Rome – Palatine hill, Forum Romanum and surrounding areas

Casa Romuli, one of the oldest dwellings in Rome
Casa Romuli, one of the oldest dwellings in Rome

Palatine hill or in Italian “Palatino” is where Rome as a community started, it is the place where the oldest dwellings have been found. The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Rome, it is 40 meters high and it is the centermost of Rome’s hills.

Casa Romuli pictured above was the dwelling of the founder and first king of Rome, Romulus (771-717 BC) it is on the South Western side of the Palatine hill and close to where the slope down towards Circus Maximus below starts. It is a one room hut and it would have had a straw roof. See also the Romulus and Remus legend.

The hippodrome or the Domitian stadium on the Palatian hill
The Hippodrome or the Domitian stadium on the Palatine hill

The Hippodrome built by the Emperor Domitian as a part of the Domus Augustana constructed in 92 AD was a magnificent palatial home for the Emperor. The exact purpose of the stadium is not exactly clear. It is too small for chariots, but may have been used to exercise horses or maybe just as a garden for the Emperor to enjoy.

Domus Augusti
Domus Augusti

Domus Augusti or Domus Augustea “House of Augustus” was the home of Caesar Augustus when he was in power. One should note that this was not part of the above mentioned Domus Augustana built by Emperor Domitian.

View of the Circus Maximus from the Palatine hill
View of the Circus Maximus from the Palatine hill

Circus Maximus situated below the Palatine hill, actually in the valley of Murcia between the Avantine and Palatine hills were the largest stadium in ancient Rome, measuring in round numbers about 600 x 100 meters (about 2000 x 400 feet). It was first constructed in the 6;th century BC but altered and added to throughout time. It hosted chariot races and other ‘mass entertainment’ events. It held more than 150,000 spectators and became the blueprint for circuses built throughout the Roman empire, today it is a public park.

Forum Romanum as viewed from the Palatine hill
Forum Romanum as viewed from the Palatine hill with the Colosseum at the very right end of the picture

Forum Romanum or just ‘the Forum’ was for a long time the center of public life in Rome, a marketplace but also a celebrated meeting place, some say the most celebrated meeting place in the world. It is surrounded by Shrines and temples as well as statues commemorating the most important people in Rome. It had Royal residences such as the Regia from the 8:th century, and temples such as the temple of Vesta from the 7:th century.

A view of a part of the Forum
A view of a part of the Forum
Remains of another arch
Remains of another arch

Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus on via Sacra
Arch of Titus on via Sacra, many later arches where modeled on this arch
Arch of Titus at the Forum
Arch of Titus on via Sacra close to the Forum

Close to the Forum is Via Sacra where Emperor Domitian erected this arch in memory of his brother Emperor Titus whom he succeeded upon Titus death. The arch has sculptural details depicting his victories including the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD. This arch has been the model for many arches built, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris France.

Inside of the arch of Titus
Inside of the arch of Titus

The interior top of the Arch of Titus in center shows the apotheosis (also known as divinization and deification) of Titus. See detail of this below.

Arch of Titus showing the apotheosis of Titus
Arch of Titus showing the apotheosis of Titus
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