European Studies Logo

Jennifer V Ebbeler

Associate ProfessorPhD 2001, University of Pennsylvania

Jennifer V Ebbeler


  • Phone: 512-471-7570
  • Office: WAG 14CA
  • Office Hours: Spring 2011 - M 1-2 pm; F 11 am-12 pm; by appt.
  • Campus Mail Code: C3400


EUS 346 • Nero

36120 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 10
(also listed as C C 348)

The famously fiddling Roman emperor Nero will be the subject of this course.  During the semester, we will carefully investigate Nero’s life in its larger social and historical context but also pay close attention to his reception in the medieval period and beyond.  When Nero came to power, his Roman subjects were full of optimism.  They believed that, like Augustus, he would bring a golden age to Rome.  As a young man, he was tutored by one of Rome’s pre-eminent philosophers, Seneca, and Seneca continued to advise Nero during the early years of his reign.  After a devastating fire in 64 CE, however, Nero came under attack for, among other things, his increasingly extravagant building program and reputed moral depravity.  Nero’s inglorious death in 68 CE was the culmination of a long fall from grace, though he continued to live on in the popular imagination as a depraved enemy of Christianity.  We will analyze some of the possible reasons for Nero’s decline and popularity and subsequent negative reputation.  Readings in the course will include Suetonius’ Life of Nero; Seneca’s De Clementia and Thyestes; and selections from Tacitus, Dio Cassius, and several medieval and Renaissance writers.  We will also read a range of secondary articles on such topics as Nero’s building program and watch the film Quo Vadis.  The course requirements will include several short, informal writing assignments; 2 longer essays (5-7 pages); and a substantial final paper (10-12 pages; a revised and expanded version of one of the longer essays).  There will also be two midterm exams

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Center for European Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st Street
    Austin, Texas 78712