Appendix: The Ritual of the Seven Hills

An ancient ritual developed by the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, the Ritual of the Seven Hills is an enchantment, an invocation and a supplication to the gods. Legendarily, it was performed by the twins shortly before their ultimately fatal squabble about which of the setti colli to begin the city upon. Emerging triumphant from their dispute, Romulus guided the foundation of the city that bears his name based on the principles he and Remus had created the ritual for.

The seven hills of Rome – the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal hills – became the foundation of the mightiest empire the world had ever seen. And as such, the ritual – or, more often, various fragmentary translations of it – became highly sought after among those who desired power either mystical or temporal. It is known to have been performed around groups of seven hills in several cities, notably Moscow, Lisbon, Istanbul (or Byzantium, as it was at that time), Cincinatti, Tirumala, Sydney, Bergen and Melbourne.

The ritual is, fittingly, a sevenfold one: it consists of seven smaller rituals, one for each of the hills. Each of these rituals must be performed on the relevant hilltop, which must be named and claimed in the ritual, at the appropriate time and season, and of course, the rituals must be performed in the correct sequence. The sequence runs as follows: Venturing, Obstacles, the Natural World, the Man Made World, Peace, War and Completion. Each of these hills in Melbourne has a name that derives from its ritual. It should be noted that although there are other places in Melbourne named for hills, they were named independently of this ritual: Princes Hill, Box Hill and Surrey Hills.

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