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Nero by suburbanbeatnik Nero by suburbanbeatnik
This is hot off the presses, so to speak. I did this only about an hour ago! In high school, the Roman emperor Nero was my favorite historical figure, and he still holds a special place in my heart... in a manner of speaking. Personally, I think historians like Tacitus and Suetonius did a hatchet job on him, as they wrote decades after his death, when a rival dynasty had come into power (rather like the way Shakespeare wrote about Richard III, in fact). I always pictured him as a cross between Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison- a careless, attractive, creative fellow, popular with the masses, who overestimated his own cleverness and charisma, and who ended up destroying himself.

This is pretty much the way I've pictured him for years. He wasn't red-headed or dark-haired; he was actually a blond, and I dressed him in a simple flowing Hellenistic tunic and cloak, embroidered and made of rich fabric (probably byssus- a fine cloth, either cotton or linen, often mixed with silk). If I ever have time, I'd like to perhaps do a larger painted version of this.
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:iconstardropsylveon:
stardropSylveon Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2015  Student General Artist
When I first heard of Nero, I thought he seemed okay.
then after googling him I was like "damn, he's a nut"

I still say he's my favourite emperor. :D
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Keep in mind none of the biographies about him were written with a favorable bias, and were written long after his death by his political enemies. Like Richard III, maybe? I wonder how much can be believed...
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:iconnekohimemurasakixd:
NekoHimeMurasakiXD Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014
Brilliant! ^^ I love this sketch. Tbh I'm also working on a Nero Illustration and I'm torn between painting his hair blonde or strawberry blonde. Suetonius describes him as  blond but his original family name "Ahenobarbus" translates as "Red bearded". I've also read in some other biographies that he had reddish hair, just like his father and his aunt Domitia Lepida. Oh well--- \
I also believe he has been way too demonized and misunderstood by history. Sure, he lived quite like a monster (if the old historians say the truth) but so did  many other men in history and now they're being worshipped as heroes. :/ 
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree. I usually would make him a blond, though, because of Suetonius' description. And that ties into his Apollo fixation. 

Speaking of horrible people who are now lauded, look at Andrew Jackson, now on our $20 bill. The guy committed genocide... he was far, FAR worse than Nero even if believe everything Suetonius, Cassius Dio and Tacitus wrote, though hardly anyone will admit that. So yeah. :/ 
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:iconkittykinkin:
KITTYKINKIN Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love Nero a lot. Even though I'm a Christian.:p We are born on the same day (Dec.15). That makes me love him. I love you Nero.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Was he really? Well, it's almost Nero's birthday again! I'll be sure to raise a glass in honor of his Imperial Majesty. :D
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:iconkittykinkin:
KITTYKINKIN Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah. And happy 17th birthday to me!!!!!!!!!!
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:iconantoniabraginski:
antoniabraginski Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013   General Artist
I know this was posted a while ago, but I have to say Nero was my favorite emperor... But my history hated him and always shot down my counter arguments against the historians who wrote of him. Difference of opinion I guess?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
LOL but your old history is WRONG and we're RIGHT!

Seriously speaking, it boils down to how one interprets the original sources, pretty much.
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:iconantoniabraginski:
antoniabraginski Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013   General Artist
LOL I meant to type my old history teacher, but whatever. I always said, no, he wasn't the one to burn Rome and no they didn't hate him. But who listens to the student?

I totally agree with you. I see him as misinterpreted. She saw him as a vile evil person.
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:iconfried-nuns:
fried-nuns Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012
hi i just want to comment because haha i really like nero i think hes my favorite historical person. he was just, so complex man. my god did he try.

i like how in his coins you can actually see him grow up from being a goofy little boy to this pissed off looking dude whos so done with everything haha wow nero
-oh god im blabbing-
but some coins even have him playing the lyre and also one with the gates of the temple of janus closed because parthians i think

dang nero dang

its kinda sad that his kid died i wonder what that was like for him
-spills more words-

ok sorry. i really like this. i read that the upward tilt of the head in some of his coins was a greek influence and thats a nice thing with him being a massive philhellene
you put it here too so that makes me happy eeeee

i wonder what nero would be like today haha maybe like kadryov because idk he has that obnoxious facial hair or maybe hed be one of those eccentric types who would get in trouble idk

anyway lovely work and yeah a+
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Yeah, I pretty much agree. Poor Nero. He couldn't win for losing, could he?

But something tells me he'd be tickled to be remembered as the anti-Christ.
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:iconpimsleurable:
Pimsleurable Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
I read somewhere that the man who murdered Emperor Nero was Arrius Calpurnius Piso, member of the Piso family and opponents of the Julian dynasty.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Piso tried to kill him, but he didn't succeed.
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:iconpimsleurable:
Pimsleurable Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013
The Piso Conspiracy, brought to you in part by the inactive the "Roman Piso" webpage.

I find history to be a little sketchy, but compared to those Emperors who became Christian(s), how much worse were they than Nero?
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:iconblondy-13:
blondy-13 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
I love this! Nero is my favorite historical figure, too! That drawing is amazing, you are incredibly talented.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I am a fan too, if you couldn't tell. :)
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:iconselub:
Selub Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Good sketch. I was taught that he started off a good politician (or as close as there is to such a thing) but he got worse and worse as he go older. Ended up torturing random citizens to try and uncover assassination plots and eventually burnt down a poor people ghetto in Rome. My teacher thought Nero may have been schizophrenic. True or not I thought there was interesting history around him and his story however it may have been changed over time.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Nero did a lot of awful things, but he also did a lot of good things too (he was v. interested in science and technology, started diplomatic relations with the Parthians, was generally against war and was even against gladiatorial fights because he hated bloodshed, he eased off taxes for people in the east, and after the fire [and it's a consensus among historians that he had nothing to do with it] he provided relief and charity for those who'd lost homes. He was a complicated person who was demonized by succeeding dynasties because it was politically expedient.

Did you know that many people in Greece and Asia Minor loved Nero so much that they hoped he would return, like King Arthur? The notion of him as being 'evil' was not universally believed, even back then.
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:icontahuzilla:
Tahuzilla Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
good sketch- but wasnt he some-what fat? O-o
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
He did gain weight, but when he was young (very young, late teens, early twenties) he was really fit. He was really into athletics and chariot-racing, etc.
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:iconwandering-thought:
Wandering-Thought Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2009
I love this style! I had to do a paper on him and it certainly changed my previous view on the guy. He may be classified as a bad emperor, but dammit he was great with the foreign affairs.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Whatever the following dynasties and their historians said about Nero, he was very popular in Greece and the east, and with commoners. There were an amazing number of guys who pretended to be him and gain popular support... He was like King Arthur to a lot of people back then. Weird, huh?
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:iconarchaic-smyle:
archaic-smyle Featured By Owner May 27, 2009
OMG. This picture makes me so happy for so many reasons, you just don't even know. First of all, I am also a long-time lover of Nero. Ever since studying him in-depth in college (I'm a Classics major, now headed to grad school in it, whee!), I've had a HUGE crush on him. To the point that friends, profs and even strangers around our department would call me the "Nero girl". Good times. But yeah, I totally agree with you on his bad reputation not being totally deserved. Suetonius and Tacitus and others like them have axes to grind and reading through the histories in Latin, you really see the biases.

Second of all, this is a really gorgeous picture of him. It's totally him, in face, pose and everything. I LOVE it. <3

Long comment is long. Sorry for the rambling, but I couldn't help myself when I saw this. I could go on forever about Nero, haha.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Sorry for the late reply, but I thought your comment was so cool! I actually used to carry a drawing of Nero around on my binder in high school. People thought he was my boyfriend, seriously. It was hilarious!

Have you ever read Edward Champlin's "Nero"? My classicist friends tell me I need to check it out. It looks very interesting.
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:iconkkm25:
kkm25 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
This is really good. For a Roman during the Pax Romana, Nero's good in my book. I love the classical pose. It's very Roman. :D
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:iconmichelleprebich:
MichellePrebich Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008   Filmographer
I love this. I recently got into Nero after seeing a production of "Brittanicus". Excellent job.
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:iconimperator-antea:
imperator-antea Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
That's really lovely! Nero is one of my favourites - but not my favourite; Caligula is XD - and you've just caught his look how it really had to be... Very good work!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you like it. If I do say say so myself, I'm quite pleased with my interpretation of Nero. :D
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:iconarinya13:
Arinya13 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2008
It's fun that you should mention your love for the Roman emperor Nero. Nero has always been my favourite Roman emperor and I agree on your view of him.

The way you draw him - well, all I can say is that I find him to be very attractive. And the clothes - how do you manage making such an elegant flow in the clothes? It's almost as if you could reach out and feel the softness of the cloth.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I used to be really fascinated with Roman clothing, since it's at once really elaborate and extremely simple. Also, if you don't nail all the details just right, it looks like ass, which explains why most Roman-era Hollywood movies have hideous costumes. It's all in the cloth, man- all in the cloth!

Nero has always gotten a bad press, to the extent that most of the time he's portrayed as a singing Emperor Ming of Mongo. But I'm sure- the fame whore that he was- that he'd be tickled pink to be remembered after 2000 years, even if it's not flatteringly. As they say here in Hollywood, the only bad publicity is no publicity!
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:iconarinya13:
Arinya13 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2008
Oh, I'm sure that Nero would be pleased to know that he was being remembered. He would be flattered that people still read about him - even though he is getting a bad press!

Besides your love of Roman clothing, is there anything else you love about the Roman world or the Antiquity in particular? I have always loved reading about ancient history. I love Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. As for people I find Gaius Julius Caesar, Augustus, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Ramesses II, Nero and Alexander the Great to be very interesting.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Eh, I'm not so much into ancient Egypt. Also, I can be kind of on and off about classical Greece and the Hellenes (I do heart the Byzantines, though). I'm pretty interested by ancient Assyria- they were like the Aztecs of Mesopotamia. Gotta love those glam murdering bastards! Plus, their beards were awesome. Achaemenid Persia and Parthia are pretty cool too.
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:iconarinya13:
Arinya13 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008
I just love ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. But I also have a great love of the ancient times of Japan -especially the time of Shoguns, Samurai and Geisha. There is just something really magical about the Japanese way of life, art and history. The country is also amazingly beautiful.

So you like the Middle East history more than the European when it comes to ancient history? Is there some very special reason why you feel a connection to these places? Is it the culture at that time, the art, the events which occured or the people?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I've always been somewhat more interested in China than Japan, esp. the Tang dynasty- no doubt because I read "Court of the Lion" too many times. [link] But Japan is interesting (although self-described Western 'otakus' make me green). What I find especially interesting is the dynamic between China, Korea and Japan and how they all hate each others guts. I grew up around a lot of Chinese and Korean Americans, and a lot of Japanese kids went to my old college, so believe me, I heard about it in detail! ;P

As for the ancient Middle East, I dunno. I guess I like it for the same reason I like Chinese history- polytheism and decadent monarchs really cream my twinkie. Also, mmm, the local foods...
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:iconcursedfreak:
CursedFreak Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very nicely drawn! Roman history rocks! And so does Nero and his family's lives.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Yay, Julio-Claudians! Thanks- I'm glad you like. :D
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:iconcursedfreak:
CursedFreak Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Julio-Claudians rule!! (well, they actually did ^^u)

U're welcome!
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:iconchibiyueying:
ChibiYueYing Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2008
I've been meaning to comment on this for a while. I can't believe I never got to it! I love how you just captured him so well. The expression and everything is priceless. Words cannot describe. Awesome gallery, great style and some awesome subject matter. :3
Amazing.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you like my take on Nero and that you like my gallery as well. :)
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:iconrockpunk92:
rockpunk92 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2007
oo i thought i was the only one who goes chilly everytime i hear his name ...ooo shivers....Me likey!!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Yay! That's so good to hear. Nero forever! :glomp:
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:iconrockpunk92:
rockpunk92 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2007
yaya!! But was he the one that slept with his mom?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, allegedly... depends how much credence you give to the ancient historians. The main accounts of Nero we have were written fifty years after his death, by men working for the rival dynasty that followed the Julio-Claudians. Sorry, I'm a history nerd... ;P
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:iconrockpunk92:
rockpunk92 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007
oo no apology. I had read that on some history site, i like history too hehe yay!!!! But finally someone has shed light on that whole dilema i've been wondering. THANK YOU!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Np... glad to help! :D
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:iconslayerofpriests:
slayerofpriests Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007
haha! I'm doing this guy in collage. I was wondering if anyone drew him on DeviantArt.
Fantastic work, just how I pictured him (if a bit more tubby. I don't know why since he was in the oplimpics)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, he gained a lot of weight later on in life (and I don't know how shy he was about it, since coinage from later on in his reign lovingly shows his double chins). Whatever else he was, he certainly seems like an exhibitionist!

By the way, when will you be done with your collage? I'd love to see it!
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:iconslayerofpriests:
slayerofpriests Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2007
What do you mean "when will you be done with your collage? I'd love to see it!" ?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Just what I said! ;P I'd love to see anything Nero related... are you going to post the collage to DeviantArt?
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