Fire broke out in the shops next to the Circus Maximus deep into the moonlit night. Within a matter of hours, fire ran caught much of the city blocks and raged for nine days with a brief interval. Rome of the old buildings and twisting alleys and the new imperial palace with all of its treasures were almost lost in fire. The causes of fire have been debated ever since. There is no agreement among historians. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus accused Nero of the arson, who, he said, watched the conflagration from the Tower of Maecenas; then put on his tragedian’s costume and sang self-penned The Sack of Ilium from beginning to end. Tacitus, on the contrary, maintained that Nero was away from Rome at the time and once the emperor returned, he provided fire victims with meals and shelter. He then started the Roman architectural revolution and built a new city according to his own plan. That way he only strengthened suspicions of his enemies and claimed the herostratic fame.
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