All About History
emperor nero & Phoebe
Tiger, tiger burning bright
While a tiger might not be the obvious choice for a pet today, for Roman emperor Nero it was an entirely different story. After being impressed by a vicious tigress in a wild beast fight at the Colosseum, the emperor — who is best known for doing nothing while Rome burned — decided to rescue the animal and adopt her. Nero called his new pet Phoebe and she quickly became his favourite companion, keeping her near him at all times. Phoebe was allowed to eat her dinner at the table with the emperor and he had a luxurious gold cage built for her to sleep in at night.
However, Phoebe was not supposed to be just a domesticated pet. Known for his ruthlessness, Nero was happy to give his enemies to Phoebe so that she could indulge in an impromptu snack — anyone who offended, opposed or irritated him was at risk of being eaten alive. Together, Nero and Phoebe were an extremely dangerous pairing!