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Death of Britannicus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Detail of the statue showing Britannicus
Author: Gautier Poupeau | License Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa - Na tych samych warunkach 2.0.

Britannicus, a son of the emperor Claudius after his father’s death (he was poisoned by the mother of Nero with a dish of mushrooms) was a big threat to Nero, a half brother. Nero, embracing the purple, was afraid that the Britannicus would want to use his birth in the future and reach for power.

Britannicus was poisoned by Nero on 11 February 55 CE during the feast in front of all guests by the poisoner Locusta, on the day before his fourteenth birthday, when he was about to put on a man’s toga. Britannicus was served with poisoned water in a vase. When the boy fell dead on the dining table, Nero alerted the guests that his adopted brother had an epileptic attack and that they would better focus on food. According to Tacitus, most did. Britannicus hared his father’s fate six months after his death.

  • Tacitus, Annales

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