n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Ultimate corruption manifest : Nero as the Antichrist in late antiquity

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In 1873 the French historian and philosopher Ernest Renan wrote, '[t]he name for Nero has been found; it shall be THE BEAST ... Nero shall be the . Renan did not invent this association himself; he was in fact reviving a concept that had been prevalent in the late-antique Christian tradition into the 5th century AD.

According to Christian texts, the Antichrist will bring about the ultimate act of corruption : the destruction of the earth. The apocalypse depends upon disaster on an eschatological scale; the sins of those who succumb to the powers of the Antichrist on earth make the destruction of the world and the ascension of the righteous essential. In this article I explore the ultimate act of corruption in apocalyptic literature of Late Antiquity and how that literature came to utilise Nero as the perpetrator of the apocalypse.


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