Military Review

Roman fire

Roman fire

There are still no satisfactory explanations of the causes of this monstrous fire that destroyed Rome in 64 BC. What happened on that ill-fated night? It all started on the night of 18 on July 19 and lasted for several days. During this time, 40000 houses were burnt down, 132 villas were burned out, as well as part of the imperial palace. But most of all it is a pity the most ancient temples and shrines destroyed by fire. The emperor Nero himself was at that time outside Rome, but, having learned about the tragedy, he hastily returned to Rome, where he began to organize camps for the residents of the city who were injured in the fire. The emperor tried to maintain low grain prices in order to avoid all kinds of unrest. In the settlements themselves, he oversaw the distribution of food among the fire victims. But not everything went so smoothly. The morale of the Romans was very low, they were all crushed by a catastrophe, they performed redemptive rites, they sought to pacify the angry gods.

The very causes of the fire are unclear. The most common version to this day is that the fire was caused by an accidental fire, but due to unsuccessful planning and poor safety measures, it turned into hell. Rome itself was chaotically settled on seven hills and, accordingly, turned into an overpopulated metropolis. But at that time there was a housing speculation, and the prices were so exorbitant that people who did not have the opportunity to purchase such housing were heaped in in closely-built neighborhoods. It becomes clear that in such conditions any fire can grow very rapidly between houses on several floors, standing side by side along narrow streets. The reasons for the frequent fires often became the fact that people cooked food on open fires, and the rooms were heated by braziers with hot coals.

Does Nero's participation in that terrible fire? As is known, the emperor had an unbalanced character, he was always considered a tyrant and tyrant, and a long list of his evil deeds undoubtedly gave rise to suspicion. Nero's fascination gave impetus to one of the rumors: he was looking for inspiration and an excuse to sing his song about the burning of Troy. There is an opinion that the fire cleared the place for the construction of the Golden Palace conceived by Neyron. Virtually nothing has survived from him, but the emperor then accused the Christians of general dislike for the tragedy. Of course, it was very easy to blame arson on them, because these few and poor people were considered strangers in Rome. It was also beneficial for Nero to begin systematic persecutions of Christians, and this led to the strengthening of his own authority, as the people's discontent was directed to a safe course. As was to be expected, in such cases mass arrests were made, and supporters of the new religion were given to predators in circus arenas, burned, executed in front of the whole people. The catastrophe caused serious material damage to the emperor himself: the palace was badly damaged, and only the ruins remained from the Big Circus. After the death of Nero, the Roman emperors very seriously followed the layout of the buildings and the city as a whole and, surprisingly, it was during this period that the first prototypes of modern fire shops began to appear in Rome.

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