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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.


References:
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
The-Colosseum.net
Enjoy Rome
EurAtlast
Roman Guide


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

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