Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Rome. Ancient walled city of central Italy built around seven hills. The emperor Augustus’s palace is on the Palatine Hill. During the Palatine festival in honor of Augustus, wooden stands for seating sixty thousand people are erected in the southern courtyard. After his death, his widow, Livia, has a magnificent gold statue of Augustus placed in the palace’s hall. During the reign of Augustus’s successor, Tiberius, Tiberius builds a two-story palace for himself on the northwest part of the hill that is three times larger than Augustus’s palace. Most of the other houses on this hill belong to senators. The house where Claudius’s father and his uncle Tiberius were brought up and in which Claudius lives through most of his childhood is near the hill. Nearby is the temple of Apollo built by Augustus and the Apollo Library, in which Claudius spends much of his time researching his histories of Etruria and Carthage.

The Palatine Hill looks down on the market place. Under the steepest part of the hill is the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Originally built of wood, it is rebuilt in marble by Tiberius, and its interior is richly painted and gilded. Later, Caligula transforms the temple into a vestibule for his own temple, cutting a passage between the statues of the gods. The Temple of Saturn is west of the Palatine Hill, where Tiberius builds an arch celebrating Germanicus’s victories in Germany.

North of the Palatine Hill, on the Capitoline Hill, is the capitol, the Temple to Jove. Caligula orders the building of a shrine next to it with a gold statue of himself, three times larger than...

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