Nero was Emperor of Rome for 13 years in the middle of the hundred year period that scholars generally agree was the apogee of the Roman Empire. From Wikipedia:
“Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade and the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games. He made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. His extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes that was much resented by the middle and upper classes. Various plots against his life were revealed; the ringleaders, most of them Nero’s own courtiers, were executed.” And: “Nero’s rule is usually associated with tyranny and extravagance.”
Ring any bells?