Marble bust of Nero's head, looking straight forward.

Exhibition information

27 May – 24 October 2021

Daily: 10.00–17.00 (Fridays 20.30)
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Room 30

The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery


Adults from £20, Members and under 16s free.
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Nero is known as one of Rome's most infamous rulers, notorious for his cruelty, debauchery and madness.

The last male descendant of the emperor Augustus, Nero succeeded to the throne in AD 54 aged just 16 and died a violent death at 30. His turbulent rule saw momentous events including the Great Fire of Rome, Boudicca's rebellion in Britain, the execution of his own mother and first wife, grand projects and extravagant excesses.

Drawing on the latest research, this major exhibition questions the traditional narrative of the ruthless tyrant and eccentric performer, revealing a different Nero, a populist leader at a time of great change in Roman society.

Through some 200 spectacular objects, from the imperial palace in Rome to the streets of Pompeii, follow the young emperor’s rise and fall and make up your own mind about Nero. Was he a young, inexperienced ruler trying his best in a divided society, or the merciless, matricidal megalomaniac history has painted him to be?


Exhibition trailer

Trailer for Nero: the man behind the myth

Ticket information


Hard copies of our large print guide aren't available. Please download the large print guide before or during your visit.

The exhibition is accompanied by a plain English guide. This provides a description of 10 key objects from the exhibition in plain English and is designed for learning-disabled visitors.

Hearing loops accompany some digital media stops. The hearing loop symbol will highlight where this is available.

There are a few benches where you can sit down in the exhibition. A limited number of folding stools are available at the Main entrance on Great Russell Street. Please drop these off as you exit the Museum on Montague Place.