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Archaeologists excavating near the Vatican in preparation for the construction of a new hotel have unearthed what may be the remains of Nero’s private theater. The excavated area, located where Nero’s gardens once stood, contains two brick buildings beside a courtyard. One of the buildings was a semi-circular structure with tiered seating and a decorated stage background of marble and gold leaf. The second structure had numerous rooms that may have served as areas to store stage equipment and costumes. Pliny the Elder wrote about Nero's private theater located in his gardens, mentioning that Nero used it for practicing the performances he would give in larger theaters. The ruins of the recently discovered theater indicate great wealth, which would seem to affirm the identification of this theater as the one described by Pliny. Nero reigned from AD 54 to 68, and while he is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, he was the emperor when some of the New Testament books were written.

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