Disque Neron

Disque Neron (France) / c. 1908

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Design: A dramatic illustration of a god-like personage wearing an olive-branch crown and a flowing cape, holding a flaming torch aloft while driving through the heavens in a golden chariot drawn by a team of four white horses. It is perhaps a depiction of the Roman emperor Nero, who according to ancient prophecy is supposed to be reincarnated from Hell to revisit the earth as the Antichrist; while Caesar, he was known to have burned Christians alive at his private racetrack in the grounds of the Vatican, where he would dress up as a charioteer and stroll among the crowds. Popular opinion had laid the blame for a catastrophic nine-day long fire in Rome, which destroyed many precious artifacts, at his feet ('Nero fiddles while Rome burns'), but he attempted to transfer the blame to Christians, ruthlessly exterminating them. He committed suicide in 68 AD. The royalty stamp, fascinating as it is (Neron's own, lettered 'Phonographique & Cinematographie,' with an address of Paris and a spectacular signature) unfortunately obscures important details of the imagery. Lakme, the featured recording, was a 19th century opera with an Oriental flavour.

History: Unknown (have info? Send to info.re.78s@shaw.ca). Label scan courtesy of collector Graham Farnell of the U.K.

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