Oppian Hill

The Oppian Hill,
a hill of Rome
In Latin / Italian Oppius mons /
Colle Oppio
Rione Esquilino
People Oppius

The Oppian Hill (Latin, Oppius Mons; Italian: Colle Oppio) is the southern spur of the Esquiline Hill (Varro, LL V.50), one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome. It is separated from the Cispius on the north by the valley of the Subura, and from the Caelian Hill on the south by the valley of the Colosseum. The Oppius and the Cispius together form the Esquiline plateau just inside the line of the Servian Wall.

In the divisions of the Septimontium (seven hills – Fest. 341, 348) Fagutal appears as an independent locality, from which we can infer that originally "Oppius" was strictly applied to this spur except the western end (HJ 254–257; Mon. L. XV.782–785). The northern tip of this western end was also called Carinae, which extended between the Velian Hill and the Clivus Pullius, looked out to the southwest (across the swamps of the Palus Ceroliae towards the Aventine), incorporated the Fagutal and was one of ancient Rome's most exclusive neighborhoods.

At least for religious purposes the name Oppius continued in use to the end of the republic (CIL i2.1003 = vi.32455 — for this inscription, which mentions the Montani montis Oppi, cf. also Pagus Montanus; BC 1887, 156; Mitt. 1889, 278; DE II.2159‑61); no later instance has been found.

According to Varro (Fest. 348) its name derives from Oppius, a citizen of Tusculum who came to the Romans' assistance during Tullus Hostilius's siege of Veii. However, the word's true etymology is obscure. It may possibly be that of a clan that lived in this area (Jord. I.1.183–188) – it is noteworthy that it is a gens name of plebeian status. Detlefsen's conjecture (Bull. d. Inst. 1861, 18) that Oppius is derived from Oppidus was revived by Pinza (Mon. L. XV.782), who regards the name as comparatively late.

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