Romulus and Remus - The Legend of Rome

In Roman mythology, the story of Romulus and Remus tells how the ancient city of Rome was founded. The larger than life-sized bronze statue of the she-wolf suckling the twins, La Lupa Capitolina, has since become a symbol of Rome and is now one of the most recognisable icons of ancient mythology. There are many many replicas around the world, but the original sculpture is housed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Campidoglio (one of the seven hills of Rome), Rome, Italy.

As legend has it, Romulus and Remus were twin boys born to the princess Rhea Silvia and Mars, the fierce Roman god of war. Seeing the possible potential threat to his rule, the king ordered the boys to be killed, leaving them abandoned on the band of the River Tiber to die. The twins were found by a she-wolf, who cared for and protected them until they were found and adopted by Faustulus, a shepherd.

They grew up unaware of their true identity, tending to flocks. As they grew older, the boys became natural leaders. One day Remus was taken prisoner and brought to the king. His true identity was suspected by the king, all while Romulus was gathering shepherds to help rescue his brother. During this time they also learnt of their past and joined forces with their grandfather to overthrow the king. When the city learned who the boys were, they were offered to crown them as joint kings. However, they turned down the crowns in order to found their own city.

After returning back int he area of the seven hills, they disagreed about the hill upon which to build. Romulus preferred the Palatine Hill, whereas Remus preferred the Aventine Hill. When they could not settle the debate, they agreed to wait for a sign from the gods. Remus first saw 6 vultures, but soon after, Romulus saw 12, hence claiming to have won divine approval. Romulus went ahead and begun building a wall around Palantine Hill, However Remus was jealous and began to ridicule Romulus' wall. At one point Remus jumped over the wall to show how easy it was to cross. The new dispute furthered contention between them. In the aftermath, Remus was killed by Romulus.

With Remus dead, Romulus continued to work on his city. The city was officially founded on April 21, 753 BC. Naming it Rome, after himself, he reigned for many years as its first king, founding its institutions, government, military and religious traditions.

There are many different versions of this story, one version lists the father or the boys as the hero Hercules, another states that Romulus died after mysteriously disappearing in a whirlwind. In a version written by the poet Ovid, Romulus was turned into a god named Quirinus, and went to live on Mount Olympus with his father.


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