Ponte Sublicio
The origin of the name Aventinus has been object of debate since antiquity. Already in Roman times, writers suggested several etymological explanations. According to a passage in Virgil's Aeneid, the "handsome Aventinus" was the son of mythological hero Hercules; according to ancient writer Varro, he was a king from Alba Longa.
Alternatively, its name would derive from the well-known geographic characteristics of the hill: Aventinus from ab advenctu, i.e. "separated" from the surrounding marshes; or ab avibus, because birds flew towards it from the river.
The geographic distinction between the Aventine proper – the summit of the hill between the Tiber to the west and the Circus Maximus to the north – and the "Smaller Aventine" – corresponding to the rise located in the area of modern-day San Saba – was acknowledged by most in antiquity. Starting from the Republican period, however, the name Aventinus was also used informally as a collective place-name for both areas. In AD 7, when Augustus subdivided the territory of Rome in administrative regions, the two areas fell under different jurisdictions: the summit of the hill (the Aventine proper) constituted the 13th Region; the lower Aventine was included in the territories of the 12th Region.
The Aventine hill is the southernmost mount of Rome. It declines steeply into the Tiber, south of the Tiberine island, where the river is narrower and easily wadable or crossable by boat. Since early on, the plain had a key role in the history of the city and had constant and direct influence on the topographic evolution of the Aventine.
The Aventine's natural features also influenced the character of the first settlements and their later urbanization. According to ancient sources, the hill was covered by thick woods and patches of pasture land, populated by many birds but scarcely inhabited by humans. Because of its natural characteristics and the marshes that surrounded it, the Aventine hill remained for long an isolated and impervious place. It is known that a grove of laurel trees (Loretum/Lauretum) was located here in antiquity, and it continued to be a significant landmark well into the Imperial period, when two important neighborhoods (vici) were named after it: vicus Loreti maioris and vicus Loreti minoris.
Thus, at different stages, the natural features and the topography affected the development of the Aventine hill, which was first destined to agriculture, and later transformed into a mercantile quarter connected to the nearby river port.

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