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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK

World: Europe

Picture gallery: Nero's palace

The restored palace of the Roman Emperor Nero reveals a more aesthetic and intellectual side of a ruler known for his bloodthirsty pursuit of early Christians.

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Now, 18 years after the risk of collapse forced the palace's closure to tourists, the emperor's residence, has been re-opened for all to admire.

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Frescoes can be seen on the ceiling of the newly restored Domus Aurea in Rome's archaeological site.

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The restored fresco at the centre of the vault of the room, called Achilles at Sciro, depicts Achilles among Licomede's daughters choosing among the weapons which Ulysses took to him to persuade him to fight in the Trojan war.

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In one of the most important frescoes, Ulysses, on the left, is shown offering a cup of wine to mythological cyclops Polyphemus.

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Emperor Nero spent the last months of his life here before committing suicide in 68AD.

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