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Palatine Hill

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The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Forum Romanum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other.

According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants, and with his wife Acca Larentia raised the children. When they were older, the boys killed their great-uncle (who seized the throne from their grandfather), and they both decided to build a new city of their own on the banks of the River Tiber. Suddenly, they had a violent argument with each other and in the end Romulus killed his twin brother Remus. This is how "Rome" got its name - from Romulus. Another legend to occur on the Palatine is Hercules' defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where later a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed.

Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people have lived there since approximately 1000 BC.

According to Livy, after the immigration of the Sabines and the Albans to Rome, the original Romans lived on the Palatine. Many affluent Romans of the Republican period (c.509 BC – 44 BC) had their residences there. During the Empire (27 BC – 476 AD) several emperors resided there; in fact, the ruins of the palaces of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), Tiberius (14 AD – 37 AD) and Domitian (81 AD – 96 AD) can still be seen. Augustus also built a temple to Apollo here, beside his own palace.

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