We round up the reviews for the British Museum’s major new exhibition exploring the life of the infamous ruler.


Evening Standard: **** “As ever, the exhibition avoids sensationalism – even when the facts really are sensational.”

The Observer: **** “But what makes this show so unusual is precisely its offer of different truths. Nothing in it convinces me that Nero was a hero, but neither does it damn him on the basis of Tacitus and his colleagues. Its true subject, in a sense, is the way that history calcifies into dogma, but may come alive again, in all its complexity, through modern minds and eyes.”

London Visitors: “This fascinating exhibition gives context to Nero’s reign and provides some insight into a Roman world which was enjoying the spoils of empire. Nero was its figurehead and he enjoyed his imperial status, however even if his tyranny was exaggerated by a ruling elite, there was little doubt that power corrupted the young ruler that led to his early demise.”

The Times: **** “The mood is dramatically austere. Pale marble statues stand, tall and imposing, gazing blank-eyed into the prevailing gloom. But the story that these classical figures tell, it emerges, is far from monochrome.”

The Telegraph: **** “This exhibition takes one of history’s most ‘problematic’ figures and boldly tries to absolve him of 2,000 years’ worth of ‘fiddling’ gossip.”

Nero: The Man Behind the Myth is on display at the British Museum until the 24th October.