Aventine Hill

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The Aventine Hill
One of the seven hills of Rome
Latin nameCollis Aventinus
Italian nameAventino
Rione Ripa
People Ancus Marcius, Lucius Opimius, Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, Naevius, Pope Sixtus III
Events Aventine Secession (494 BC),
Aventine Secession (20th century)
Ancient Roman religion Temples to Diana, Ceres, Liber and Libera, Bona Dea.

The Aventine Hill ( /ˈævɪntn, -tɪn/ ; Latin : Collis Aventinus; Italian : Aventino [avenˈtiːno] ) is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Seven hills of Rome Wikimedia list article

The seven hills of Rome east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the city.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Contents

Location and boundaries

Schematic map of Rome showing the seven hills and Servian Wall. Seven Hills of Rome.svg
Schematic map of Rome showing the seven hills and Servian Wall.

The Aventine Hill is the southernmost of Rome's seven hills. It has two distinct heights, one greater to the northwest and one lesser to the southeast, divided by a steep cleft that provides the base for an ancient roadway between the heights. During the Republican era, the two hills may have been recognized as a single entity. [1]

Roman Republic Period of ancient Roman civilization (509–27 BC)

The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

The Augustan reforms of Rome's urban neighbourhoods (vici) recognised the ancient road between the two heights (the modern Viale Aventino) as a common boundary between the new Regio XIII, which absorbed Aventinus Maior, and the part of Regio XII known as Aventinus Minor. [2]

Etymology and mythology

Most Roman sources trace the name of the hill to a legendary king Aventinus. Servius identifies two kings of that name, one ancient Italic, and one Alban, both said to have been buried on the hill in remote antiquity. Servius believes that the hill was named after the ancient Italic king Aventinus. He rejects Varro's proposition that the Sabines named the hill after the nearby Aventus river; likewise, he believes that the Aventinus who was fathered by Hercules on Rhea Silvia was likely named after the Aventine Hill. [3]

Aventinus was a son of Hercules and the priestess Rhea mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid, Book vii. 656, as an ally of Mezentius and enemy of Aeneas :

Hercules Roman adaptation of the Greek divine hero Heracles

Hercules is a Roman hero and god. He was the equivalent of the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.

Rhea Silvia mother of Romulus and Remus

Rhea Silvia, and also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita Libri of Livy and in fragments from Ennius, Annales and Quintus Fabius Pictor.

The Aventine was a significant site in Roman mythology. In Virgil's Aeneid, a cave on the Aventine's rocky slope next the river is home to the monstrous Cacus, killed by Hercules for stealing Geryon's cattle. [4] In Rome's founding myth, the divinely fathered twins Romulus and Remus hold a contest of augury, whose outcome determines the right to found, name and lead a new city, and to determine its site. In most versions of the story, Remus sets up his augural tent on the Aventine; Romulus sets his up on the Palatine. [5]

Roman mythology traditional stories pertaining to ancient Romes legendary origins and religious system

Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.

Virgil Ancient Roman poet

Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

Cacus fire breathing giant in Roman mythology

In Roman mythology, Cacus was a fire-breathing giant and the son of Vulcan. He was killed by Hercules after terrorizing the Aventine Hill before the founding of Rome.

Each sees a number of auspicious birds (aves) that signify divine approval but Remus sees fewer than Romulus. Romulus goes on to found the city of Rome at the site of his successful augury. An earlier variant, found in Ennius and some later sources, has Romulus perform his augury on one of the Aventine Hills. Remus performs his elsewhere, perhaps on the southeastern height, the lesser of the Aventine's two hills, which has been tentatively identified with Ennius' Mons Murcus. [6]

Ennius Roman writer

Quintus Ennius was a writer and poet who lived during the Roman Republic. He is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was born in Rudiae, formerly a small town located near modern Lecce in the heel of Italy, and could speak Oscan as well as Latin and Greek. Although only fragments of his works survive, his influence in Latin literature was significant, particularly in his use of Greek literary models.

Skutsch (1961) regards Ennius' variant as the most likely, with Romulus's Palatine augury as a later development, after common usage had extended the Aventine's name formerly used for only the greater, northeastern height to include its lesser neighbour. Augural rules and the mythos itself required that each twin take his auspices at a different place; therefore Romulus, who won the contest and founded the city, was repositioned to the more fortunate Palatine, the traditional site of Rome's foundation. The less fortunate Remus, who lost not only the contest but later, his life, remained on the Aventine: Servius notes the Aventine's reputation as a haunt of "inauspicious birds". [7] [8]

History

Roman

According to Roman tradition, the Aventine was not included within Rome's original foundation, and lay outside the city's ancient sacred boundary (pomerium). The Roman historian Livy reports that Ancus Marcius, Rome's fourth king, defeated the Latins of Politorium, and resettled them there. [9] The Roman geographer Strabo credits Ancus with the building of a city wall to incorporate the Aventine. [10] Others credit the same wall to Rome's sixth king, Servius Tullius. The remains known as the Servian Wall used stone quarried at Veii, which was not conquered by Rome until c.393 BC, so the Aventine might have been part-walled, or an extramural suburb.

The Aventine appears to have functioned as some kind of staging post for the legitimate ingress of foreign peoples and foreign cults into the Roman ambit. During the late regal era, Servius Tullius built a temple to Diana on the Aventine, as a Roman focus for the new-founded Latin League. The Aventine's outlying position, its longstanding association with Latins and plebeians and its extra-pomerial position reflect its early marginal status. At some time around 493 BC, soon after the expulsion of Rome's last King and the establishment of the Roman Republic, the Roman senate provided a temple for the so-called Aventine Triad of Ceres, Liber and Libera, patron deities of the Roman commoners or plebs; the dedication followed one of the first in a long series of threatened or actual plebeian secessions. The temple overlooked the Circus Maximus and the Temple of Vesta, and faced the Palatine Hill. It became an important repository for plebeian and senatorial records. [11]

It is presumed that the Aventine was state-owned public land; in c.456 BC a Lex Icilia allowed or granted the plebs property rights there. By c.391 BC, the city's overspill had overtaken the Aventine and the Campus Martius, and left the city vulnerable to attack; around that year, the Gauls overran and temporarily held the city. After this, the walls were rebuilt or extended to properly incorporate the Aventine; this is more or less coincident with the increasing power and influence of the Aventine-based plebeian aediles and tribunes in Roman public affairs, and the rise of a plebeian nobility. [12]

Rome absorbed many more foreign deities via the Aventine: "No other location approaches [its] concentration of foreign cults". In 392 BC, Camillus established a temple there to Juno Regina. Later introductions include Summanus, c. 278, Vortumnus c. 264, and at some time before the end of the 3rd century, Minerva. [13] The Aventine was also the site of the Baths of Decius, built in 252.

Modern

Basilica Santa Sabina Rom, Basilika Santa Sabina, Aussenansicht.jpg
Basilica Santa Sabina

During the Fascist period, many deputies of the opposition retired on this hill after the murder of Giacomo Matteotti, here ending - by the so-called "Aventine Secession" - their presence at the Parliament and, as a consequence, their political activity.

The hill is now an elegant residential part of Rome with a wealth of architectural interest, including palaces, churches, and gardens, for example, the basilica of Santa Sabina and the Rome Rose Garden.

The Aventine Hill is portrayed as a rough working-class area of ancient Rome in the popular Falco series of historical novels written by Lindsey Davis about Marcus Didius Falco, a 'private informer' who occasionally works for the Emperor Vespasian and lives in the Aventine.

The same image is portrayed in much of the series Rome, in which the Aventine is the home of Lucius Vorenus. In season two, Vorenus and his friend legionary Titus Pullo seek to maintain order over the various collegia competing there for power.

The Vesta-class of starships in the Star Trek novels are named for Rome's seven hills. The most featured ship is the U.S.S. Aventine under Captain Ezri Dax.

See also

Seven hills:

Other Roman hills:

Related Research Articles

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Augury

Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion of interpreting omens from the observed flight of birds (aves). When the individual, known as the augur, interpreted these signs, it is referred to as "taking the auspices". 'Auspices' is from the Latin auspicium and auspex, literally "one who looks at birds." Depending upon the birds, the auspices from the gods could be favorable or unfavorable. Sometimes bribed or politically motivated augures would fabricate unfavorable auspices in order to delay certain state functions, such as elections. Pliny the Elder attributes the invention of auspicy to Tiresias the seer of Thebes, the generic model of a seer in the Greco-Roman literary culture.

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<i>Ficus Ruminalis</i>

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Romulus one of the twin brothers of Romes foundation myth

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Aventine Triad joint cult of Roman deities

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References

  1. Lawrence Richardson, A new topographical dictionary of ancient Rome, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p.47 googlebooks preview. Richardson asserts the single identity of the two heights as Aventine during the Republican era as commonly accepted in modern scholarship. O. Skutsch, "Enniana IV: Condendae urbis auspicia", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1961), pp. 252-267, argues that they were originally considered and named as separate hills: the Aventine was the northwestern height only, and the slightly lower southeastern height was Mons Murca.
  2. Lawrence Richardson, A new topographical dictionary of ancient Rome, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p.47 googlebooks preview. Richardson asserts the single identity of the two heights as Aventine during the Republican era as commonly accepted in modern scholarship. O. Skutsch, "Enniana IV: Condendae urbis auspicia", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1961), pp. 252-267, argues that they were originally considered and named as separate hills: the Aventine was the northwestern height only, and the slightly lower southeastern height was Mons Murca.
  3. Maurus Servius Honoratus, Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil, 7. 657.
  4. Brill's New Pauly: Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World. "Cacus", 2002. Retrieved on May 4, 2007.
  5. For discussion of Remus in Roman founder-myth, see T.P. Wiseman, Remus: a Roman myth, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p.7 ff. For discussion of Ennius' much copied, corrupted and problematic text, particularly his Mons Murca as the lesser Aventine hill, see O. Skutsch, "Enniana IV: Condendae urbis auspicia", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1961), pp. 255-259.
  6. For discussion of Remus in Roman founder-myth, see T.P. Wiseman, Remus: a Roman myth, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p.7 ff. For discussion of Ennius' much copied, corrupted and problematic text, and particularly his Mons Murca as the lesser Aventine hill, see O. Skutsch, "Enniana IV: Condendae urbis auspicia", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1961), pp. 255-259.
  7. Otto Skutsch, "Enniana IV: Condendae urbis auspicia", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1961), pp. 252-267.
  8. Maurus Servius Honoratus, Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil, 7. 657.
  9. Livy, Ab urbe condita , 1.33.
  10. Strabo. "Geography", November 6, 2006. Retrieved on May 8, 2007.
  11. Cornell, T., The beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c.1000–264 BC), Routledge, 1995, p. 264.
  12. Carter, Jesse Benedict. "The Evolution of the City of Rome from Its Origin to the Gallic Catastrophe"], Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, September 2, 1909, pp. 132 - 140. googlebooks preview (link updated 27 November 2010).
  13. Orlin, Eric M., Foreign Cults in Republican Rome: Rethinking the Pomerial Rule, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Vol. 47 (2002), pp. 4-5. For Camillus and Juno, see Stephen Benko, The virgin goddess: studies in the pagan and Christian roots of mariology, BRILL, 2004, p.27.

Coordinates: 41°53′N12°29′E / 41.883°N 12.483°E / 41.883; 12.483