Hardly will you lay your hand on any History past questions without coming across this notorious question: What event did emperor Nero add to the Olympics? Well, Emperor Nero added artistic competitions such as singing to the Olympics. But his reasons is quite funny. Read on to see why.

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But before hitting the nail on the head, it’s important we take a look at the historical antecedent of Nero.

Emperor Nero is one of the famous and most influential rulers to have ever ruled the Roman Empire.

In 66 A.D. Nero embarked on a journey to Greece. Upon Nero’s formal request, the Greeks postponed the much anticipated Olympics game that year.

This was done just to make sure the emperor could also participate.

Origin of the Olympics

The origin of the Olympics is shrouded in mystery. Many believe that the Olympics and Pythagoras’ mathematical theorem were both invented independently. It is possible that the Games were invented in 776 BC – a date supported by records of a Games held in 776 BC at Olympia, Greece.

The ancient Greeks claimed to have invented the Games in 776 BC at Olympia, which was then claimed to be one of the oldest Olympic sites. The records of this ancient games are now lost, but it is now known that ancient records mentioned several early Olympiads between 776 BC and 393 BC.

Ancient historians also offer conflicting claims about how many times Athens hosted Games prior to 393 BC. In the fourth century BC, Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote that the Olympic Games were held every four years from 776 BC.

Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman historian in 140 BC, wrote: “Although in ancient times they were celebrated but rarely, and it is believed that in the time of Romulus they were not celebrated for more than three hundred and forty-four years.”

Velleius Paterculus, a Roman historian writing in AD 100, wrote: “The Olympic games received their name from King Pelops of Thessaly when he dedicated them to Jupiter. The Greeks were accustomed to assemble every fifth year at the fountains of Pisa near Olympia.”

A later historian, Plutarch, wrote that the Games were founded by Heracles. However, we now know that this theory is incorrect as records show that Heracles was born around the time of the first Olympic Games which were held in 776 BC.

For many years historians disagreed on why Olympians competed naked. It was once believed that athletes competed without clothing as a sign of purity and as a sign of respect to their gods. According to Greek mythology, athletes competed naked after King Lycurgus of Arcadia was killed by an arrow before he could finish tying his sandal strings.

Nero’s Murderous Path to the Throne

Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, but took his familiar name, Nero, when his great-uncle adopted him at the age of 13.


Nero’s Legacy as Emperor

Nero ascended the throne as the Emperor of Rome in 54 A.D. after the demise of his father, Claudius. And at the time, he was just 17 years old.

According to Historians, Nero is considered as the last Roman ruler of what is known as the Julio-Claudian ruling dynasty.

Being a young ruler with pride, he was largely known for many brutality act as a ruler. In fact, it was reported that Nero murdered his first wife, allegedly his third wife, and his own mother.

What’s more, many historians also claimed that Nero was behind the fire inferno that gutted the great Rome empire in 64 A.D.

All in an attempt to restructure part of the city to his own personal taste. And of course, this cost the Roman empire a lot of money thereby causing Roman elite to pay double of their initial taxes.

That alone contributed, greatly, to the fall of the empire. Nero eventually commit suicide in 68 A.D. Findings shows that he was turned on by his own guards and the Senate.

What event did emperor Nero add to the Olympics and why?

Obviously, Olympic game revolve around sports and sporting activities. But emperor Nero pomposity and tyrant rule made him include some other activities into the competition.

All in an attempt to accommodate himself into the competition. And remember, the Greece dynasty was still under the control and management of the Roman empire at that time.

But his love for the Greek culture is fascinating and as such, he demanded that the magnificent him, too, must participate not matter what in the Olympic games.

Though Nero was never a good singer, he added singing, to the Olympics game, because of his personal gain.

Surprisingly but expectedly, Nero would participate and win gold in every event he added and participated in all because of his status as the emperor of the kingdom.

In fact, Nero participated in a chariot race and won even though he didn’t finish the race.

The event Emperor Nero add to the Olympics

Nero is the Roman Emperor who famously set the city of Rome on fire. But what you may not know is that he also added an event to the Olympics, turning it into a twenty-four hour event.

Although Nero’s extra contribution to the Olympics has since been removed from Olympic records, it remains one of many interesting facts about ancient Rome.

The Event Emperor Nero added to the Olympics is singing and Drama


Singing: In Nero’s own words: ‘Athletic contests of all kinds will have taken place in the forenoon. In the afternoon there will be a performance of tragedies, comedies, pantomimes, and the rest of it’. So Emperor Nero added singing to the event.


Emperor Nero also went ahead to add Drama and acting to the Olympics so that he could participate. And yes, you guessed right, we won this competition too.

Nero and the Olympic Games

One of the reasons why Emperor Nero added poetry, singing, and drama into the Olympics games was has a result of his love for arts.

He equally had a keen interest in Greek culture.

He contested and won many of these games despite his unappealing skill.As if that’s not enough, the chariot race he participated in and won a gold medal, he fell down on several occasions before he left the scene unfinished.


From the foregoing, you should be able to know what event did emperor Nero add to the Olympics and the reason why he added them.

See more: About How Many Calories Is A Bowl Of Cereal With Milk? Calories In Cereal With Milk And Nutrition Facts

And perhaps, the power driving Nero Claudius Caesar went on to ruled the Roman empire from 54 A.D. until he died (by committing sucide) 14 years after.

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