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

Today we are taking a look at Esquiline Hill (Collis Esquilinus), the largest of the seven hills.

Esquiline Hill has three prominent spurs: Cispian (northern spur), Oppian (southern spur) and Fagutal (western spur) that are often thought of as separate hills.

In the early years of Rome, the area was used for burial pits (puticuli)(for the poor), a little more formal burials (for the middle class and merchant class), and the garbage refuse because the hill extended outside the city proper (Romans buried their dead outside the city). Due to diseases and stench, the first Roman emperor, Augustus, had the area covered up and the dead buried in another area outside the city. Gaius Cilnius Maecenas(70 BC-8 BC), patron of the arts,around 40 BC, laid out the garden complex Horti Maecenatis over the once unsavory area. It contained many croppings of buildings, statuary, a palace, a tower, and Macaenus’ Auditorium which still stands today. After Maecenas' death, the property became an imperial dwelling of many emperors.

In the sixth century BC, ruler Servius Tullius set up his residence on the hill making it a desirable location for wealthier citizens.

After a fire swept through Rome in 64 CE, clearing valuable land, Emperor Nero built his Golden House (Domus Aurea) on part of the hill (as well as on parts of Palatine and Caelian hills because it was so enormous). After his suicide in 68, Nero's complex was torn up, buried or destroyed and his lake in the valley was filled in and eventually became the foundation for the Flavian Amphitheatre (the Colosseum).

Nero's statue, Colossus Neronis, still stands outside the amphitheatre.

The Baths of Trajan, an enormous bathing complex, was built from 104 to 109 AD.

In the 3rd century, the large villa of Horti Liciniani was built, named for the Licinia family. Emperor Licinius Gallienus (260-268 A.D.) lived there and had a colossal statue erected. Horti Liciniani includes a group of gardens and the Temple of Minerva Medica.

The Temple of Minerva Medica (Tempio Di Minerva Medica) is an interesting example of classical architecture with twelve sides (dodecagon) and each side a semicircle (except the entrance). The diameter is 25 meters. The building got its name from a statue of Minerva with a snake that was found here.

Muse's Realm - A map of the Seven Hills of Ancient Rome
Wikipedia - Seven Hills of Rome - more description on the seven hills
Horti Maecenatis
Ancient Sites
Ancient Sites - Mons Esquilinus
Ancient History - 7 Hills of Rome

Image Credits:
Quondam - Map of Horti Luciliani
Roman Museum
Art Archive - beautiful painting of the hill