the NachtKabarett

Translations available in:
Bookmark and Share

Manson as Nero

"I'm looking to bring back feeding Christians to the lions as a new reality TV program," he says. "Called 'Christian Survivor, by Marilyn Manson'. I'm the new Julius Caesar. The networks would probably love it, because it involves religion, politics, and violence, and that's really what makes the world go around these days, unfortunately."
'Devil's Advocate' July 26, 2001. Manson musing in Cleveland Scene

While fairly obvious as the one time entrance in this elaborate manner is documented on the Guns, God & Government DVD, Manson is led onstage in a Roman chariot pulled by two naked women wearing the heads of horses, while the introduction of "Count To Six And Die" plays. This particular concert marked the final performance of the tour on October 8, 2001 (5 years to the day that Antichrist Svperstar was released) and was in fact a triumphant moment for Manson in that overwhelming negativity, hatred and hundreds of death threats against him, post Columbine, were not able to destroy him. These stemming predominantly from the agenda of conservative Christian America so it would be fitting for Manson to emerge out of the hailstorm as Caesar, the grand persecutor of the Christians, who fed those to the lions who put their Christ above reason to sacrifice themselves so that they would go on to immortalized in Heaven as saints, which also ties back to Manson's concept of Celebritarianism emerging during the era.

An early relief carving of a Roman chariot.

Caesar in actuality was an absolute dictator who forced his subjects to worship him as the God Jupiter manifest into human form, and it is his very name that the despotic titles of the Russian 'Tsar / Czsar' and the German 'Kaiser' are derivative from. But in the Twentieth and Twentifirst centuries today it is "Caesar", so to speak, who is in the minority as the self-righteous and self-gaining Christian "Right" is the current embodiment of intellectual and artistic suppression. Thus making Manson's personification a very apropos counteractment. The Chariot element, along with the two anthropomorphic horses, obviously echoes the Tarot: though Manson didn't chose to represent the Chariot arcana in his Holy Wood Tarot deck, the vision perfectly implements this series and concludes the Odyssey it relates.

Though Manson stated 'Julius Caesar' within the above quote, it is another Caesar who is widely believed to be the Antichrist of Revelation; Nero. Julius Caesar, who lived 100 - 44 BC, was by default not a persecutor of Christians as he was assassinated 44 years before the birth of Christ. Caesar is merely a family title, however, as there were many, and it was Nero Caesar who was a notorious persecutor of the early Christians. It was a trend set by him which would continue until the Third Century AD when Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the official state religion of Rome, for political reasons only to keep the crumbling empire intact from splitting at the mercy of divergent Christian sects.

Nero Caesar, who lived between 37 - 68 AD, is whom certain scholars purport to be the fabled Antichrist of the Bible. Born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, it is his first name 'Lucius' which is Latin for 'light' which corresponds to the fallen angel 'Lucifer' which means 'bearer of the light'. In Hebrew where each letter is denoted a number (known as Gematria), the numerical value of 'Nero Caesar' yields the sum of 666, the number of the beast in the Book of Revelation. Additionally, the authorized Roman currency being the coin bearing Nero's profile and name corresponds to the verse in the Revelation which proclaims, "that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev 13:17, King James Version)

"Christians Flung To The Wild Beasts", engraving from “A Popular History of Rome” by D. Rose, 1886.
A group of Christians devoured by lions in the Roman Coliseum, including men, women and children.

With very subtle implications, the very stage entrance during the Holy Wood era is one additional facet of Manson's personification of The Antichrist, reigning above Christendom with fire.

"We don't seek death / we seek destruction
Until death we seek destruction"
Marilyn Manson, Running To The Edge Of The World


In several declarations to the press following the release of The High End Of Low in 2009, Manson went further into the identification process, this time utilizing the comparison to illustrate his destructive tendency at one point of his reflection, and the omnipresent theme of fire punctuating the new album and imagery (a good example being the apocalyptic video for 'Arma...Geddon').

"On this album, I feel like I can hear myself when I listen back to it, almost becoming Nero at the end of it and saying, ‘You know what? If I can’t have love I’ll burn everything down.’ But that is a cliché."
Marilyn Manson, interview for, June 26, 2009
"And wait for the fire to spread"... Detail of montage from The High End of Low's artwork, that suggests an impassive Manson watching the propagating inferno from his balcony, much like Nero himself is said to have played his lyre while his subjects were being burnt alive.
"I almost gave up and became everything that I thought I represented the opposite of. Instead of being that person, I wanted to give up and kill myself. I can't take it anymore. I was Nero wanting to burn the city down. Instead of that it became redemption..."
Marilyn Manson, interview for, June 10, 2009
'The Fire of Rome, 18 July 64 AD', by Hubert Robert. A famous depiction of the dreadful event which lasted over five days, was allegedly instigated by Nero himself to serve his plans to build a new platial complex and to rename the city Neropolis, and was utilized to scapegoat the Christians, which justified their mass execution.
"Yes. I’m Nero and I’ll burn the city down. If I had the integrity to kill myself I would. If I ever do, though, I won’t go easy. There will be a hundred other people dead first."
Marilyn Manson, interview for London Lite, June 2009


Eventually, Manson continues to pay hommage to infamous great villains of the Roman Empire's political history in the song 'Blank and White', with a quote literally borowed from Caligula: "I wish the Roman people had only one neck!", as mentionned on our page The High End Of Low - Lyrical Evocations :

"If the world had one neck my hands would be the 'where' and I would choke all of you down."
Marilyn Manson, Blank and White