The story of Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned is not, strictly speaking, true of course. Fiddles did not exist in the summer of 64 A.D. when the Great Fire of Rome destroyed two thirds of the city, leaving half of its population homeless. Most historians believe that the class of instruments to which the fiddle belongs, the viol, was not developed until the late Middle Ages. If Nero played anything, it most likely would have been the cithara, a large string instrument that was common at the time.
However, the sadistic and irresponsible emperor (he had murdered his mother only 5 years before the fire) was clearly not unhappy that his capital largely burned to the ground. Just the year before, Nero announced that he wanted to level most of the city and rebuild it according to his liking and it was only the Senate’s refusal to cooperate that prevented this from coming about. Indeed, while admitting that the story was not confirmed by eyewitness accounts, the Roman historian Tacitus recorded that Nero was supposed to have sung about Troy’s destruction while he watched Rome burn. Another Roman historian, Suetonius, claimed that, from the safety of a tower, Nero watched the city on fire “and exulting, as he said, in ‘the beauty of the flames,’ he sang the whole of the ‘Sack of Ilium,’ in his regular stage costume.”
The fact that the emperor built his Golden Palace and pleasure gardens on land razed by the fire led some Romans to believe that Nero ordered the fire be set intentionally. Indeed, the Roman statesman and historian Cassius Dio asserted that the emperor paid thugs to set the fires and then he sang and played the lyre while watching from his palace.
No one is accusing the Democrats of intentionally setting off the violence and fires that have marred America in recent weeks, of course. But their lack of timely, appropriate action to protect their citizens from the anarchists indicates that, like Nero, the Dems do not seem particularly unhappy about what has transpired. They seem to be thinking that the violence, portrayed in a biased fashion by a vehemently anti-Trump mainstream media, has the potential to damage President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.