Finding the truth in our history is like trying to solve a crime after arriving at the scene 2,000 years too late. We analyze the evidence left behind, we listen to the witnesses, and we make our best guess—but we rarely know for sure what really happened.
There are few better examples of just how murky the truth can get than the Great Fire of Rome. We have a handful of stories and a few half-melted coins still buried in the ashes of old Rome, and we have to pick through them to find the truth.
It’s difficult to know who started the Great Fire of Rome and what fallout ensued. Every group had an interest in this story, and every version of it comes with a political agenda attached. There are a lot of different versions of the story, and no one knows for sure who was telling the truth.