Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in Athens
According to the 2008 census, the population of the city is 88,641 inhabitants, down from a peak of 94,145 in 1975. A new town, founded by the will of King Louis XIV, it was the de facto capital of the Kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789, before becoming the cradle of the French Revolution. After having lost its status of city, it became the préfecture of Seine-et-Oise département in 1790, of Yvelines in 1968. Versailles is historically known for numerous treaties such as the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War and this word formation is similar to Latin seminare which gave French semailles. From May 1682, when Louis XIV moved the court and government permanently to Versailles, until his death in September 1715, during the various periods when government affairs were conducted from Versailles, Paris remained the official capital of France. Versailles was made the préfecture of the Seine-et-Oise département at its inception in March 1790, Versailles was made the préfecture of the Yvelines département, the largest chunk of the former Seine-et-Oise.
At the 2006 census the Yvelines had 1,395,804 inhabitants, Versailles is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese which was created in 1790. The diocese of Versailles is subordinate to the archdiocese of Paris, in 1975, Versailles was made the seat of a Court of Appeal whose jurisdiction covers the western suburbs of Paris. Since 1972, Versailles has been the seat of one of Frances 30 nationwide académies of the Ministry of National Education. Versailles is an important node for the French army, a tradition going back to the monarchy with, for instance, the palace of Versailles is in the out-skirts of the city. Versailles is located 17.1 km west-southwest from the centre of Paris, the city of Versailles has an area of 26.18 km2, which is a quarter of the area of the city of Paris. In 1989, Versailles had a density of 3, 344/km2, whereas Paris had a density of 20. Born out of the will of a king, the city has a rational and symmetrical grid of streets, by the standards of the 18th century, Versailles was a very modern European city.
Versailles was used as a model for the building of Washington, the name of Versailles appears for the first time in a medieval document dated 1038. In the end of the 11th century, the village curled around a medieval castle, the 14th century brought the Black Death and the Hundred Years War, and with it death and destruction. At the end of the Hundred Years War in the 15th century, in 1561, Martial de Loménie, secretary of state for finances under King Charles IX, became lord of Versailles. He obtained permission to four annual fairs and a weekly market on Thursdays. The population of Versailles was 500 inhabitants, Martial de Loménie was murdered during the St. Bartholomews Day massacre
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I and it set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages. Inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus, the Arc de Triomphe has an height of 50 metres, width of 45 m. The smaller transverse vaults are 18.68 m high and 8.44 m wide, three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane under the archs primary vault, with the event captured on newsreel. Pariss Arc de Triomphe was the tallest triumphal arch until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, completed in 1982, is modelled on the Arc de Triomphe and is slightly taller at 60 m. The Arc is located on the bank of the Seine at the centre of a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes, the architect, Jean Chalgrin, died in 1811 and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot.
On 15 December 1840, brought back to France from Saint Helena, prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was displayed under the Arc during the night of 22 May 1885. The sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, the relief was immediately hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations. On 7 August 1919, Charles Godefroy successfully flew his biplane under the Arc, Jean Navarre was the pilot who was tasked to make the flight, but he died on 10 July 1919 when he crashed near Villacoublay while training for the flight. Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns. Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940, and the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945. A United States postage stamp of 1945 shows the Arc de Triomphe in the background as victorious American troops march down the Champs-Élysées, after the interment of the Unknown Soldier, all military parades have avoided marching through the actual arch.
The route taken is up to the arch and around its side, out of respect for the tomb, both Hitler in 1940 and de Gaulle in 1944 observed this custom. By the early 1960s, the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, and during 1965–1966 it was cleaned through bleaching. In the prolongation of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a new arch, after the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe de lÉtoile, the Grande Arche is the third arch built on the same perspective. In 1995, the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria placed a bomb near the Arc de Triomphe which wounded 17 people as part of a campaign of bombings, the astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin, in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture. Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe, Jean-Pierre Cortot, François Rude, Antoine Étex, James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire
Normandy is one of the regions of France, roughly corresponding to the historical Duchy of Normandy. Administratively, Normandy is divided into five departments, Eure, Orne and it covers 30,627 km², forming roughly 5% of the territory of France. Its population of 3.37 million accounts for around 5% of the population of France, Normans is the name given to the inhabitants of Normandy, and the region is the homeland of the Norman language. The historical region of Normandy comprised the region of Normandy, as well as small areas now part of the départements, or departments of Mayenne. For a century and a following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman. Archaeological finds, such as paintings, prove that humans were present in the region in prehistoric times. Celts invaded Normandy in successive waves from the 4th to the 3rd century BC, when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, there were nine different Celtic tribes living in Normandy. The Romanisation of Normandy was achieved by the methods, Roman roads.
Classicists have knowledge of many Gallo-Roman villas in Normandy, in the late 3rd century, barbarian raids devastated Normandy. Coastal settlements were raided by Saxon pirates, Christianity began to enter the area during this period. In 406, Germanic tribes began invading from the east, while the Saxons subjugated the Norman coast, the Roman Emperor withdrew from most of Normandy. As early as 487, the area between the River Somme and the River Loire came under the control of the Frankish lord Clovis, the Vikings started to raid the Seine Valley during the middle of the 9th century. As early as 841, a Viking fleet appeared at the mouth of the Seine, after attacking and destroying monasteries, including one at Jumièges, they took advantage of the power vacuum created by the disintegration of Charlemagnes empire to take northern France. The fiefdom of Normandy was created for the Norwegian Viking leader Hrólfr Ragnvaldsson, Rollo had besieged Paris but in 911 entered vassalage to the king of the West Franks, Charles the Simple, through the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte.
In exchange for his homage and fealty, Rollo legally gained the territory which he, the name Normandy reflects Rollos Viking origins. The descendants of Rollo and his followers adopted the local Gallo-Romance language and they became the Normans – a Norman-speaking mixture of Saxons and indigenous Franks and Celts. Besides the Norman conquest of England and the subsequent conquests of Wales and Ireland, Norman families, such as that of Tancred of Hauteville, Rainulf Drengot and Guimond de Moulins played important parts in the Norman conquest of southern Italy and Crusades. They carved out a place for themselves and their descendants in the Crusader states of Asia Minor, the 14th century Norman explorer Jean de Béthencourt established a kingdom in the Canary Islands
Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris, known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture, as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris, Notre-Dame contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris, currently Cardinal André Vingt-Trois. The cathedral treasury contains a reliquary, which some of Catholicisms most important relics, including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration in the phase of the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. An extensive restoration supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845, a project of further restoration and maintenance began in 1991. The Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress, in response, the cathedrals architects built supports around the outside walls, and additions continued the pattern.
The total surface area is 5,500 m², many small individually crafted statues were placed around the outside to serve as column supports and water spouts. Among these are the famous gargoyles, designed for water run-off, the statues were originally colored as was most of the exterior. The cathedral was complete by 1345. It is possible therefore that the faults with the structure were exaggerated by the Bishop to help justify the rebuilding in a newer style. According to legend, Sully had a vision of a new cathedral for Paris. To begin the construction, the bishop had several houses demolished and had a new road built to transport materials for the rest of the cathedral. Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII, both were at the ceremony. Bishop de Sully went on to devote most of his life, construction of the choir took from 1163 until around 1177 and the new High Altar was consecrated in 1182. By this stage, the facade had been laid out. Numerous architects worked on the site over the period of construction, between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers.
Shortly afterwards Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept,1160 Maurice de Sully orders the original cathedral demolished
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, called Palazzo Vecchio and it is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. It is the place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Plazzo Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo. The impressive 14th-century Palazzo Vecchio is still preeminent with its crenellated tower, the square is shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia, and the Palazzo Uguccioni. Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali, the Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of the city. This massive, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany, the building acquired its current name when the Medici dukes residence was moved across the Arno to the Palazzo Pitti.
The Loggia dei Lanzi consists of wide open to the street. The arches rest on clustered pilasters with Corinthian capitals, the wide arches appealed so much to the Florentines, that Michelangelo even proposed that they should be continued all around the Piazza della Signoria. The vivacious construction of the Loggia is in stark contrast with the architecture of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is effectively an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art including the Medici lions, the Tribunale della Mercanzia is a building where in the past lawyers judged in the trial between merchants. Here was a porch painted by Taddeo Gaddi, Antonio del Pollaiolo and Sandro Botticelli, built for Giovanni Uguccioni since 1550, its design has been variously attributed to Raphael, Bartolomeo Ammannati or Raffaello da Montelupo. The Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was designed in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1871, on the ground floor of this palace is the historical cafè Rivoire. Other palaces are the palazzo dei Buonaguisi and the palazzo dellArte dei Mercatanti, various imposing statues ring this square including, Copy of Michelangelos David.
At the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio, the original by Michelangelo is housed in the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, there was a church San Romolo, a loggia and an enormous 5th-century basilica. This was shown by the treasures found beneath the square when it was repaved in the 1980s. Even remains of a Neolithic site were found, the square started taking shape from 1268 on, when houses of Ghibellines were pulled down by the victorious Guelphs. The square remained a long time untidy, full of holes, in 1385 it was paved for the first time. In 1497 Girolamo Savonarola and his followers carried out on this square the famous Bonfire of the Vanities, burning in a large books, gaming tables, fine dresses
Languedoc-Roussillon is a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it is part of the new region Occitanie and it is the southernmost region of mainland France. The region is made up of the historical provinces,68. The former province of Languedoc extends over what is now the Midi-Pyrénées region,17. 9% of Languedoc-Roussillon was formerly the province of Gévaudan, now the department of Lozère. A small part of the former Gévaudan lies inside the current Auvergne region, Gévaudan is often considered to be a sub-province inside the province of Languedoc, in which case Languedoc would account for 86. 6% of Languedoc-Roussillon. These pays were part of the Ancien Régime province of Roussillon, owning its name to the largest and most populous of the five pays, llívia is a town of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Spain, that forms a Spanish exclave surrounded by French territory. At the regional elections in March 2004, the socialist mayor of Montpellier Georges Frêche, since then, Georges Frêche has embarked on a complete overhaul of the region and its institutions.
Georges Frêche wanted to change the name of the region, wishing to erase its duality, thus, he wanted to rename the region Septimanie. This name, has not been in use since the 9th century, strong opposition of the population led to Georges Frêche giving up on his idea. He declared that he believed in it but could not go ahead without a mandate. This idea has minimal popular support, on the other hand, there are some who would like to merge the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions, thus reunifying the old province of Languedoc, and creating a large region. Prior to the 20th century, Occitan was the language spoken in Languedoc, both have been under pressure from French. In 2004, research conducted by the Government of Catalonia showed that 65% of adults over the age of 15 in Roussilon could understand Catalan whereas 37% stated they were able to speak it. In recent years there have been attempts at reviving of both languages, including Catalan-medium schooling through the La Bressola schools, Occitan literature — still sometimes called Provençal literature — is a body of texts written in Occitan in what is nowadays the South of France.
It originated in the poetry of the eleventh- and twelfth- century troubadours, aimeric de Peguilhan, Giraut de Bornelh and Bertran de Born were major influences in troubadour composition, in the High Middle Ages. The troubadour tradition is considered to have originated in the region, the Romantic music composer Déodat de Séverac was born in the region, following his schooling in Paris, returned to the region to compose. He sought to incorporate the music indigenous to the area in his compositions, grapevines are said to have existed in the South of France since the Pliocene period - before the existence of Homo sapiens. The first vineyards of Gaul developed around two towns, Béziers and Narbonne, several entrepreneurs such as Robert Skalli and James Herrick drastically changed the face of the region, planting more commercially viable grape varieties and pushing for new AOC classifications
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France and Austria.
Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned by Aristotle and Thucydides.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi, following a competition in 1717 the steps were designed by the little-known Francesco de Sanctis, though Alessandro Specchi was long thought to have produced the winning entry. Generations of heated discussion over how the steep slope to the church on a shoulder of the Pincio should be urbanised preceded the final execution, archival drawings from the 1580s show that Pope Gregory XIII was interested in constructing a stair to the recently completed façade of the French church. Gaspar van Wittels view of the slope in 1683, before the Scalinata was built, is conserved in the Galleria Nazionale. Mazarin died in 1661, the pope in 1667, and Gueffiers will was contested by a nephew who claimed half. The Bourbon fleur-de-lys and Innocent XIIIs eagle and crown are carefully balanced in the sculptural details, the solution is a gigantic inflation of some conventions of terraced garden stairs.
The Spanish Steps, which Joseph de Lalande and Charles de Brosses noted were already in poor condition, have restored several times. A new renovation commenced on May 30,2016 and the steps reopened on September 21,2016, the elder Bernini had been the popes architect for the Acqua Vergine, since 1623. According to a legend, Pope Urban VIII had the fountain installed after he had been impressed by a boat brought here by a flood of the Tiber river, at the top the stairway ramp up the Pincio which is the Pincian Hill. From the top of the steps the Villa Medici can be reached, during Christmas time a 19th-century criba manger is displayed on the first landing of the staircase. During Springtime, just before the anniversary of the foundation of Rome, April 21st, part of the steps are covered by pots of azaleas, in modern times the Spanish Steps have included a small cut-flower market. The steps are not a place for eating lunch, being forbidden by Roman urban regulations, the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, made the Spanish Steps famous to an American audience.
The apartment that was the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is halfway up on the right, bernardo Bertoluccis Besieged is set in a house next to the Steps. The Steps were featured prominently in the version of The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon in the title role. Norwegian singer/songwriter Morten Harket, from A-ha, released a song called Spanish Steps on his album Wild Seed in 1995. Marc Cohns song Walk Through the World, released in 1993 on the album The Rainy Season, includes the lyric From the Spanish Steps to the Liberty Bell, I know the angels have seen us. The title song from Guy Clarks Dublin Blues album contains the lyric, north American & Japanese versions of the Mindfields album released in 1999 by American rock band Toto include the song Spanish Steps of Rome as a bonus track. The song describes a femme fatale romance that takes place on, in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond which aired on October 2,2000, Debra and Marie climb the Spanish Steps during a family vacation in Rome
The Colosseum or Coliseum, known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built, the Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD72, and was completed in AD80 under his successor, further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian. These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name, the building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was reused for purposes as housing, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry. Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is depicted on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin. The Colosseums original Latin name was Amphitheatrum Flavium, often anglicized as Flavian Amphitheatre, the building was constructed by emperors of the Flavian dynasty, following the reign of Nero.
This name is used in modern English, but generally the structure is better known as the Colosseum. The name Colosseum has long believed to be derived from a colossal statue of Nero nearby. This statue was remodeled by Neros successors into the likeness of Helios or Apollo, Neros head was replaced several times with the heads of succeeding emperors. Despite its pagan links, the statue remained standing well into the era and was credited with magical powers. It came to be seen as an symbol of the permanence of Rome. This is often mistranslated to refer to the Colosseum rather than the Colossus, however, at the time that the Pseudo-Bede wrote, the masculine noun coliseus was applied to the statue rather than to what was still known as the Flavian amphitheatre. The Colossus did eventually fall, possibly being pulled down to reuse its bronze, by the year 1000 the name Colosseum had been coined to refer to the amphitheatre. The statue itself was forgotten and only its base survives. The name further evolved to Coliseum during the Middle Ages, in Italy, the amphitheatre is still known as il Colosseo, and other Romance languages have come to use similar forms such as Coloseumul, le Colisée, el Coliseo and o Coliseu.
The site chosen was an area on the floor of a low valley between the Caelian and Palatine Hills, through which a canalised stream ran. By the 2nd century BC the area was densely inhabited and it was devastated by the Great Fire of Rome in AD64, following which Nero seized much of the area to add to his personal domain