Emperor Nero (Rome): A teenage viper thrust onto the golden throne, dripping with silk and delusions of grandeur. Fiddled while Rome burned, they say. But the fire was a flicker compared to the inferno raging inside his skull. A mother, Agrippina the Ambitious, a she-wolf in a silk dress, clawed her way to power through Nero. Seneca, the philosopher-tutor, a withered old buzzard whispering stoic platitudes into a deaf ear. Nero, a chaos cocktail of bloodlust and artistic pretension, craved applause more than the good of Rome. He played the tyrant like a lyre, out of tune and screeching. Christians, the new scapegoats, tossed to the lions for the amusement of the bored masses. The Great Fire, a dragon awakened by Nero’s madness, devoured the city in a frenzy of orange and ash. The stench of burning flesh mingled with the perfume of Nero’s paranoia. Plots hatched in the shadows, whispers of rebellion slithering through the courts. Nero, a cornered rat, whimpered about poisoned rings and ordered his own throat slashed. The Year of the Four Emperors, a grotesque vaudeville show of bloodshed and betrayal, followed. Rome, a majestic eagle brought low, floundered with a headless neck, its once mighty talons digging into the dust. Nero’s legacy, a putrid stain on the toga of history, a grim reminder of the folly of power grasped by a callow hand.