The seven hills:

  1. Aventine
  2. Caelian
  3. Capitoline
  4. Esquiline
  5. Palatine
  6. Quirinal
  7. Viminal
on and about which the ancient city of Rome was built.

The standard mnemonic device is "Poor Queen Victoria eats crow at Christmas."

Avoid calling captains Esquire, placate quite vehemently.

This is a mnemonic of my own invention for the seven hills of Rome, viz the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal. It has the advantage of keeping them in alphabetical order and giving a stronger resemblance to each word, rather than puzzling over what C stands for, as some of them are not very familiar names.

Note that neither the Vatican nor the Lateran are among the original seven.

Seven-hilledness (or septimontaneity if I may briefly make shit up) seems to be quite popular in the world. The English port city of Bristol is said to be on seven hills, though I've never heard them enumerated, and I've also heard it said of one other city*. I don't think six- or eight-hilled cities would go down as well, because of the original resonance of Rome.

Alas, our classicist evilrooster tells me that even in ancient days different lists were circulating. There were at least four variants. Some include the Oppian.

One includes the Subura, which wasn't a hill at all. It was the red light district, or whatever the Roman semiotic equivalent was, in the valley between the Quirinal and the Viminal.

Another hill that definitely wasn't original is the Mons Testaceus, built up over the ages like a Near Eastern tell from potsherds thrown out of warehouses in the dock district.

* Edinburgh - thanks again, evilrooster.

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