Virginia Closs, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The poetry-and-performance obsessed Nero of legend can credibly be imagined as reaching for his lyre (or cithara) to align his burning city more closely with Troy, her mythic predecessor. Yet by the same token Romans, accustomed to drawing these same parallels, can easily be believed to have used them to construct both the accusation of Nero’s alleged arson, and the rumor of this performance during the fire.
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