Romulus and Remus: The Founders of Rome

Romulus and Remus: The Founders of Rome - Rome WikiRomulus and Remus: The Founders of Rome - Rome WikiRomulus and Remus: The Founders of Rome - Rome WikiRomulus and Remus: The Founders of Rome - Rome Wiki

Romulus And Remus
Romulus and Remus Romulus and Remus


Life Before Rome:

In the beginning, Romulus and Remus grandfather, Numitor and his brother Amulius, descendants of fugitives from Troy, received the throne of Alba Longa upon their father's death. Numitor received the sovereign powers as his birthright while Amulius received the royal treasury, including the gold Aeneas brought with him from Troy.
Because Amulius held the treasury, thus having more power then his brother, he dethroned Numitor as the rightful king. Out of fear of Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, would produce children who one day would overthrow him as king, he forced Rhea to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess sworn to abstinence. But Mars, god of war, was smitten by her and secretly while she slept bore her two sons. They were twin boys, of remarkable size and beauty, and later named Romulus and Remus. Amulius was enraged and ordered Rhea and the twins killed. He had Rhea buried alive (the standard punishment for Vestal Virgins who violated their vow of celibacy).
The servant ordered to kill the twins could not, however, because they were too beautiful and innocent, the servant placed the two in a basket and laid the basket on the banks of the Tiber River and went away. The river, which was in flood, rose and gently carried the basket and the twins downstream.
Romulus and Remus were kept safe by the river deity Tiberinus, who made the cradle catch in the roots of a fig tree growing in the Velabrum swamp, which therefore, has a high symbolic significance. The river deity then brought the infant twins up onto the Palatine Hills. There, they were nursed by a wolf, Lupa. Lupa is a name for the priestesses of a fox goddess. This animal was sacred to Mars.
Romulus and Remus were then discovered by Faustulus, a shepherd for Amulius, who brought the children to his home. Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia, raised the boys as their own.
When they grew up, they were manly and high-spirited, of invincible courage and daring. Romulus, however, was thought the wiser and more politic of the two, and in his discussions with the neighbors about pasture and hunting, gave them opportunities of noting that his disposition was one which led him to command rather then obey.
On account of these qualities, they were beloved by their equals and the poor, but they despised the king's officers and bailiffs as being no braver then they were, and cared neither for their anger nor their threats. They led the lives and followed the pursuits of nobly born men, not valuing sloth and idleness, but exercise and hunting, defending the land against brigands, capturing plunderers, and avenging those who had suffered wrong. Thus they became famous throughout Latium.
One day when Romulus and Remus were 18 years old, a quarrel occurred between the shepherds of Numitor and the shepherds of Amulius. Some of Numitor's shepherds drove off many of Amulius cattle, causing Amulius's men to become enraged. Romulus and Remus gathered the shepherds together, found and killed Numitor's shepherds, and recovered the lost cattle. To the displeasure of Numitor, Romulus and Remus collected and took into their company many needy men and slaves of Numitor, exhibiting seditious boldness and temper.
While Romulus was engaged in some sacrifice, as he was fond of sacrifices and deities, some of Numitor's shepherds attacked Remus and some of his friends and a battle broke out. After both sides took many wounds, Numitor's shepherds prevailed and took Remus as their prisoner and returned him to Numitor for punishment. Numitor did not punish Remus, because he was in fear of Amulius, but went to Amulius and asked for justice, since he was his brother, and he had been insulted by the royal servants. Amulius decided to hand Remus over to Numitor to treat him as he saw fit.
When Numitor took Remus to his home for punishment, he was amazed at the young man's superiority in stature and strength of body. After hearing of his acts and deeds and of his noble virtues, Numitor asked Remus of his birth and who he really was. When Remus told him that they had been found and nursed by a wolf on the banks of the Tiber river, and conjecturing Remus's age from his looks, he began to think of the possibility that Remus was Rhea's son.
Upon Romulus's return from his sacrifices, Faustulus told Romulus that Remus had been captured and told him to go to his brother's aid. Romulus left Faustulus and set out to levy an army to march against Alba Longa. Faustulus took the cradle in which he had found Romulus and Remus and quickly ran to Alba Longa. When Faustulus reached the gates to the city, the guards stopped him. By chance, one of the guards had been the servant who had taken the boys to the river. This man, upon seeing the cradle, and recognizing it, knew that Faustulus spoke the truth, and without any delay told the matter to Amulius, and brought the man before him to be examined. He admitted that Romulus and Remus were alive and well, but said they lived at a distance from Alba Longa as herdsmen.
Acting out of fear and rage, Amulius quickly sent a friend of Numitor's to see if he had heard any report of the twins being alive. As soon as the man entered Numitor's house, he found Numitor embracing Remus, thus confirming that Remus was Numitor's grandson. He then advised Numitor and Remus to act quickly, for Romulus was marching on the city with an army of those who hated and feared Amulius. Remus acted quickly and incited the citizens within the city to revolt, and at the same time Romulus attacked from without. Amulius, without taking a single step or making any plan for his own safety, out of sheer confusion, was taken to be put to death.

The Founding of Rome:

With Amulius dead, the city settled down and offered Romulus and Remus the joint crown. However, the twins refused to be the kings so long that their grandfather was still alive and would not live in the city as subjects. Thus after restoring the kingship to Numitor and properly honoring their mother Rhea Silvia, the two left Alba Longa to found their own city upon the slopes of the Palatine Hill. Before they left Alba Longa, they took with them fugitives, runaway slaves, and all others who wanted a second chance at life.
Once Romulus and Remus arrived at the Palatine Hill, the two argued over where the exact position of the city should be. Romulus was set on building the city upon the Palatine, but Remus wanted to build the city on the strategic and easily fortified Aventine Hill. They agreed to settle their argument by testing their abilities as augurs and by the will of the deities. Each took a seat on the ground apart from one another, Remus then saw 6 vultures (which considered to be sacred to Mars), while Romulus saw 12 vultures.
Remus was enraged by Romulus's victory. He claimed that since he had seen his 6 vultures first, he should have won. When Romulus began building a wall where his city's boundary was to run on April 21st, 753BC, Remus ridiculed some parts of the work, and obstructed others. At last, Remus leaped across the wall, an omen of bad luck, since this implied that the city fortifications would be easily breached. Most say that when Remus leaped over the new wall, Romulus became enraged, and killed his own brother for it. Romulus buried Remus before continuing to build his city. He named the city Roma (latin for Rome) after himself and served as its first king.

After the completion of the city, Romulus divided the people of Rome who were able to fight into regiments of 3000 infantry and 300 cavalry. Romulus called these regiments "legions". The rest of the people became the populace of the city, and out of the populace, Romulus hand selected 100 of the most noble men to serve as a council for the city. He called these men Patricians and their council the Roman Senate. Romulus called these noble men Patricians not only because they were the fathers of legitimate sons, but also because he intended the great and the wealthy to treat the weak and the poor as fathers treat their sons.
Romulus spread the reputation of Rome as an asylum to all who desired a new life. Rome's population grew so much that the city settled five of the seven hills of Rome: the Capitoline Hill, the Aventine Hill, the Caelian Hill, the Quirinal Hill, and the Palatine Hill.

The Death of Romulus:

According to legend, Romulus life ended in the 38th year of his reign, with a supernatural disappearance, if he was not slain by the Senate. One day, when Romulus and all the people had gone to the Campus Martius, a sudden storm arose. The darkness became so great that the people fled in terror. When the storm was over, the Romans returned. To their surprise, however, Romulus had disappeared. The people sent for him, but none could find him. The people were amazed, and were all talking about his sudden disappearance, and wondering what could have become of their king, when one of the Senators stood up and called for silence.
After the Senator calmed the mass of people, he told the assembled Romans that he had seen Romulus being carried up into the heavens. Romulus, the Senator said, had called out that he was going to live with the deities, and wished his people to worship him as the god Quirinus. In response, the Romans built a temple on the hill where the Senator said that Romulus had risen to heaven. This hill was called the Quirinal Hill in Romulus' honor, and for many years the Romans worshipped Romulus, the founder of their city, and their first king from that very spot.

Romulus is Rome

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