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 Feb 11 '13 at 22:56
  • 1
    The Book of Revelation also used the term seven hills. Revelation 17:9 – Mawia Feb 12 '13 at 5:12
  • youtube.com/watch?v=xNCMaa6r5oY – user Feb 28 '13 at 22:55

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 Feb 12 '13 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 – tunmise fashipe Feb 13 '13 at 15:23

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.


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... – Affable Geek Mar 25 '14 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 – WelcomeNewUsers Mar 26 '14 at 0:56

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