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The chief of the seven hills of Rome, traditionally the site of the oldest settlement there. Tradition assigns fortifications to the hill, and this seems to be confirmed by archaeology. Early settlement is represented by two archaic cisterns and rock‐cut post‐holes for iron age huts; one example, above the Lupercal (see lupercalia) and forum Boarium, is identified as the ‘hut of Romulus’ which was preserved in historic times. Temples on the hill included those dedicated to Victoria (294 bc), Victoria Virgo (193), and the Magna Mater (191; see cybele). Many aristocratic houses occupied the hill and the slopes which led down to the Forum, from the late 6th cent. bc onwards; famous owners including Cicero, Crassus, Annius Milo, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), Livius Drusus, Aemilius Scaurus (whose house has recently been excavated), and Hortensius Hortalus. The house of Hortensius was acquired by Augustus and became the nucleus of a group of palace‐buildings which included a portico and libraries as well as the new temple of Apollo. (see palaces.) In the early Julio‐Claudian period, the palace continued to be composed of individual houses, but Gaius (1) extended it to the Forum and ‘made the temple of Castor and Pollux his vestibule’ (see castor and pollux), as recent excavations confirm. Nero made important additions to the palace‐buildings both before and after the great fire of 64. Domitian was responsible for the Flavian palace‐buildings, conventionally known as Domus Flavia and Domus Augustana, which included a monumental garden (hippodromus). Further construction was undertaken by Hadrian, Commodus, and Septimius Severus, who built out towards the SE, where the Septizodium provided a monumental façade. The palace remained in use even after Constantinople became the new imperial capital (see palaces).

Subjects: Classical studies

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