5. Nero was condemned by the upper classers and political enemies as despotic and insane
The Roman Emperor known to posterity as Nero enjoyed overwhelming popularity with the common people during his reign from 54 to 68 CE. At the same time, the upper class in the Roman Empire detested him, largely because he paid for his many public works by increasing taxes. Numerous plots against him developed among the wealthy and powerful, and he reacted to them using the legal means available at the time. But he almost certainly did not start the Great Fire of Rome in 64 CE. Nor did he watch the city burn while playing a lyre. Instead, the Emperor organized relief efforts, provided shelter in his palaces to those rendered homeless, and eventually created an urban redevelopment plan. It contained some of the earliest building codes in recorded history. Contemporary historians and political enemies created the myths of his complicity in the fire.
The man was certainly no saint, having been involved in the murder of his mother, Agrippina, though to what extent is debated. He married both women and men, at different times, assuming the role of the bride when he wed a former slave known as Pythagoras. He survived several conspiracies against him, though in the end a group opposed to his public works and taxes had him tried in absentia as a public enemy. Faced with certain death he committed suicide, though he required the assistance of his secretary to accomplish it. After his death his popularity with the common people continued. The upper classes made every attempt to erase his image from Roman eyes, and condemned him in writing and orations. Impostors claiming to be Nero lead rebellions against the state, gaining significant public support for two decades following his death.