Historical figures famous for something they never did

One of the most famous stories of Roman decadence concerns Nero, the emperor who blithely “fiddled while Rome burned” during the great fire of 64 A.D. According to some ancient historians, the emperor had ordered his men to start the fire in order to clear space for his new palace. But while Nero was certainly no saint—he reportedly ordered the murder of his own mother during his rise to power—the story of his fiendish fiddling is likely exaggerated.