Great Fire of Rome
The Great Fire of Rome was a massive fire which started on July 19, A.D. 64. The fire destroyed the Circus Maximus as well as a large portion of the city. Rumors that the Roman Emperor at the time, Nero, started the fire himself and fiddled as the city burned are unsubstantiated, but were spreading across the populace. Nero found a scapegoat to blame.
The Great Fire became the catalyst for the first wave of state sponsored persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire when Nero claimed that local Christians started it. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, apart from being killed in the arena, their bodies were also used as lamps to help light the city at night.