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THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME

Here is a mnemonic sentence that recalls the names of the seven hills on which ancient Rome was built:

"Can Queen Victoria Eat Cold Apple Pie?"

(Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, Aventine, Palatine)

Rome, the capital of Italy and 2000 years ago the centre of a vast empire, is situated on the left bank of the river Tiber, about 16 miles from the sea. According to legend it was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus (a son of the god Mars), who killed his twin brother Remus for scornfully jumping over the walls he had built.

Map of Rome

In ancient times Rome was in the north-west confines of a region called Latium. The original city, named "Palatium" comprised only the Mons Palatinus (or Palatine Hill) and some part of the ground immediately around it. It was surrounded by walls and built in a square form (hence Roma Quadrata), and inhabited only by Latins.

On the neighbouring hills there existed settlements of Sabines and Etruscans (Etruria being a region stretching north from Rome to what is nowadays Florence). The Sabine town (probably called Quirium) was situated to the north of the Palatine on the Quirinalis and Capitolinus hills (on the latter of which was found the Sabine Arx or citadel). The Etruscans were settled on the Mons Caelius and extended over Mons Cispius and Mons Oppius, both part of the Esqualine hills.

Under early Roman Kings the Latin and Sabine towns gradually became united and then extended to incorporate the Etruscan settlement as the city grew in size and population. King Ancus Marcius added the area of the Mons Aventinus (after which his successor Tarquinius Priscus built the Circus Maximus between the Palatine and Aventine) and by 400 B.C. King Servius Tullius had added Mons Viminalis, before Rome was almost entirely destroyed by Gauls in 390 B.C.

Upon rebuilding however, increasing Roman conquests abroad helped the city to grow even further in size and importance, especially under the first Emperors, until a fire in A.D.64 again destroyed two-thirds of the city. Emperor Nero then took the opportunity to rebuild again, incorporating plans for the wider and straighter streets that remain in the centre of Rome today.

 

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