The Great Fire of Rome erupted on the night of 18 July, in the year 64, in the mercantile district of Rome. The fire quickly spread througout densely populated areas of the city due to the fact that many Romans lived in insulae, wooden apartment buildngs of three to four floors. These conditions allowed the fire to grow until it destroyed almost half of Rome.
The Roman Emperor Nero reportedly played his lyre while he watched the fire burn from a safe distance at his villa on the Quirinal Hill. Nero himself was suspected of causing the fire in order to clear room for his planned palace. In order to defer blame for the incident, Nero accused the Christian sect for starting the fire and embarked on one of the earliest persecutions of Christians in Roman history.
Rome was rebuilt after the fire and Nero played a large role in the reconstruction; it was now that the building of his famous Domus Aurea palace began.