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A palace is an important house, usually a townhouse, of a royal or noble family; later, and by extension, the executive residence of a nation.
The word palace to describe a royal residence comes from the name of one of the seven hills of Rome, the Palatine Hill. The Palatine was according to tradition where Romulus and Remus founded Rome, and long after the city grew to the seven hills the Palatine remained a desirable residential area. Augustus Caesar lived there in a purposefully modest house only set apart from his neighbors by the two laurel trees planted to flank the front door as a sign of triumph granted by the Senate. His descendants, however, enlarged the house and grounds over and over until it took up the hill top. The word Palatium came to mean the residence of the emperor rather than the neighborhood on top of the hill.
Many extant palaces have been transformed for other uses, such as parliaments or museums.
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