In a certain sense, the above developments were inevitable. After all, building materials will change and real-estate laws usually don’t. So, for example, property on hills is still at a premium–just like property that boasts location. “The Palatine Hill was ‘the place to be’?” you ask. Absolutely! For two reasons in ancient Romans’ minds. First, it was the old village center where founding father Romulus had lived. Second, it overlooked the Roman Forum, which had become Rome’s bustling downtown. How much more status and location could you ask for?
At least, trust Octavian! He knew status and location when he saw them. And he too bought property on the Palatine Hill. Soon afterwards, he consolidated his position as sole ruler of Rome, became emperor, and rebuilt the home he bought. When he died, his successor Tiberius inherited that home. But Tiberius wasn’t fond of his step-father. And he certainly didn’t feel like living in his home. So, he bought property on the prestigious Palatine to build a home of his own. Although his successor Caligula inherited two homes from his emperor relatives, he continued the trend. That is, he bought more property and built a new residence. And so on! Until the first century A.D., when the Palatine Hill was wall-to-wall imperial mansions. In fact, you can see the sprawl of those ruined mansions from the Aventine Hill (in the picture).