We are better. We are stronger. We will build a glorious new world. But these nonsense-spewing trees stand in our way, Meg. Like any invasive weeds, they must be burned. And the only way to do that is with a true conflagration—flames stoked by blood. Let us do this together, and not involve the Beast, shall we?

–Nero to Meg McCaffrey about burning the Grove of Dodona in The Hidden Oracle.

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Nero, was one of the most infamous emperors in Roman history. He is a descendant of the god Apollo.

Nero is currently a god-emperor, as well as one of the three leaders of the infamous Triumvirate Holdings company.


Nero was born on 15 December 37 AD in Antium, the only son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger (Emperor Caligula’s sister). The last of the Judio-Claudian dynasty, Nero was responsible (According to Riordan) for the Great Fire of Rome (18 to 19 July 64 AD), only acting when the flames threatened his manor. He was married three times and became a widower as many times. He burned Christians alive at his parties. Nero became a god-emperor after he stabbed himself in the throat with the help of his secretary, Epaphroditos, on 9 June 68 AD; supposedly, his final words were "Too late! This is fidelity!"[1]

In the Series

Nero has influenced many events in history via Triumvirate Holdings. He used the company to supply funding to both Luke Castellan (during Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and Octavian (during The Heroes of Olympus).

At an unknown point in time, Nero killed Meg McCaffrey's father, and proceeded to take in and raise her as his own daughter. Through his sophisticated manipulation over the years, Nero lead her to believe that he and "The Beast" were two separate people.

The Heroes of Olympus

The House of Hades

When Rachel Elizabeth Dare says she is the Oracle of Delphi, Octavian doesn't believe her and sarcastically says he is the Emperor Nero. This makes Grover Underwood mutter that at least Nero could play music.

Hazel Levesque reveals that the nuns at St. Agnes Academy for Colored Children and Indians taught her about Nero, along with Caligula and Diocletian, and how they were total villains.

The Trials of Apollo

The Hidden Oracle

Nero first appears to Apollo in a dream in which he is falling down on the sun chariot in the shape of a bus. Nero tells Apollo he is his descendant. However, Apollo does not recognize him. Nero also appears in person in Delphi talking to Python about finding the Grove of Dodona. Apollo and Meg stumble onto the conversation. There, Meg refers to Nero as the Beast.

When Apollo and Meg arrive at the Grove of Dodona, Nero shows up with his two Germani guards. He explains how he is alive after many centuries. Nero kidnapped Cecil Markowitz, Ellis Wakefield, Miranda Gardiner, Austin Lake and Kayla Knowles and a Palikos named Paulie and threatened to burn them to get Apollo and Meg to open the gate to the grove. He says that he intends to burn the grove alive and states that he wants to be diplomatic on the approach. Apollo refuses to cooperate and attempts to tell Meg how evil Nero is, Nero himself denies everything from burning Rome to killing people for fun. When Meg orders Apollo to open the doors, Nero immediately orders Apollo sustained and attempts to burn the captives. However, Apollo defeats the two Germani guards. Nero escapes after pouring Greek fire on the ground and setting it on fire. Then he orders his playmate, the Colossus Neronis, to attack Camp Half-Blood.

The Dark Prophecy

Nero frequently appears in Apollo's dreams while he is going to Indianapolis. In Apollo's dream Nero orders Meg to capture Apollo and to make sure there would be no difficulties like last time. She would be accompanied by a Germanus guard and a man named Marcus to prevent any mistakes. Nevertheless, Meg manages to escape them later on.


Nero is exceptionally malevolent, ruthless, and bloodthirsty. He is known as one of the most evil and infamous emperors in all of Roman history (as well as one of the most evil people of all time). He orchestrated the death of his own mother (despite her having helped him obtain the throne), had his stepbrother poisoned; his stepsister's husband exiled and later executed, along with his first wife. He refused to help the common citizens during the fire of Rome and selfishly prospered from it. He also killed numerous Christians during his reign (including Saint Peter), crucifying and burning many of them alive.

Nero is as intelligent and cunning as he is evil. He has been able to stay in the shadows for centuries with his mysterious organization Triumvirate Holdings. He has also successfully manipulated his young and impressionable stepdaughter Meg McCaffrey into unquestionable loyalty to him.


In The Hidden Oracle, Nero appears to be no more than 30 years old, but it is "a hard 30" (according to Apollo). Nero's face is haggard. His belly is distended from too much partying. Nero's mouth is fixed in a permanent sneer. His curly hair is extended into a wraparound neck beard. His chin is quite weak.

Nero tries to make up for his weak chin and his general ugliness with an expensive Italian suit of purple wool. He keeps his gray shirt open to display golden chains. He wears shoes made of hand-tooled leather. Even Apollo admits to somewhat admiring Nero's expensive, albeit somewhat impractical tastes.


The full scope of Nero's powers and abilities is not yet known, but it can be assumed that, as a god-emperor, he wields considerable power.

  • Expert Orator: Nero is an extremely intelligent and skilled public speaker. He manages to quickly and effectively use words to achieve his goals. Even Apollo himself is impressed and admits to being unable to out-talk an orator as eloquent as Nero. In The Hidden Oracle, Apollo tries hard to persuade Meg McCaffrey to turn away from Nero by mentioning all the egregious atrocities he has committed in the past. Yet Nero easily side-steps those accusations by using clever language. In fact, he is able to further motivate his stepdaughter to do his bidding and stay by his side. As an orator, Nero is considerably less discreetly insulting, instead skillfully feigning respect. At the same time, he is more sly, composed, and persuasive with his words. It can be argued that Nero is a better and more sophisticated orator than even Octavian had once been.
  • Master Manipulator: Nero is an extremely skilled manipulator. He was able to successfully brainwash his stepdaughter Meg McCaffrey into becoming unquestionably loyal to him even though he murdered her father. Nero even manipulated her into believing an illogical argument: that Nero and "the Beast" are two separate people. Indeed, Nero's brainwashing was so successful, that Meg ultimately followed her stepfather's orders, despite her guilt and Apollo's best attempts to convince her of Nero's malevolence. Meg left with Nero, betraying Apollo and the campers.


  • Nero was referred to as "The Beast" (another name for the Antichrist) by the Christians, many of whom he had burned alive during his tyrannical reign.
  • Nero is the second major villain in the three Camp Half-Blood series to be a legacy of Apollo and a skilled orator (the first being Octavian). It should be noted that while Octavian was straightforward and discreetly insulting, Nero is far more sly, composed and persuasive with his words. Therefore, it can be argued that Nero is the better orator of the two.
  • Some stories claim that Nero "fiddled while Rome burned." Nero himself denies this in The Hidden Oracle, stating it is impossible because fiddles did not yet exist in Ancient Rome. (This was most likely in reference to another instrument, such as the harp or lyre). [2]


  2. “Don't say it,” Nero warned. “If you say 'who fiddled while Rome burned,' I will have Vince and Gary flay you for a set of hide armor. You know as well as I do, Apollo, we didn't have fiddles back then."
    P.280 of the Hidden Oracle
The Trials of Apollo
Core Series: The Hidden Oracle | The Dark Prophecy | The Burning Maze
Main Characters: Apollo/Lester Papadopolous | Meg McCaffrey | Peaches | Leo Valdez | Calypso | Grover Underwood
Minor Characters: Percy Jackson | Sally Jackson | Nico di Angelo | Will Solace | Chiron | Rachel Elizabeth Dare | Thalia Grace | Mrs. O'Leary | Festus | Cade | Mikey | Kayla Knowles | Austin Lake | Harley | Connor Stoll | Sherman Yang | Miranda Gardiner | Cecil Markowitz | Ellis Wakefield | Valentina Diaz | Damien White | Chiara Benvenuti | Laurel Victor | Holly Victor | Billie Ng | Malcolm Pace | Paolo Montes | Agamethus | Hemithea | Josephine | Georgina | Lityerses | Olujime | Hunter Kowalski | Sssssarah | Trophonius
Olympian Gods: Zeus | Hera | Poseidon | Demeter | Ares | Athena | Artemis | Hephaestus | Aphrodite | Hermes | Dionysus | Hades
Minor Gods: Nero | Iris | Britomartis | Commodus
Titans: Rhea | Leto | Mnemosyne
Monsters and Magical Creatures: Python | Nosoi | Karpoi | Palikos | Myrmeke | Colossus Neronis | Blemmyae | Griffin | Carthaginian Serpent | Scythian Dracaena | Cynocephali | Centaur | Cyclops | Yale | Satyr | Strix
Related Content: Rick Riordan | Percy Jackson and the Olympians | The Heroes of Olympus | Demigods & Magicians | Camp Half-Blood Confidential