Why he matters?: He was an early fan of iced drinks.
The first-century Roman emperor Nero had a ‘controversial’ reputation, to say the least. Not only did he – allegedly – fiddle while Rome burned, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis.
Ice was a luxury enjoyed by only the wealthiest of Romans. Big blocks of glacial ice were transported down from the mountains, chiselled away and added to wine and juices as a luxurious treat.
This remained more or less the standard for a couple of millennia including the English King Henry III who famously added lumps of ice and snow to his drinks to impress guests. Then president Thomas Jefferson also used it to cool the presidential wine, aided by an ice house he built for the White House under what is now known as the West Wing.