Reading through St. Malachy's Popes Prophecy, I couldn't understand a particular phrase:

Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people

I have been searching the internet for some time now but I have not found any clue. What does the city of seven hills refer to?

  • 3
    The city of seven hills usually refers to Rome, though many other cities fit.
    – Pavel
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 22:56
  • 1
    The Book of Revelation also used the term seven hills. Revelation 17:9
    – Mawia
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 5:12
  • youtube.com/watch?v=xNCMaa6r5oY
    – user
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 22:55
  • Rome's, or Jerusalem's, seven hills were plausible explanations in the past, but in today's "small" world we may have to look a bit broader than that. For example, the world's seven continents could be the mysterious "seven hills" we are searching for. If, so the number of candidates increases, as we try to pinpoint a city that has world dominance now, or alternatively will get world dominance in the future. Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 6:35
  • Not "the sheep"; rather, "his sheep": In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop]. Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge[a] will judge his people. The End.
    – DDS
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 1:39

3 Answers 3


The Latin phrase civitas septicollis, or "seven-hilled city," is an allusion to Rome. According to Joseph Lomas Towers in his Elucidiations of Prophecy, Ch. XIII, p. 199,

Rome was as well known by its situation on seven hills or montes, as by the name of Rome itself; Urbs septicollis was never mistaken for any other city, Roman authors have so fully determined the sense of it.

The seven hills are:

  • Aventine Hill (Latin, Aventinus; Italian, Aventino)
  • Caelian Hill (Caelius, Celio)
  • Capitoline Hill (Capitolium, Campidoglio)
  • Esquiline Hill (Esquilinus, Esquilino)
  • Palatine Hill (Palatinus, Palatino)
  • Quirinal Hill (Quirinalis, Quirinale)
  • Viminal Hill (Viminalis, Viminale)

Map of the city showing the seven hills

According to Wikipedia,

"The Seven Hills of Rome (Italian: Sette colli di Roma) east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the ancient city."

In his Carmen Sæculare, the Roman poet Horace wrote,

When Sybilline verses have issued their warning
To innocent boys, and the virgins we’ve chosen,
To sing out their song to the gods, who have shown their
Love for the Seven Hills (septem...colles).
O kindly Sun, in your shining chariot, who
Herald the day, then hide it, to be born again
New yet the same, you will never know anything
Mightier than Rome!

Christopher Wordsworth, in his Union with Rome, Ch. I, pp. 3-4, also lists several other Roman authors who refer to Rome in a similar manner.

On another note, I was examining the Latin which states,

Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit po pulum suum. Finis.

While the verb pascet, a conjugation of pasco, can mean to feed an animal (like sheep; cp. Vulgate of John 21:16), it can also mean "to lay waste, ravage" (cp. Vulgate of Mic. 5:6; Lewis & Short, I. II. 2.).

Therefore, this Peter the Roman may not be the one "feeding" or nourishing the sheep, but the one persecuting the sheep. Just something to consider.

  • "persecuting the sheep" ? Oh my, that will be a terrible time if this prophecy is true.
    – Mawia
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 5:09
  • I found out that are other city claimed to be built on seven hills. Jerusalem, Byzantime, ... are one of those but most sources point to Rome Commented Feb 13, 2013 at 15:23

What is the "city of seven hills" in St. Malachy's Popes Prophecy?

The problem with prophecies in general is that it is almost impossible to know the correct interpretation(s) to them until the actual time of fulfillment is upon us. The Prophecies of the Popes is no exception.

The original Latin text of this particular prophecy does not name the city of Rome as being the city of seven hills. Its interpretation as to which city is the actual one is still an open question.

Nevertheless it is almost safe to believe that it may be one of the three following seven-hilled cities: Rome, Constantinople (Istanbul) or Jerusalem. Given the very eschatological nature of this prophecy, Jerusalem could very well be the city in question.

Seven hills of Rome

Seven Hills of Rome

Seven hills of Constantinople

Seven Hills of Constantinople

Seven hills of Jerusalem

Seven Hills of Jerusalem

For further information see my post to this question: Why is Rome referred to as Babylon in Revelation chapters 17 and 18?


Bamberg Bavaria, what better area than in the central part of Europe, Bamberg is also known as the Franconian Rome. It sits on 7 hills with a church on each hill. In order to control the world a better place could not be found. There is even speculation that the Antichrist will come from Germany.

  • Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. This is a good and interesting answer, although it would helpful to make explicit the fact that both cities lay claim, and that Benedict, being from Germany, might or might not fit the bill... Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 20:52
  • It sounds like you crack the code but please be kind to provide some evidence. Should I just take your word for it? :) :) Welcome to C.SE Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 0:56

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