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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IX. CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION
» Contents of this ChapterPage 43
DESTRUCTION OF ANCIENT ROME
The monuments of Rome, unlike those of Athens, cannot lay claim to great antiquity. The destruction wrought by the Gauls in 390 B.C. and the great fire under Nero in 64 A.D. removed nearly all traces of the regal and republican city. Many buildings erected in the imperial age have also disappeared, because in medieval and modern times the inhabitants of Rome used the ancient edifices as quarries. The existing monuments give only a faint idea of the former magnificence of the capital city.
HILLS OF ROME
The city of Rome lies on the Tiber. Where the river approaches Rome it makes two sharp turns, first to the west and then to the east. On the western, or Etruscan, bank stood the two hills called Vatican and Janiculum. They were higher than the famous seven which rose on the eastern side, where the ancient city was built. Two of these seven hills possess particular interest. The earliest settlement, as we have seen, probably occupied the Palatine. It became in later days the favorite site for the town houses of Roman nobles. In the imperial age the splendid palaces of the Caesars were located here. The Capitoline, steepest of the seven hills, was divided into two peaks. On one of these rose the most famous of all Roman temples, dedicated to Jupiter and his companion deities, Juno and Minerva. The other peak was occupied by a large temple of Juno Moneta ("the Adviser"), which served as the mint. The altars, shrines, and statues which once covered this height were so numerous that the Capitoline, like the Athenian Acropolis, became a museum of art.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy