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THE HISTORY OF OLD ROME

I. The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson


The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER IV - The Beginnings of Rome

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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Page 16

All these indications, which even in themselves are of great weight, become more significant when we recollect that the accurately known circuit of the Palatine city of the Seven Mounts excluded the Quirinal, and that afterwards in the Servian Rome, while the first three regions corresponded to the former Palatine city, a fourth region was formed out of the Quirinal along with the neighbouring Viminal. Thus, too, we discover an explanation of the reason why the strong outwork of the Subura was constructed beyond the city wall in the valley between the Esquiline and Quirinal; it was at that point, in fact, that the two territories came into contact, and the Palatine Romans, after having taken possession of the low ground, were under the necessity of constructing a stronghold for protection against those of the Quirinal.

Lastly, even the name has not been lost by which the men of the Quirinal distinguished themselves from their Palatine neighbours. As the Palatine city took the name of "the Seven Mounts," its citizens called themselves the "mount-men" (-montani-), and the term "mount," while applied to the other heights belonging to the city, was above all associated with the Palatine; so the Quirinal height--although not lower, but on the contrary somewhat higher, than the former--as well as the adjacent Viminal never in the strict use of the language received any other name than "hill" (collis). In the ritual records, indeed, the Quirinal was not unfrequently designated as the "hill" without further addition. In like manner the gate leading out from this height was usually called the "hill-gate" (-porta collina-); the priests of Mars settled there were called those "of the hill" (-Salii collini-) in contrast to those of the Palatium (-Salii Palatini-) and the fourth Servian region formed out of this district was termed the hill-region (-tribus collina-)(6) The name of Romans primarily associated with the locality was probably appropriated by these "Hill-men" as well as by those of the "Mounts;" and the former perhaps designated themselves as "Romans of the Hill" (-Romani collini-). That a diversity of race may have lain at the foundation of this distinction between the two neighbouring cities is possible; but evidence sufficient to warrant our pronouncing a community established on Latin soil to be of alien lineage is, in the case of the Quirinal community, totally wanting.(7)

6. Although the name "Hill of Quirinus" was afterwards ordinarily used to designate the height where the Hill-Romans had their abode, we need not at all on that account regard the name "Quirites" as having been originally reserved for the burgesses on the Quirinal. For, as has been shown, all the earliest indications point, as regards these, to the name -Collini-; while it is indisputably certain that the name Quirites denoted from the first, as well as subsequently, simply the full burgess, and had no connection with the distinction between montani and collini (comp. chap. v. infra). The later designation of the Quirinal rests on the circumstance that, while the -Mars quirinus-, the spear-bearing god of Death, was originally worshipped as well on the Palatine as on the Quirinal--as indeed the oldest inscriptions found at what was afterwards called the Temple of Quirinus designate this divinity simply as Mars,--at a later period for the sake of distinction the god of the Mount-Romans more especially was called Mars, the god of the Hill Romans more especially Quirinus.

When the Quirinal is called -collis agonalis-, "hill of sacrifice," it is so designated merely as the centre of the religious rites of the Hill-Romans.

7. The evidence alleged for this (comp. e. g. Schwegler, S. G. i. 480) mainly rests on an etymologico-historical hypothesis started by Varro and as usual unanimously echoed by later writers, that the Latin -quiris- and -quirinus- are akin to the name of the Sabine town -Cures-, and that the Quirinal hill accordingly had been peopled from -Cures-. Even if the linguistic affinity of these words were more assured, there would be little warrant for deducing from it such a historical inference. That the old sanctuaries on this eminence (where, besides, there was also a "Collis Latiaris") were Sabine, has been asserted, but has not been proved. Mars quirinus, Sol, Salus, Flora, Semo Sancus or Deus fidius were doubtless Sabine, but they were also Latin, divinities, formed evidently during the epoch when Latins and Sabines still lived undivided. If a name like that of Semo Sancus (which moreover occurs in connection with the Tiber-island) is especially associated with the sacred places of the Quirinal which afterwards diminished in its importance (comp. the Porta Sanqualis deriving its name therefrom), every unbiassed inquirer will recognize in such a circumstance only a proof of the high antiquity of that worship, not a proof of its derivation from a neighbouring land. In so speaking we do not mean to deny that it is possible that old distinctions of race may have co-operated in producing this state of things; but if such was the case, they have, so far as we are concerned, totally disappeared, and the views current among our contemporaries as to the Sabine element in the constitution of Rome are only fitted seriously to warn us against such baseless speculations leading to no result.


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