E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Emperor of Rome. Some say he set fire to Rome to see how Troy would look when it was in flames; others say he forbade the flames to be put out, and went to a high tower, where he sang verses to his lute Upon the Burning of Old Troy.
A Nero. Any bloody-minded man, relentless tyrant, or evil-doer of extra-ordinary savagery.