with poison, she really rules the empire in her son’s name who was still a teenage boy much as Hillary ruled the country while Bill fiddled around. Like Hillary, she wanted power.
Eventually, Nero broke free by having his mother at last killed. He staged a death by drowning to make it look like an accident when her barrage sank. But she swam to shore and he ordered her killed on the spot. Her last words were to stab her in the womb from which he was born. So ended the life of a very vile woman whose quest for power led her to try to kill her brother and then kill her nephew and finally her uncle.
It was Agruppina Jr, who really made Nero very unpopular. Yet, since the people were blaming Nero for the fire, he needed a scapegoat. They became the Christians who he had arrested and executed beginning the Christian persecutions. He did not execute them for their religion at that time. He just needed a scapegoat. Nero was also struggling against the corruption within the Deep State. Sound familiar? Nero took on the fight clashing with the bureaucracy that set in motion his own demise. Tax collectors were accused of being corrupt and too harsh with the poor. Nero championed the little guy and transferred the collection of the tax authority to lower commissioners. Nero banned also any magistrate or procurator from exhibiting public entertainment for fear that the venue was being used as a method to sway the populace to support their corruption behind the scenes – hence giving them circuses and free food. Furthermore, Nero then impeached many officials for corruption and removed them from the government as well as having many arrested for extortion and corruption.
As further complaints arose from the people that the poor were being overly taxed, Nero attempted to repeal all indirect taxes. The Senate convinced him this action would bankrupt the public treasury. As a compromise, taxes were cut from 4.5% to 2.5%. He also began the first debasement of the silver coinage whereas the average fineness pre-64AD was 97.5% as this was reduced to 93.5%. The weight of the silver denarius was also reduced from 3.63 grams to 3.36 grams in 64AD. This was to accommodate the lower taxes on the poor.
Additionally, secret government tax records were now ordered to become public. To lower the cost of food imports, Nero also directed that merchant ships were declared tax-exempt. None of these measures sat well with the Senate, to say the least. They were clearly efforts he took on in his battle against the Deep State trying to weed out corruption. The Deep State, at the time, was getting very angry at reducing its corruption.
Nero not only reduced taxes, but he also gave slaves permission to file civil complaints against unjust masters, which was very shocking to many. Now the elite really got angry. Nero also imposed a tax of 4% on the sale of slaves that was to be remitted by the seller. Nevertheless, purchasers typically found that the tax was merely added as part of the price in a European VAT fashion.
Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC–AD 65), was a Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman. He was a tutor and later advisor to Emperor Nero. Seneca had a hand in financial reform to improve the financial administration of the Empire. Governors were actually being prosecuted for extortion rather than the modern version of too-big-to-jail. The emperor by an edict (Executive Order today) forbade any magistrate or procurator in the government of a province to exhibit a show of gladiators or of wild beasts, or indeed any other public entertainment. This was typically the method Governors bought favor from the people to cover up the extensive bribery and extortion.
Nero also established retirement colonies for veterans in Italy. There were simply many deeds he enacted prior to 64AD that reveal a decent administrator of the Empire. Nero even attempted to promote free trade by removing all indirect taxes. However, this proved too difficult to administer due to the pervasive corruption.
The Deep State conspired to kill Nero for his reforms. Some sources state that Seneca may have been innocent, but he was also implicated and forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in the Pisonian Conspiracy to assassinate Nero. Human nature most likely implicated Seneca for he was believed to be directing Nero in the reform effort. It makes sense that they would have falsely accused Seneca to get rid of him as well.
The conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso in AD 65 was a major turning point for it was clearly the Deep State rising up against Nero. The plot reflected the growing discontent among the ruling class of the Roman state with Nero’s increasing attack upon corruption. Piso was a leading Roman statesman who was said intended to have Nero assassinated and replace him as Emperor through acclamation by the Praetorian Guard. He was joined by many prominent senators, equestrians, and soldiers. The conspirators were said to have varying motives. Some wished to replace Nero with a better emperor who understood the Deep State was off limits, others wished to be free of emperors altogether, and restore a purely Republican form of government and all its free-wheeling corruption.
According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the ringleaders included a Praetorian tribune named Subrius Flavus, and a centurion named Sulpicius Asper, who helped Piso devise the plot, which was discovered when a woman named Epicharis tried to solicit Proculus, a fleet captain in Campania, to join the conspiracy. Instead, Proculus turned her in, but she committed suicide. Another named Milichus discovered the conspiracy and reported it to Nero’s secretary Epaphroditos. When arrested, many conspirators quickly ratted everyone else out to save themselves. Nero ordered Piso, the philosopher Seneca, his nephew Lucan, and the satirist Petronius to commit suicide.
Trump’s battle to drain the swamp was certainly nothing new to history. The Deep State from the NSA, FBI, CIA, the Neocons, along with the media CNN, Washington Post, and the New York Times, all joined forces to remove Trump to also protect the Deep State.
I believe that the early Biblical scholars eat up the fake news of the day as the Deep State sought to slander Nero for their war against him who was also trying to drain the swamp. Lacking a real understanding of the politics of Rome, they bought into that and declared Nero an AntiChrist. Once again, he was neither a Jew nor was he persecuting Christians for their religion.
Their attribution of Nero as the AntiChrist was just the outcrop of fake news. It was Nero who liberated Greece from taxation and rose to protect the people who even canceled his trip to Egypt to ensure the grain supply reached Rome safely without the corruption of the Deep State. Nero even issued a sestertius showing the modern port of Ostia to ensure that grain would arrive at Rome from Egypt.
Shushma Malik’s book also refutes that view of Nero as the AntiChrist as she challenged the academic assumption that literary representations of Nero as a tyrant were wrong. The fake news put out by the Deep State merely served to prejudice most Christian populations located at the time who were in Asia – the East. She deconstructs the associations often identified by scholars between Nero and the Antichrist in the New Testament.