G A L L E R Y
"When in Rome..."
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The Seven Hills (F.Y.I)
Romulus stood on the Aventine hill and Remus stood on the Palatine, each searching for an omen (the term itself comes from the word for "bird") as to which of the twin warlords would rule the tribes and found a city. In time, Remus returned and announced that six birds had flown over the Palatine; Romulus thereupon announced that twelve had flown over the Aventine. Thus Romulus became ruler and the city was named Roma instead of Rema. The relationship betwen the brothers was never the same....
South of the Forum and considered the most important of the Seven Hills, the Palatine was the site of the oldest settlements. Ancient and mysterious deities had temples here -- Aius Locutius, Viriplaca, Luna Noctiluca, Febris; later temples were dedicated to Victory and the Great Mother. In Republican times, Rome's best and brightest citizens owned homes on the Palatine, including both Antonius and Cicero. In Imperial times -- after the days of Caesar, Julius Caesar -- the Palatine was the site of the vast imperial palaces.
The Mons Capitolinus was actually two peaks, the Capitolium and the Arx, citadel and religious center. The Capitoline was the seat of municipal government and symbolised Rome's authority. Here were built temples to the divine trio of Rome -- Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Best and Greatest), Juno, and Minerva -- along with an augur's observation post, office buildings, and the Tarpeian Rock -- traditional execution place. Literally between a rock and a hard place, the condemned were thrown from the promontory to the hard stones below.
Once a lower class neighbourhood (see Lindsey Davis' Falco novels), now (so we hear) a posh district, the Aventine plateau overlooks the curving Tiber river. Here were temples to Diana, Luna, and Juno; Varro's extensive library; and the Armilustrium, where arms were ritually purified. The Aventine's plebeian neighbourhood was thriving and prosperous. The Circus Maximus is situated between the Aventine and Palatine.
Caelius Mons was the most southeasterly hill, south of the Esquiline, and was originally named Querquetulanus. The hill was named after an early Etruscan warlord and adventurer. In Caesar's day not a whole lot was going on here.
The highest and largest hill, an eastern plateau formed by the smaller Oppian and Cispian hills. In the Iron Age it was a mainly a cemetery, then a paupers field.
A flat-topped, steep, and weathered spur, this smaller hill was once a fortress, site of the wall of Servius. No one really has much more to say about it.
The northernmost hill, site of ancient temples including to one to Quirinus, aboriginal Italian god of arms and assembled armies; later a luxury neighbourhood.
The Eternal City
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From Gaul to Syria
Home to Rome
Caesar's Palace and around the neighbourhood
The Road to Rome and a tour of the Tullium
-- gallery table of contents / Roma Aeterna --