Nero was the fifth and final Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His full name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, but when he was adopted by his great uncle Claudius and became his heir to be the next Roman Emperor hi name changed to Nero Claudius Ceasar Augustus Germanicus. He succeeded to the throne on 13 October, 54, after Claudius’s death. “During his rule from 54 to 68 Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade, and increasing cultural-capital of the empire.” His rule as Emperor was often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He was obsessed with retaining his title as Emperor, and would not hesitate to execute or ruthlessly kill anyone who he saw as a threat or opposition against him. He stamped out all conspiracies against him. He even killed his own mother.
On the night of 18 July to 19 July 64 the Great Fire of Rome occurred. According to Tacitus a historian who lived through this period and recorded the fire in some detail wrote, “The fire spread quickly, and burned for five days. It completely destroyed four of fourteen Roman districts and severely damaged seven others.” It was not certain who or what started the fire, but it was rumoured that Nero had planned it. Others said differently. A famous rumour was that Nero played on his fiddle while Rome burned, but this rumour was just a lie. However, someone had to be blamed, and because of rumours many held Nero responsible. Nero shifted the blame to the Christians living in Rome, and ordered all Christians to be killed. This is why Nero started persecuting the Christians in Rome at this time. It was easy for Nero to shift the blame onto the Christians, as Christianity was very new, and many people did not understand their views and beliefs; they saw them as a new fanatic religious group.
There were many ways in which Nero persecuted the Christians. At first an arrest was made of all the Christians who pleaded guilty. It was most probable that these Christians who pleaded guilty did so after being tortured in excruciating ways. For some Christians, they were dressed up in animal skins, and thrown to the dogs that ripped them apart. For others, they were nailed to crosses and crucified; some were even crucified upside down. Others were burned as nightly illumination and amusement when daylight had expired. It is recorded by many that Nero was the first persecutor of Christians. It is also believed that Peter and Paul the Apostle were martyred at this time in Rome by the hands of Nero.
Mark was probably “John Mark” whose mother was Mary. If John Mark was the author of Marks Gospel then we know a bit about him. He was a travelling companion with Paul on his first missionary trip, but fell out with him halfway through. Christian history also links John Mark with Peter. It was recorded by papias that, “Mark was Peter’s helper, and that he recorded Peter’s preaching, and his stories of everything he could remember of his time with Jesus.” Mark was not one...