Editor says, what if the AD64 Fire in Rome was successfully contained?, muses Jeff Provine on This Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s). This article is part of the Jeff Provine Blog thread.
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Editor says, in reality, the fire raged for five and a half days, destroying nearly half the city. The emperor Nero did much to aid the victims, but nothing could squelch their smoldering discontent (there were even rumors of singing while his city burned, though Tacitus recorded him being in Antium at the time). To redirect public ill sentiment, Nero blamed the grown Christian population of the city. Several Christians even admitted to the conspiracy (though this was proven to be under torture). Christians were thusly thrown to dogs, crucified, and even dipped in oil and burned alive as streetlights, beginning centuries of persecution throughout the empire. Despite the torment, Christianity would survive and even thrive to the Edict of Milan 250 years later when tolerance was declared by the Emperor Constantine.
Meanwhile, Nero used the newly cleared space in Rome to build his Domus Aurea, a palace for which he paid by levying tribute from every province of the empire. It would be another dark badge on the bad emperor's toga. Later taxation policies on the provinces would cause Governor Vindex of Gallia Lugdunensis to rebel, the first link in a chain that would bring about the rise of Galba, who would declare himself emperor and drive Nero to suicide. Editorial comments are entered in [light green] typeface.