the eldest son of Germanicus and Agrippina, was a youth of about twelve years of age at the death of his father in A. D. 19.
In the following year (A. D. 20) he was commended to the favour of the senate by the emperor Tiberius, who went through the form of requesting that body to allow Nero to become a candidate for the quaestorship five years before the legal age.
He likewise had the dignity of pontiff conferred upon him, and about the same time was married to Julia, the daughter of Drusus, who was the son of the emperor Tiberius. Nero had been betrothed in the lifetime of his father to the daughter of Silanus (Tac. Ann. 2.43
), but it appears that this marriage never took effect.
By the death of Drusus, the son of Tiberius, who was poisoned at the instigation of Sejanus in A. D. 23, Nero became the heir to the imperial throne; and as Sejanus had compassed the death of Drusus, in order that he might succeed Tiberius, the same motives led him to plan the death of Nero, as well as of his younger brother Drusus. And this he found no difficulty in accomplishing, as the jealous temper of Tiberius had already become alarmed at the marks of public favour which were exhibited to Nero and Drusus as the sons of Germanicus, and he had expressed his displeasure in the senate, in A. D. 24, at the public prayers which had been offered for their health. Spies were placed about Nero, and every word and action of the unhappy young prince were eagerly caught up, misinterpreted and misrepresented, and then reported to the emperor. His wife was also entirely in the interests of Sejanus, since her mother was the mistress of the allpowerful minister; and his brother Drusus, who was of an unamiable disposition, and who did not stand so high in the favour of their mother Agrippina, was readily induced to second the designs of Sejanus, in hopes that the death of Nero would secure him the succession to the throne.
At length, in A. D. 29, Tiberius sent a letter to the senate in which he accused Agrippina and Nero in the bitterest terms, but was unable to convict them of any attempt at rebellion; the haughtiness of the former and the licentiousness of the latter were the chief crimes laid to their charge.
The people, who loved Agrippina and hallowed the memory of Germanicus, surrounded the senate-house, exclaiming that the letter was a forgery. On the first day the senate came to no resolution on the matter, and Tiberius found it necessary to repeat his charges The obsequious body dared no longer resist; and the fate of Agrippina and Nero was sealed. Nero was declared an enemy of the state, was removed to the island of Pontia, and shortly afterwards was there starved to death.
According to some accounts he put an end to his own life, when the executioner appeared before him with the instruments of death. (Tac. Ann. 3.29
,4 ; Suet. Tib. 24
7; D. C. 58.8
.) Respecting Drusus, the brother of Nero, see DRUSUs, No. 16, and respecting Julia, the wife of Nero, see JULIA, No. 9.