What does Trump have in Common with Emperor Nero? Fake News & the Deep State?
As we approach what is being touted as a Super Bowl of politics with Comey’s testimony people are making bets will end Trump’s Presidency for good, it is curious how one Roman Emperor was taken down by the Deep State and declared a public enemy driving him to suicide. The Roman Emperor Nero (54-68AD) gets a bad rap from history. The popular one is his burned Rome so he could build a palace and played the fiddle as it all unfolded. During July of 64 AD, a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70% of the city and leaving half its population homeless. The fakes news created by his enemies was that the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” That story was crafted by his enemies who today would be CNN and the Democrats along with the Washington Post and New York Times. It was clearly the ancient fabrication of fake news.
For one thing, 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.
Nero’s unpopularity developed originally from his mother, Agrippina, Jr., who was a dominate mother and a power hungry woman with many attributed of Hillary Clinton. Agrippina, Jr. was the first woman whose portrait appeared on 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 the connived to marry her uncle, Claudius. The plot then thickens for Claudius’s heir, his son Britanicus, is then poised. 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.
Nero fought with his mother who was really ruling the empire and dominating him in the process. Eventually, Nero broke free by having his mother at last killed. He stages a death by drowning to make it look like an accident when her barrage sank. But she swam ashore and he ordered her killed on the spot. Her last words were to stab her in her womb from which he was born.
These stories clearly circulated in Rome and resulted in Nero being very unpopular. His father Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (c. 2 BC–41 AD) had a dreadful reputation that stained the image of Nero from the start. His father was known for cheating bankers for purchases he made and for cheating refusing to pay the prize money of victorious charioteers. He was also a major womanizer and the Emperor Tiberius charged him with treason, adultery and incest with his sister and also with adultery with another noblewoman. He was saved only by Tiberius’ death and the ascension of Caligula, his brother-in-law.
The true story of Nero, not the fake news version crafted by his enemies as we see going on by CNN and others today with respect to Trump, was that Nero immediately returned and began relief measures to help the people. They still didn’t trust him for his reputation preceded him. His enemies started the rumor that Nero had ordered the fire started, especially after he used land cleared by the fire to build his Golden Palace and its surrounding pleasure gardens. That was not a good decision, which only created conspiracy theories.
Nero himself blamed the Christians for the fire, and had many arrested and executed beginning the Christian persecutions when he was not executing them for their religion at that time. The real source of the stories against Nero are identical in human nature to those spun by career politicians and mainstream media against Trump today. The issue was reforming the corruption in the Senate.
There were many people complaining about the corruption of the tax collectors and this began Nero’s battle against 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 collection of 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. Furthermore, Nero then impeached many officials for corruption and removed them from 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.
Additionally, secret government tax records were now ordered to become public, similar to the $2.3 trillion in missing funds handed to the Pentagon that 911 covered up. To lower the cost of food imports, Nero also directed that merchant ships were declared tax-exempt. None of these measures were Draconian to say the least, but were efforts to weed-out corruption far more than modern governments are willing to carry out. The Deep State was getting very angry at reducing their corruption.
Nero not only reduced taxes, 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 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 of veterans in Italy. There were simply many deed 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. 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 increasingly attack upon corruption. Piso was a leading Roman statesman who it 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, others wished to be free of emperors altogether, and restore a purely Republican form of government. 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.
There is clearly the same plot to overthrow Trump. History repeats because human nature never changes. We have all the elites on Capitol Hill plotting to get ride of Trump and to justify some sort of impeachment trail. Surely, neither Trump nor those who conspire against him on Capital Hill and in the media will commit suicide. Nevertheless, they are fighting tooth and nail for the very same issue – to maintain the corruption behind the curtain. They too are creating fake news to justify their actions today as they did back then.