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 Nero, the tyrant that left his mark on the Olympic Games
May 28, 2012 01h35PM {data}2012-05-28{/data}{hora}13:35{/hora}

Nero is infamous as one of the worst tyrants in Ancient Rome. . Photo: AFP

Nero is infamous as one of the worst tyrants in Ancient Rome.
Photo: AFP

Professional athletes, amateurs, movie stars, activists, dictators, mythological heroes, kings and emperors. All this vast melting pot of personalities is part of the historical world of the Olympics, especially when including the games of old, forgotten stage, losing significance in comparison with current events but still amazing treasures.

One of these chapters, perhaps not as publicized by the characteristics of the protagonist, Nero Claudius reveals that Cæsar Augustus Germanicus, better known as "Nero" could carry the honor of being the most successful competitor since the birth of the Games. During his participation in the Games of AD 67. C., one of the most unpopular tyrants in history, was awarded 1808 olive wreaths, the equivalent of a medal, a record as questionable as impossible to match.

If currently being part of the Olympic Games is associated with the privilege of participating in elite sport in antiquity it was synonymous with glory. Greece turned into the province of Rome, the city of Olympia was seen by the Roman rulers as the place to confirm their supremacy over the country they had defeated.

However, it was not just the concept and his capricious winds that led Nero to participate in the Games. As identified in the Classical World Dictionary, by Simon Hornblower and Tony Spawforth, several years before his presence in Olympia, Nero was already showing his charm in Greek athletics, while his ambition was to "eliminate the fondness for Rome gladiatorial shows to encourage more noble entertainment. "

Hesang and played the harp in a private game of 59 d. C. organized to celebrate his first shave the beard, a year later introduced a game similar to the Hellenic public. Following his plan, in 61 A. C. he opened a gym and even distributed oil to participants for free.

Since the Olympics in 67, Nero had a goal that went against the idea that centuries later would be immortalized by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in that the important thing "is being involved." As pointed out in his book Wernicke Luciano told unusual stories of the Olympics, the only object of the emperor was to win at any price.

The tyrant enrolled in a chariot races, tests that faced horse-drawn carts. According to Wernicke, Nero bribed his rivals to desert as the competition developed. Another version holds that the regulation provided that the race should be run with four animals and the Roman was presented with 10, generating anger and withdrawal of all competitors.

At the point where all do converge is that Nero once fell on a curve in competition. Worse, this accident left him badly injured and almost cost him his life.

The passage of Nero through the Games also included, among others, participation in quadriga of horses, ponies shot ten, heralds, tragedy and harp, singing competitions and declamation. In all these cases and many others, ended the Championship with a crown adorning his head, a "feat" that allowed him to return to Rome for display to the people.

The glory, however, would be very fleeting. A year after his show in Olympia, serious political conflict ended with the Senate declaring the tyrant as a public enemy. This determination led to the flight of Nero, who sought refuge in a village and decided to commit suicide. And there, amid cries would have said: "What artist disappears with me".

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