If Nero allegedly fiddled while Rome burned, what instrument was he playing as violins were not invented then?
Apparently Nero wasn’t even in Rome when the famous fire occurred and appears to have behaved quite responsibly, organizing relief efforts, allowing public buildings to be used as emergency shelters, and supplying inexpensive grain to the victims. He also helped fund reconstruction efforts and established building codes to decrease the likelihood of a recurrence. However, he used the area cleared by the fire to build a magnificent new Imperial residence. Rumours spread that Nero had started the fire himself to make the land available for his project and the story also emerged that he had sung one of his compositions about the fall of Troy (possibly accompanying himself on the lyre) as he watched the flames from a safe distance. This is the origin of the ‘Fiddled while Rome Burned’ legend.