BBC History Magazine

REIGN OF TERROR

Poisoning his brother

Nero’s earliest alleged crime was the poisoning of his step-brother, Britannicus. As the natural son of Claudius, the previous emperor, Britannicus may have been expected to assume power. Unfortunately for him, however, he was only 13 when his father died in AD 54. And so it was Nero, whom Claudius had adopted as his son in AD 50, who became emperor.

Nero, we are told, was wary of his step-brother, fearing that he might go on to threaten his position. And

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