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Emperor Augustus` birthplace still uncertain

Last Updated: Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 13:45

Washington: Archaeologists, who have been digging in Rome’s Palatine Hill, have found the remains of a large house that they believe is the birthplace of the city’s first emperor Augustus in 63 B.C.

Announced at the end of a 10-year excavation, the finding was partly uncovered in 2006, when a team led by Clementina Panella, professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza, unearthed part of a corridor and other fragments of “a very ancient aristocratic house” near the Arch of Titus on the northeastern side of the Palatine.

Extensive excavation in the past five years and historical cross-checks have provided further weight to support the hypothesis that the house belonged to Gaius Octavius, Augustus’s father.

“We have unearthed more than 10 rooms, beautiful mosaic floors and frescoed walls,” Discovery News quoted Panella as saying.

According to tradition, Romulus, the city’s founder, divided the Romans into 30 parts or curiae, which were in turn grouped into three sets of ten that were called tribes.

Mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus as one point in the Palatine pomerium, which according to legend was the original line ploughed by Romulus to mark Rome``s boundaries, the Curiae Veteres were an important gathering place.

The Roman historian and biographer Suetonius reported that Augustus was born on 23rd September, 63 BC, “in the region of the Palatine called Ad Capita Bubula”, which several scholars believe indicated a place in the Curiae Veteres.

“Augustus could have even made up his birth in the Curiae Veteres. He might have badly wanted to be born in that place as it was strongly symbolic. It represented Romulus’ founding and Augustus’ re-founding of Rome,” Panella said.

Born Gaius Octavius in 63 B.C., the future emperor was named adoptive son and heir of his great-uncle Julius Caesar when he was 18 years old, and after the civil wars that followed Caesar’s assassination, Octavius was made emperor in 29 B.C., taking the name Augustus.


First Published: Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 13:45

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