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Research - Ancient Rome - The City of Rome - Capitoline Hill

Continuing our excavation of the ancient city of Rome, we come to Capitoline Hill (or Campidoglio), the smallest but most sacred of the infamous seven hills. This is where the Capitoline Triad - the Temple to Jupiter, Juno and their daughter, Minerva, stood. The Temple of Jupiter, the city's first, was considered the most sacred.

The hill was home to the Roman Senate and some of the municipal buildings. In 390 BCE, the city was attacked by Gauls and people hid on this hill to avoid capture. In the Middle Ages, goats would graze upon the hill, earning it the nickname Monte Caprini ("Goat Hill" or "Mountain Goat").

In 1535, Michaelangelo Buonarroti was comissioned to renovate Capitoline Hill, making it the center of the city again. he designed the piazza that is surrounded by palaces. His design begins at the base of the hill and ascends to the hill with steep, narrow steps leading to the Santa Maria in Arcoeli church. Legend says the stairs progress steeper and steeper to indicate the difficult climb to spirituality/Christianity.

At the base of the flat road (cordonata) are two Egyptian lions which were originally in front of the Santo Stefano del Cacco church but were moved in 1562. In 1588, they were remodeled into fountains with water from the Acqua Felice aqueduct.

Statues of Emperor Constantine (the first Christian emperor) and his son, Constantine II stand further from the stairs.

The Senator's Palace (Palazzo Senatorio), built in the 12th century, is in the center of the piazza graced by a bronze statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback. Two giant statues of the Heavenly Twins, Castor and Pollux, stand as protectors of Rome on either side of the stairs.

80 degrees from the Senator's Palace is the Conservators' Palace (Palazzo dei Conservatori) and across is the New Palace (Palazzo Nuovo).

Capitoline Hill lies between the Roman Forum and the Campus Martius. It was originally the city's citadel

The English word "capitol" derived from Capitoline.

BBC - Primary History - Romans - excellent site with lots of images, videos, games, links and trivia
Hadrian's - interesting factoids

Muse's Realm
- A map of the Seven Hills of Ancient Rome
Wikipedia - Seven Hills of Rome - more description on the seven hills
Wikipedia - Capitoline Hill - detailed information
Enjoy Rome
Roman Guide

Image Credits:
Wikipedia - Seven Hills of Rome
Basic Roman City Topography - Topographical Map
Art History Presentations - Michaelangelo's Design
RomeArtLover - nice pictures of the hill

Review - TV Show - The Supersizers Go - Roman

One of my new favorite food shows is "The Supersizers Go" on the Cooking Channel. It stars Giles Coren (a British restaurant critic) and Sue Perkins (comedienne) who dress in period costumes, act as particular and somewhat amusing characters, and experiment with the eating habits and dishes of different periods in British history. The episodes are comical and light-hearted even when the food they try looks extremely unappealing. And they sprinkle in some historical tidbits.

In this particular episode, Giles plays the part of a Senator while Sue plays a Vestal Virgin.

Some of the foods they try:
Garum - fermented fish sauce that is used like ketchup on most dishes
Duck tongue
Poached eggs
Spelt (a kind of wheat bread)
Boiled goat, roasted mutton
Jellyfish, moran eels
***Meat and fish were generally enjoyed by the wealthier citizens. Red mullet was incredibly expensive.

Interesting historic tidbits:
Romans ate with knives, spoons and their fingers.

Romans invented the first salad, called herba salata. It was eaten with vinegar, oil and salt. When it was introduced to Europeans, they called it "Roman" and eventually the name evolved into "Romaine".

They used a mortarum (pestle and mortar).

Catch part of the show HERE.

Cooking Channel


Apicius - a collection of recipes

Garde Manger - the first salads

Research - Ancient Rome - The City of Rome - Palatine Hill

In an earlier post, we quickly went through the history of Rome. In this next series of posts, I'd like to delve deeper into the city of Rome and its layout and special features with some links to maps. First, let's start with the infamous seven hills. In Latin, the word "Collis" means "Hill".

Rome geographically contains seven hills, just east of the Tiber River, as you can see from this image.

The city began officially in 753 BC on Palatine (Palatium or Palatino) Hill, centrally located. Upon this hill wealthy citizen and emperors build their homes and palaces, so the word palatine (or palatinus) has come to mean "palace". Augustus was the first to build his palace here and a temple to the god Apollo. The Roman Forum was built on one side and the Circus Maximus on the other. The Flavian palace overlooks the Circus Maximus. You can also find the House of Tiberius and the Hippodrome of Domitian here.

Further Reading:
World Archaeology - Information about Palatine Huts discovered in the hill.
Daily Mail - Discovery of Nero's infamous rotating dining room in the Golden Palace.
Discovery News - Findings of Augustus' birth place (be sure to check out the slide show link in the article)


Muse's Realm
- A map of the Seven Hills of Ancient Rome
Wikipedia - Seven Hills of Rome - more description on the seven hills
Wikipedia - Palatine Hill - detailed information about this hill

Image Credits:
Wikipedia - Seven Hills of Rome

Basic Roman City Topography - Topographical Map

Palatine Hill Terraces

Palatine Hill