Esquiline Hill

The Esquiline Hill (/ˈɛskwɪlaɪn/; Latin: Collis Esquilinus; Italian: Esquilino [eskwiˈliːno]) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Its southern-most cusp is the Oppius (Oppian Hill).

The Esquiline Hill
One of the seven hills of Rome
Latin nameCollis Esquilinus
Italian nameEsquilino
BuildingsDomus Aurea, baths of Trajan, Nymphaeum misattributed to Minerva Medica
Ancient Roman religionTemple of Minerva Medica (non-extant)
Roman sculpturesDiscobolus
Seven Hills of Rome
Schematic map of Rome showing the seven hills and Servian wall


The origin of the name Esquilino is still under much debate. One view is that the Hill was named after the abundance of Italian oaks, aesculi, that resided there. Another view is that, during Rome's infancy, the Capitolium, the Palatinum, and the northern fringes of the Caelian were the most-populated areas of the city, whose inhabitants were considered inquilini, in-towners; those who inhabited the external regions – Aurelian, Oppius, Cispius, Fagutal – were considered exquilini, suburbanites.


The Esquiline Hill includes three prominent spurs, which are sometimes called "hills" as well:[1]

Rising above the valley in which was later built the Colosseum, the Esquiline was a fashionable residential district.

According to Livy, the settlement on the Esquiline was expanded during the reign of Servius Tullius, Rome's sixth king, in the 6th century BC. The king also moved his residence to the Hill, in order to increase its respectability.[2]

The political advisor and art patron Maecenas (70–8 BC) sited his Gardens of Maecenas gardens, the first in the Hellenistic-Persian garden style in Rome, on the Esquiline Hill, atop the Servian Wall and its adjoining necropolis, near the gardens of Lamia. It contained terraces, libraries and other aspects of Roman culture. At the Oppius, Nero (37 AD–68 AD) confiscated property to build his extravagant, mile-long Golden House,[3] and later still Trajan (53–117) constructed his bath complex, both of whose remains are visible today. The 3rd century Horti Liciniani, a group of gardens (including the relatively well-preserved nymphaeum formerly identified as the non-extant Temple of Minerva Medica), were probably constructed on the Esquiline Hill. Farther to the northeast, at the summit of the Cispius, is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

In 1781, the first known copy of the marble statue of a Discus thrower – the so-called Discobolus of Myron – was discovered on the Roman property of the Massimo family, the Villa Palombara, on the Esquiline Hill. The famous Esquiline Treasure, now in the British Museum, was found on the Esquiline Hill.


See also


  1. ^ Amanda Claridge: Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide, Oxford University Press, 2010, page 5
  2. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1.44
  3. ^ Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning (First ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p. 227. ISBN 0-06-430158-3.

Coordinates: 41°53′44″N 12°29′48″E / 41.89556°N 12.49667°E

Basilica of Junius Bassus

The Basilica of Junius Bassus (basilica Iunii Bassi) was a civil basilica on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, on a site now occupied by the Seminario Pontificio di Studi Orientali, in via Napoleone III, 3. It is best known for its examples of opus sectile work.

Campus Esquilinus

Campus Esquilinus was an area on the Esquiline Hill, in the ancient Rome. It was the site of many extravagant buildings as well as baths and gardens. The Campus Esquilinus was also the site of executions and burials, though it was eventually turned into a park by Augustus.


Carinae was an area of ancient Rome. It was one of its most exclusive neighborhoods, where many of the senatorial class lived.The Carinae was in the western end of the southern spur of the Esquiline hill in Rome. This district likely incorporated the earlier Fagutal, with the northern tip of the Oppian Hill on its western side; it extended between the Velian Hill and the Clivus Pullius. Its outlook was southwestern, across the swamps of the Palus Ceroliae toward the Aventine.

According to Servius the name of this district comes from the fact the certain buildings standing near the temple of Tellus represented the keels (carinae) of ships. The Murus Terreus also crossed the Carinae. Florus named the Carinae as the "most celebrated part of the city" (celeberrima pars urbis).

Esquiline Treasure

The Esquiline Treasure is an ancient Roman silver treasure that was found in 1793 on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. The hoard is considered an important example of late antique silver work from the 4th century AD, probably about 380 for the major pieces. Since 1866, 57 objects, representing the great majority of the treasure, have been in the British Museum.Two of the most important objects in the treasure are the ornate silver-gilt engraved boxes known as the Projecta Casket and the Muse Casket. The treasure was part of the belongings of a wealthy Roman household of high social status, which can probably be identified. The collection includes 8 plates (4 circular and 4 rectangular), a fluted dish, a ewer inscribed for "Pelegrina", a flask with embossed scenes, an amphora, 6 sets of horse trappings, with furniture fittings including 4 tyche figures representing the 4 main cities of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria, two hands clenching bannisters, and an assortment of jewellery.Although a number of large late Roman hoards have been discovered, most are from the fringes of the empire (such as Roman Britain), and very few objects from the period can be presumed to have been made by silversmiths in Rome itself, giving the Esquiline Treasure a "special significance". This major hoard is displayed in room 41 of the British Museum alongside the Carthage Treasure and near the British finds of the Mildenhall Treasure, Hoxne Hoard, Water Newton Treasure and the Corbridge Lanx. It has been observed that the majority of the major surviving late Roman silver hoards are in the British Museum.

Gardens of Maecenas

The Gardens of Maecenas, built by Gaius Maecenas, an Augustan-era patron of the arts, were the first gardens in the Hellenistic-Persian garden style in Rome. He sited them on the Esquiline Hill, atop the agger of the Servian Wall and its adjoining necropolis, near the gardens of Lamia.

Horti Lamiani

The Horti Lamiani (Lamian Gardens) were a set of gardens located atop the Esquiline Hill in Rome, in the area around the present Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. They were based on the gardens of the consul Lucius Aelius Lamia, a friend of Tiberius, and the Horti Lamiani soon (based on the time of Caligula) became part of the imperial property.

Horti Liciniani

The Horti Liciniani were a set of gardens in ancient Rome originally belonging to the gens Licinia. In the third century, these were owned by the Emperor Gallienus, himself a member of the gens. The gardens were probably on the Esquiline Hill, at the top of which Gallienus erected a colossal statue of himself. The 4th-century domed nymphaeum that survives, long miscalled a "Temple of Minerva Medica", is believed to have been part of the gardens.

Junius Annius Bassus

Iunius Annius Bassus was a praetorian prefect of the Roman Empire from 318 to 331, during which time he also held the consulate. Several laws in the Codex Theodosianus are addressed to him. His son Junius Bassus was praefectus urbi, and his sarcophagus is the most ancient among those carved with Christian scenes.

He built the basilica of Junius Bassus on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, famous for its opus sectile decoration.

List of ancient monuments in Rome

This is a list of ancient monuments from republican and imperial periods in the city of Rome, Italy.

Lucina (mythology)

In ancient Roman religion, Lucina was a title or epithet given to the goddess Juno, and sometimes to Diana, in their roles as goddesses of childbirth who safeguarded the lives of women in labor.

The title lucina (from the Latin lux, lucis, "light") links both Juno and Diana to the light of the moon, the cycles of which were used to track female fertility as well as measure the duration of a pregnancy. Priests of Juno called her by the epithet Juno Covella on the new moon. The title might alternately have been derived from lucus ("grove") after a sacred grove of lotus trees on the Esquiline Hill associated with Juno, later the site of her temple.Juno Lucina was chief among a number of deities who influenced or guided every aspect of birth and child development, such as Vagitanus, who opened the newborn's mouth to cry, and Fabulinus, who enabled the child's first articulate speech. The collective di nixi were birth goddesses, and had an altar in the Campus Martius.

The asteroid 146 Lucina and the extinct species of ostracod Luprisca incuba are named after this aspect of the goddess.

Macellum Liviae

Macellum Liviae ("market of Livia") was a shopping complex built by Augustus in the name of his wife Livia built on the Esquiline Hill in Rome.

Marcellus as Hermes Logios

Marcellus as Hermes Logios, sculpture of Marcellus the Younger as Hermes Logios, the god of eloquence. It was executed in marble (1.80 meters in height) circa 20 BC (i.e. 2 years after the nominal subject's death, possibly on his uncle Augustus's personal order as a funerary monument), and was signed by Cleomenes the Athenian.

Before 1590 it was housed in Pope Sixtus V's villa on the Esquiline Hill. It was bought from the papal collections in 1664 by Louis XIV of France and placed in the "galerie des Glaces" at the Palace of Versailles. Napoleon brought it from there to the Louvre, Paris in 1802, where it now resides.


In ancient Roman religion, the Matronalia (or Matronales Feriae) was a festival celebrating Juno Lucina, the goddess of childbirth ("Juno who brings children into the light"), and of motherhood (mater is "mother" in Latin) and women in general. In the original Roman calendar traditionally thought to have been established by Romulus, it was the first day of the year. As the first day of March (Martius), the month of Mars, it was also the Feriae Martis.

The date of the festival was associated with the dedication of a temple to Juno Lucina on the Esquiline Hill circa 268 BCE, and possibly also a commemoration of the peace between the Romans and the Sabines. On the day, women would participate in rituals at the temple, although the details have not been preserved other than the observation that they wore their hair loose (when Roman decorum otherwise required them to wear it up), and were not allowed to wear belts or to knot their clothing in any place.

At home, women received gifts from their husbands and daughters, and Roman husbands were expected to offer prayers for their wives. Women were also expected to prepare a meal for the household slaves (who were given the day off work), as Roman men did at the Saturnalia.


The Septimontium was a pre-urban festival celebrated in ancient Rome by montani, residents of the seven (sept-) communities associated with the hills or peaks of Rome (montes): Oppius, Palatium, Velia, Fagutal, Cermalus, Caelius, and Cispius. The Septimontium was celebrated in September, or, according to later calendars, on 11 December. It was not a public festival in the sense of feriae populi, according to Varro, who sees it as an urban analog to the rural Paganalia.The etymology from septem ("seven") has been doubted; the festival may instead take its name from saept-, "divided," in the sense of "partitioned off, palisaded." The montes include two divisions of the Palatine Hill and three of the Esquiline Hill, among the traditional "seven hills of Rome".Plutarch's notice of this festival is obscure, and confuses the nature of the Septimontium as represented by inscriptions and Festus with the proverbial seven hills of Rome. At this time, he notes, Romans refrained from operating horse-drawn vehicles.

Seven hills of Rome

The seven hills of Rome (Italian: Sette colli di Roma [ˈsɛtte ˈkɔlli di ˈroːma], Latin: Septem colles/montes Romae) east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the city.

The seven hills are:

Aventine Hill (Latin, Aventinus; Italian, Aventino)

Caelian Hill (Cælius, Celio)

Capitoline Hill (Capitolinus, Campidoglio)

Esquiline Hill (Esquilinus, Esquilino)

Palatine Hill (Palatinus, Palatino)

Quirinal Hill (Quirinalis, Quirinale)

Viminal Hill (Viminalis, Viminale)The Vatican Hill (Latin Collis Vaticanus) lying northwest of the Tiber, the Pincian Hill (Latin Mons Pincius), lying to the north, and the Janiculum Hill (Latin Ianiculum), lying to the west, are not counted among the traditional Seven Hills.

Temple of Juno Lucina

The Temple of Juno Lucina (Latin: Aedes Iunonis Lucinae) was a temple dedicated to Juno Lucina (goddess of women in childbirth) on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. It was dedicated on 1 March 375 BC, the festival of the Matronalia. Before its construction, the cult of Juno Lucina occurred in a sacred grove or lucus (possibly the origin of the epithet Lucina) on the site - Varro dates the cult's origin to Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines. It was struck by lightning in 190 BC, damaging the tympanum and doorway. In 41 BC the quaestor Quintus Pedius built or rebuilt a wall possibly dating back to the sacred grove. It was still operational in the imperial period, as attested to in inscriptions.

Temple of Minerva Medica

For the well-preserved ruin from the 4th century, see Temple of Minerva Medica (nymphaeum).The temple of Minerva Medica (akin to the temple of Apollo Medicus) was a temple in ancient Rome, built on the Esquiline Hill in the Republican era, though no remains of it have been found. Since the 17th century, it has been wrongly identified with the ruins of a nymphaeum on a nearby site, on account of the erroneous impression that the Athena Giustiniani had been found in its ruins.Its position in the regionary catalogue, between the campus Viminalis and the temple of Isis Patricia, points to a site in the northern part of Region V. But hundreds of votive offerings, including one in which the temple is attested, were discovered in the Via Curva (the modern Via Carlo Botta), just west of the Via Merulana, and this may be the better location. Some tuff walls, resembling ritual trenches known as favissae were also found there.

Velian Hill

The Velia — or Velian Hill or Velian Ridge — is a saddle or spur stretching out from the middle of the north side of the Palatine Hill towards the Oppian Hill (itself a spur of the Esquiline Hill) in Rome.

In later times, the Velia was called Summa Sacra Via ("Summit of the Sacra Via") — since that road began there at its highest point — and was marked by the Arch of Titus and Temple of Venus and Roma. (An alternate theory is that the Velia was actually the eastern half of the Palatine).

Viminal Hill

The Viminal Hill (; Latin: Collis Viminalis; Italian: Viminale [vimiˈnaːle]) is the smallest of the famous Seven Hills of Rome. A finger-shape cusp pointing toward central Rome between the Quirinal Hill to the northwest and the Esquiline Hill to the southeast, it is home to the Teatro dell'Opera and the Termini Railway Station.

At the top of Viminal Hill is the Palace of Viminale that hosts the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior; currently the term Il Viminale means the Ministry of the Interior.

According to Livy, the hill first became part of the city of Rome, along with the Quirinal Hill, during the reign of Servius Tullius, Rome' sixth king, in the 6th century BC.

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