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Romulus was the legendary
founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida Arts, entertainment, and media * Founders (''Star Trek''), the alien ...
and first king of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The territo ...
. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes. They include material ...
, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the mythical Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.


Traditional account

The myths concerning Romulus involve several distinct episodes and figures: the miraculous birth and youth of Romulus and Remus, his twin brother; Remus' murder and the founding of Rome;
the Rape of the Sabine Women The Rape of the Sabine Women (), also known as the Abduction of the Sabine Women or the Kidnapping of the Sabine Women, was an incident in Roman mythology in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from the other cities i ...
; the war with the
Sabines The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; grc, Σαβῖνοι ''Sabĩnoi''; it, Sabini, all exonyms) were an Italic people that lived in the central Apennine Mountains of the ancient Italian Peninsula, also inhabiting Latium north of the Anio before the found ...
;
Titus Tatius 300px, ''The Intervention of the Sabine Women'', by Jacques-Louis_David">The_Intervention_of_the_Sabine_Women'',_by_Jacques-Louis_David,_depicts_Titus_Tatius_at_the_left. According_to_the_Foundation_of_Rome.html" style="text-decoration: none;"cla ...
; the establishment of Roman institutions; and the death or apotheosis of Romulus, and succession of Numa Pompilius.


Romulus and Remus

Romulus and his twin brother Remus were the sons of
Rhea Silvia Rhea (or Rea) Silvia (), also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of ''Ab Urbe Condita Libri'' of Livy and in Cassius Dio's ''Roman History''. Th ...
(the daughter of
Numitor In Roman mythology, King Numitor () of Alba Longa, was the maternal grandfather of Rome's founder and first king, Romulus, and his twin brother Remus. He was the son of Procas, descendant of Aeneas the Trojan, and father of the twins' mother, Rhea ...
, the former king of
Alba Longa Alba Longa (occasionally written Albalonga in Italian sources) was an ancient Latin city in Central Italy, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Rome, in the vicinity of Lake Albano in the Alban Hills. Founder and head of the Latin League, it was de ...
) and the god
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the "Red Planet". The latter refe ...
. Through her, the twins are descended from the Trojan hero
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of ...
and
Latinus Latinus ( la, Latinus; grc, Λατῖνος) was a figure in both Greek and Roman mythology. He is often associated with the heroes of the Trojan War, namely Odysseus and Aeneas. Although his appearance in the ''Aeneid'' is irreconcilable with h ...

Latinus
, the mythical founder of the kingdom of
Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Latium vetus) on whi ...
. Before the twins' birth, Numitor had been usurped by his brother,
Amulius In Roman mythology, Amulius was king of Alba Longa who ordered the death of his infant, twin grandnephews Romulus, the eventual founder and king of Rome, and Remus. He was deposed and killed by them after they survived and grew to adulthood. He i ...
. After seizing the throne, Amulius murdered Numitor's son, and condemned Rhea to perpetual virginity by consecrating her a Vestal.
Livy Titus Livius''Titus'' is the praenomen (the personal name); ''Livius'' is the nomen (the ''gentile'' name, i.e. "belonging to the gens Livia"). Therefore, Titus Livius did not have a cognomen (third name, i.e. family name), which was not unusual ...
, ''
History of Rome The history of Rome includes the history of the city of Rome as well as the civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the history of the Catholic Church, and Roman law has influenced many ...
'' i. 3.
Rhea, however, became pregnant, said to be by the god
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the "Red Planet". The latter refe ...
. Amulius had her imprisoned and, upon the twins' birth, ordered that they be thrown to their death into the rain-swollen
Tiber Rome flood marker, 1598, set into a pillar of the Santo Spirito Hospital near Basilica di San Pietro The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains ...

Tiber
. Instead of carrying out the king's orders, his servants left the twins along the riverbank at the foot of
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." The sit ...
. In the traditional account of the legend, a she-wolf happened upon the twins, who were at the foot of a fig tree. She suckled and tended them by a cave until they were found by the herdsman
Faustulus In Roman mythology, Faustulus was the shepherd who found the infant Romulus (the future founder of the city of Rome) and his twin brother Remus along the banks of the Tiber River as they were being suckled by the she-wolf, Lupa. According to legend, ...
and his wife,
Acca Larentia Acca Larentia or Acca Larentina was a mythical woman, later goddess of fertility, in Roman mythology whose festival, the Larentalia, was celebrated on December 23. Myths Foster mother In one mythological tradition (that of Lic ...
. The brothers grew to manhood among the shepherds and hill-folk. After becoming involved in a conflict between the followers of Amulius and those of their grandfather Numitor, they learned the truth of their origin. They overthrew and killed Amulius and restored Numitor to the throne.Livy, i. 3–6. The princes set out to establish a city of their own. They returned to the , the site where they had been exposed as infants. They could not agree on which hill should house the new city. When an omen to resolve the controversy failed to provide a clear indication, the conflict escalated and Romulus or one of his followers killed Remus. In a variant of the legend, the augurs favoured Romulus, who proceeded to plough a square furrow around the Palatine Hill to demarcate the walls of the future city. When Remus derisively leapt over the "walls" to show how inadequate they were against invaders, Romulus struck him down in anger. In another variant, Remus died during a melée, along with Faustulus.


Establishment of the city

The founding of the city by Romulus was commemorated annually on April 21, with the festival of the
Pariliaupright=1.5, ''Festa di Pales, o L'estate'' (1783), a reimagining of the Festival of Pales by Joseph-Benoît Suvée The Parilia is an ancient Roman festival of rural character performed annually on 21 April, aimed at cleansing both sheep and shepherd ...
. Romulus's first act was to fortify the Palatine, in the course of which he made a sacrifice to the gods. He laid out the city's boundaries with a furrow that he ploughed, performed another sacrifice, and with his followers set to work building the city itself. Romulus sought the assent of the people to become their king. With Numitor's help, he addressed them and received their approval. Romulus accepted the crown after he sacrificed and prayed to
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is the th ...
, and after receiving favourable omens. Romulus divided the populace into three
tribes The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understan ...
, known as the ''Ramnes'', ''Titienses'', and ''Luceres'', for taxation and military purposes. Each tribe was presided over by an official known as a
tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome. The two most important were the tribunes of the plebs and the military tribunes. For most of Roman history, a college of ten tribunes of the plebs acted as a check on the a ...
, and was further divided into ten
curia Curia (Latin plural curiae) in ancient Rome referred to one of the original groupings of the citizenry, eventually numbering 30, and later every Roman citizen was presumed to belong to one. While they originally likely had wider powers, they came to ...
, or wards, each presided over by an official known as a ''curio''. Romulus also allotted a portion of land to each ward, for the benefit of the people. Nothing is known of the manner in which the tribes and curiae were taxed, but for the military levy, each curia was responsible for providing one hundred foot soldiers, a unit known as a ''century'', and ten cavalry. Each Romulean tribe thus provided about one thousand infantry, and one century of cavalry; the three hundred cavalry became known as the
Celeres__NoToC__ The celeres were the bodyguard of the Kings of Rome. Traditionally established by Romulus, the legendary founder and first King of Rome, the celeres comprised three hundred men, ten chosen by each of the curiae.Livy, i. 15. The celeres w ...
, "the swift", and formed the royal bodyguard. Choosing one hundred men from the leading families, Romulus established the
Roman senate#REDIRECT Roman Senate#REDIRECT Roman Senate {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. These men he called ''patres'', the city fathers; their descendants came to be known as "
patricians The patricians (from la, patricius) were originally a group of ruling class families in ancient Rome. The distinction was highly significant in the Roman Kingdom, and the early Republic, but its relevance waned after the Conflict of the Orders (49 ...
", forming one of the two major social classes at Rome. The other class, known as the "
plebs The plebeians, also called plebs, were, in ancient Rome, the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census, or in other words "commoners". The precise origins of the group and the term are unclear, thou ...
" or "plebeians", consisted of the servants, freedmen, fugitives who sought asylum at Rome, those captured in war, and others who were granted Roman citizenship over time.Livy, i. 9. To encourage the growth of the city, Romulus outlawed infanticide, and established an asylum for fugitives on the
Capitoline Hill and the Servian Wall The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Roman Forum, Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known as ''Mons Saturnius'', d ...
. Here freemen and slaves alike could claim protection and seek Roman citizenship.


Rape of the Sabine Women

The new city was filled with colonists, most of whom were young, unmarried men. While fugitives seeking asylum helped the population grow, single men greatly outnumbered women. With no intermarriage taking place between Rome and neighboring communities, the new city would eventually fail. Romulus sent envoys to neighboring towns, appealing to them to allow intermarriage with Roman citizens, but his overtures were rebuffed. Romulus formulated a plan to acquire women from other settlements. He announced a momentous festival and games, and invited the people of the neighboring cities to attend. Many did, in particular the
Sabines The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; grc, Σαβῖνοι ''Sabĩnoi''; it, Sabini, all exonyms) were an Italic people that lived in the central Apennine Mountains of the ancient Italian Peninsula, also inhabiting Latium north of the Anio before the found ...
, who came in droves. At a prearranged signal, the Romans began to snatch and carry off the marriageable women among their guests. The aggrieved cities prepared for war with Rome, and might have defeated Romulus had they been fully united. But impatient with the preparations of the Sabines, the Latin towns of Caenina,
CrustumeriumCrustumerium (or Crustumium) was an ancient town of Latium, on the edge of the Sabine territory, near the headwaters of the Allia, not far from the Tiber. In the legends concerning Rome's early history, the Crustumini were amongst the peoples which ...
, and
AntemnaeAntemnae was a town and Roman colony of ancient Latium in Italy. It was situated two miles north of ancient Rome on a hill (now Monte Antenne) commanding the confluence of the Aniene and the Tiber. It lay west of the later Via Salaria and now lies wi ...
took action without their allies. Caenina was the first to attack; its army was swiftly put to flight, and the town taken. After personally defeating and slaying the prince of Caenina in single combat, Romulus stripped him of his armour, becoming the first to claim the
spolia opima The ''spolia opima'' ("rich spoils") were the armour, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat. The ''spolia opima'' were regarded as the most honourable of the s ...
, and vowed a temple to
Jupiter Feretrius Feretrius is one of the titles of the Roman god Jupiter. In this capacity Jupiter was called upon to witness the signing of contracts and marriages. An oath was taken that called upon Jupiter to strike the person down if they swore the oath falsely. ...
. Antemnae and Crustumerium were conquered in turn. Some of their people, chiefly the families of the abducted women, were allowed to settle at Rome. Following the defeat of the Latin towns, the Sabines, under the leadership of
Titus Tatius 300px, ''The Intervention of the Sabine Women'', by Jacques-Louis_David">The_Intervention_of_the_Sabine_Women'',_by_Jacques-Louis_David,_depicts_Titus_Tatius_at_the_left. According_to_the_Foundation_of_Rome.html" style="text-decoration: none;"cla ...
, marshalled their forces and advanced upon Rome. They gained control of the citadel by bribing
Tarpeia In Roman mythology, Tarpeia (), daughter of the Roman commander Spurius Tarpeius, was a Vestal virgin who betrayed the city of Rome to the Sabines at the time of their women's abduction for what she thought would be a reward of jewelry. She was ...

Tarpeia
, the daughter of the Roman commander charged with its defense. Without the advantage of the citadel, the Romans were obliged to meet the Sabines on the battlefield. The Sabines advanced from the citadel, and fierce fighting ensued. The nearby
Lacus Curtius The Lacus Curtius ("Lake of Curtius")Lacus Curtius
''
is said to be named after Mettius Curtius, a Sabine warrior who plunged his horse into its muck to stymie his Roman pursuers as he retreated. At a critical juncture in the fighting, the Romans began to waver in the face of the Sabine advance. Romulus vowed a temple to Jupiter Stator, to keep his line from breaking. The bloodshed finally ended when the Sabine women interposed themselves between the two armies, pleading on the one hand with their fathers and brothers, and on the other with their husbands, to set aside their arms and come to terms. The leaders of each side met and made peace. They formed one community, to be jointly ruled by Romulus and Tatius.


Subsequent events

The two kings presided over a growing city for a number of years, before Tatius was slain in a riot at
Lavinium Lavinium was a port city of Latium, to the south of Rome, midway between the Tiber river at Ostia and Anzio. The coastline then, as now, was a long strip of beach. Lavinium was on a hill at the southernmost edge of the ''Silva Laurentina'', a den ...
, where he had gone to make a sacrifice. Shortly before, a group of envoys from
Laurentum Laurentum was an ancient Roman city of Latium situated between Ostia and Lavinium, on the west coast of the Italian Peninsula southwest of Rome. Roman writers regarded it as the original capital of Italy, before Lavinium assumed that role after the ...
had complained of their treatment by Tatius' kinsmen, and he had decided the matter against the ambassadors. Romulus resisted calls to avenge the Sabine king's death, instead reaffirming the Roman alliance with Lavinium, and perhaps preventing his city from splintering along ethnic lines. In the years following the death of Tatius, Romulus is said to have conquered the city of
FidenaeFidenae ( grc, Φιδῆναι) was an ancient town of Latium, situated about 8 km north of Rome on the ''Via Salaria'', which ran between Rome and the Tiber. Its inhabitants were known as Fidenates. As the Tiber was the border between Etruria ...
, which, alarmed by the rising power of Rome, had begun raiding Roman territory. The Romans lured the Fidenates into an ambush, and routed their army; as they retreated into their city, the Romans followed before the gates could be shut, and captured the town. The
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
city of
Veii Veii (also Veius; it, Veio) was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the comune of Rome. Many other sites associated with and in th ...
, nine miles up the Tiber from Rome, also raided Roman territory, foreshadowing that city's role as the chief rival to Roman power over the next three centuries. Romulus defeated Veii's army, but found the city too well defended to besiege, and instead ravaged the countryside.


Death and succession

After a reign of thirty-seven years, Romulus is said to have disappeared in a
whirlwind A whirlwind is a weather phenomenon in which a vortex of wind (a vertically oriented rotating column of air) forms due to instabilities and turbulence created by heating and flow (current) gradients. Whirlwinds occur all over the world and in ...
during a sudden and violent storm, as he was reviewing his troops on the
Campus Martius The Campus Martius (Latin for the "Field of Mars", Italian ''Campo Marzio'') was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome. The IV rione of Rome, Campo Marzio, which covers a ...

Campus Martius
. Livy says that Romulus was either murdered by the senators, torn apart out of jealousy, or was raised to heaven by Mars, god of war. Livy believes the last theory regarding the legendary king's death, as it allows the Romans to believe that the gods are on their side, a reason for them to continue expansion under Romulus' name. Romulus acquired a cult following, which later became assimilated with the cult of
Quirinus In Roman mythology and religion, Quirinus ( , ) is an early god of the Roman state. In Augustan Rome, ''Quirinus'' was also an epithet of Janus, as ''Janus Quirinus''. Name Attestations The name of god Quirinus is recorded across Roman sources ...
, perhaps originally the indigenous god of the Sabine population. As the Sabines had not had a king of their own since the death of Titus Tatius, the next king,
Numa Pompilius Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus after a one-year interregnum. He was of Sabine origin, and many of Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attrib ...
, was chosen from among the Sabines. Romulus was buried beneath the steps to the
Curia Julia The Curia Julia ( la, Curia Iulia, links=no, it, Curia Iulia, links=no) is the third named ''curia'', or senate house, in the ancient city of Rome. It was built in 44 BC, when Julius Caesar replaced Faustus Cornelius Sulla's reconstructed Curia Corne ...
, or Senate House, in the
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancien ...
.


Primary sources

Quintus Fabius Pictor Quintus Fabius Pictor (born BC, BC) was the earliest known Roman historian. His history, written in Greek and now mostly lost besides some surviving fragments, was highly influential on ancient writers and certainly participated in introducing Greek ...
is relied upon as a source for
Livy Titus Livius''Titus'' is the praenomen (the personal name); ''Livius'' is the nomen (the ''gentile'' name, i.e. "belonging to the gens Livia"). Therefore, Titus Livius did not have a cognomen (third name, i.e. family name), which was not unusual ...
,
Dionysius The name Dionysius (; el, Διονύσιος ''Dionysios'', "of Dionysus"; la, Dionysius) was common in classical and post-classical times. Etymologically it is a nominalized adjective formed with a -ios suffix from the stem Dionys- of the name of ...
, and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is known primarily for his ''Parallel Lives'', ...

Plutarch
, while other significant sources include
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the thre ...
's ''
Fasti In ancient Rome, the ''fasti'' (Latin plural) were chronological or calendar-based lists, or other diachronic records or plans of official and religiously sanctioned events. After Rome's decline, the word ''fasti'' continued to be used for similar ...
'', and
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 70 BC21 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the ' ...
's ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is ) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in ...
''. Greek historians had traditionally claimed that Rome was founded by Greeks. This account can be dated to the logographer
Hellanicus of Lesbos Hellanicus (or Hellanikos) of Lesbos (Greek: , ''Ἑllánikos ὁ Lésvios''), also called Hellanicus of Mytilene (Greek: , ''Ἑllánikos ὁ Mutilēnaῖos'') was an ancient Greek logographer who flourished during the latter half of the 5th centur ...
of 5th-century BC, who named Aeneas as its founder. To Roman historians, however, Romulus is the founder of Rome and the first "Roman". They connect Romulus to Aeneas by blood and they mention a prior settlement on
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." The sit ...
, sometimes attributing it to
Evander Evander is a masculine given name. It is an anglicization of the Greek name Εὔανδρος (lit. "good man", Latinized ''Evandrus''). It has also been adopted as an anglicization of the Gaelic name Iomhar (the Gaelic variant of the name Ivor). ...
and his Greek colonists. To the Romans, Rome was the institutions and traditions they credit to their legendary founder.


Modern scholarship

The legend as a whole encapsulates Rome's ideas of itself, its origins and moral values. For modern scholarship, it remains one of the most complex and problematic of all foundation myths. Ancient historians had no doubt that Romulus gave his name to the city. Most modern historians believe his name is a
back-formation In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme by removing actual or supposed affixes.Crystal, David. ''A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, Sixth Edition'', Blackwell Publishers, 2008. The resulting neologism is called ...
from the name of the city. Roman historians dated the city's foundation to between 758 and 728 BC, and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is known primarily for his ''Parallel Lives'', ...

Plutarch
reports the calculation of
Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was one of ancient Rome's greatest scholars and a prolific author. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus. Biography Varro was born in or near ...
's friend Tarutius that 771 BC was the birth year of Romulus and his twin. A tradition that gave Romulus a distant ancestor in the semi-divine
Trojan Trojan or Trojans may refer to: * Of or from the ancient city of Troy * Trojan language, the language of the historical Trojans Arts and entertainment Music * ''Les Troyens'' ('The Trojans'), an opera by Berlioz, premiered part 1863, part 1890 * ...
prince
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of ...
was further embellished, and Romulus was made the direct ancestor of Rome's first Imperial dynasty. It is unclear whether or not the tale of Romulus or that of the twins are original elements of the foundation myth, or whether both or either were added.


Romulus-Quirinus

Ennius Quintus Ennius (; c. 239 – c. 169 BC) was a writer and poet who lived during the Roman Republic. He is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was born in Rudiae, formerly a small town located near modern Lecce in the heel of Italy (anci ...
(fl. 180s BC) refers to Romulus as a divinity in his own right, without reference to
Quirinus In Roman mythology and religion, Quirinus ( , ) is an early god of the Roman state. In Augustan Rome, ''Quirinus'' was also an epithet of Janus, as ''Janus Quirinus''. Name Attestations The name of god Quirinus is recorded across Roman sources ...
. Roman mythographers identified the latter as an originally Sabine war-deity, and thus to be identified with Roman
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the "Red Planet". The latter refe ...
.
Lucilius The gens Lucilia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. The most famous member of this gens was the poet Gaius Lucilius, who flourished during the latter part of the second century BC.''Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology'', vol ...
lists Quirinus and Romulus as separate deities, and
Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was one of ancient Rome's greatest scholars and a prolific author. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus. Biography Varro was born in or near ...
accords them different temples. Images of Quirinus showed him as a bearded warrior wielding a spear as a god of war, the embodiment of Roman strength and a deified likeness of the city of Rome. He had a Flamen Maior called the
Flamen Quirinalis In ancient Roman religion, the Flamen Quirinalis was the flamen or high priest of the god Quirinus. He was one of the three ''flamines maiores'', third in order of importance after the Flamen Dialis and the Flamen Martialis. Like the other two high ...
, who oversaw his worship and rituals in the ordainment of Roman religion attributed to Romulus's royal successor,
Numa Pompilius Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus after a one-year interregnum. He was of Sabine origin, and many of Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attrib ...
. There is however no evidence for the conflated Romulus-Quirinus before the 1st century BC.
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the thre ...
in ''
Metamorphoses The ''Metamorphoses'' ( la, Metamorphōseōn librī: "Books of Transformations") is an 8 AD Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his ''magnum opus''. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles th ...
'' XIV
lines 805-828
gives a description of the
deification Apotheosis (, from gr, ἀποθεόω/ἀποθεῶ, label=none, link=no, lit='to deify', transliteration=apotheoo/apotheo; also called divinization and deification from ) is the glorification of a subject to divine level and most commonly, the tre ...

deification
of Romulus and his wife
Hersilia In Roman mythology, Hersilia was a figure in the foundation myth of Rome. She is credited with ending the war between Rome and the Sabines. Battle of the Lacus Curtius In some accounts she is the wife of Romulus, the founder and first King of ...
, who are given the new names of Quirinus and Hora respectively. Mars, the father of Romulus, is given permission by
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is the th ...
to bring his son up to Olympus to live with the Olympians. One theory of this tradition concerns the emergence of two mythical figures from a single, earlier legend. Romulus is a founding hero, Quirinus may have been a god of the harvest, and the Fornacalia was a festival celebrating a staple crop (
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since approximately 5000 BC. Spelt was an important staple food in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. Now ...
). Through the traditional dates from the tales and the festivals, they are each associated with one another. A legend of the murder of such a founding hero, the burying of the hero's body in the fields (found in some accounts), and a festival associated with that hero, a god of the harvest, and a food staple is a pattern recognized by
anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and philosophical anthropology study the norms and val ...
. Called a "''dema'' archetype", this pattern suggests that in a prior tradition, the god and the hero were in fact the same figure and later evolved into two.


Historicity

Possible historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and disputed. Modern scholarship approaches the various known stories of the myth as cumulative elaborations and later interpretations of Roman
foundation myth Foundation may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Games * ''Foundation'', an Amiga video game * ''Foundation'', a 2019 simulation video game by Polymorph Games Literature * ''Foundation'' (b-boy book), by Joseph G. Schloss * ''Foundation'' ...
. Particular versions and collations were presented by Roman historians as authoritative, an official history trimmed of contradictions and untidy variants to justify contemporary developments, genealogies and actions in relation to Roman morality. Other narratives appear to represent popular or folkloric tradition; some of these remain inscrutable in purpose and meaning. T.P. Wiseman sums up the whole issue as the
mythography Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or supernatural humans.Simpson, Jacqueline, and Ste ...
of an unusually problematic foundation and early history.. — A critical, chronological review of historiography related to Rome's origins. The unsavoury elements of many of the myths concerning Romulus have led some scholars to describe them as "shameful" or "disreputable."Cornell, Tim (1995),
The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000–264 BC)
'. London: Routledge, .
In antiquity such stories became part of anti-Roman and anti-pagan propaganda. More recently, the historian Hermann Strasburger postulated that these were never part of authentic Roman tradition, but were invented and popularized by Rome's enemies, probably in
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and ...
, during the latter part of the fourth century BC. This hypothesis is rejected by other scholars, such as Tim Cornell (1995), who notes that by this period, the story of Romulus and Remus had already assumed its standard form, and was widely accepted at Rome. Other elements of the Romulus mythos clearly resemble common elements of folk tale and legend, and thus strong evidence that the stories were both old and indigenous. Likewise, Momigliano finds Strasburger's argument well-developed, but entirely implausible; if the Romulus myths were an exercise in mockery, they were a signal failure. On February 17, 2020, the
Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA; literally "National Associated Press Agency") is the leading wire service in Italy. ANSA is a not-for-profit cooperative, whose members and owners are 36 leading news organizations in Italy. Its missio ...
reported that a
hypogeum A hypogeum or hypogaeum (plural hypogea or hypogaea, pronounced ; literally meaning "underground", from Greek ''hypo'' (under) and ''ghê'' (earth) is an underground temple or tomb. Hypogea will often contain niches for cremated human remain ...
containing a tufa sarcophagus had been discovered near the
Lapis Niger The Lapis Niger (Latin, "Black Stone") is an ancient shrine in the Roman Forum. Together with the associated Vulcanal (a sanctuary to Vulcan) it constitutes the only surviving remnants of the old Comitium, an early assembly area that preceded the ...
in the Roman forum. The tomb was dated to the sixth century BC, and was found together with the apparent remains of an altar dedicated to Romulus, placed in the spot where Romulus was thought to have been buried.Associated Press (2020),
Sarcophagus dedicated to Romulus discovered in Roman forum
" ''Phys.org''. February 18.


Depictions in art

The episodes which make up the legend, most significantly that of
the rape of the Sabine women The Rape of the Sabine Women (), also known as the Abduction of the Sabine Women or the Kidnapping of the Sabine Women, was an incident in Roman mythology in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from the other cities i ...
, the tale of
Tarpeia In Roman mythology, Tarpeia (), daughter of the Roman commander Spurius Tarpeius, was a Vestal virgin who betrayed the city of Rome to the Sabines at the time of their women's abduction for what she thought would be a reward of jewelry. She was ...

Tarpeia
, and the death of Tatius have been a significant part of ancient Roman scholarship and the frequent subject of art, literature and philosophy since ancient times.


Palazzo Magnani

In the late 16th century, the wealthy Magnani family from Bologna commissioned a series of artworks based on the Roman foundation myth. The artists contributing works included a sculpture of Hercules with the infant twins by Gabriele Fiorini, featuring the patron's own face. The most important works were an elaborate series of frescoes collectively known as ''Histories of the Foundation of Rome'' by the Brothers Carracci:
Ludovico Ludovico () is an Italian masculine given name. It is sometimes spelled Lodovico. The feminine equivalent is Ludovica. Persons with the name Ludovico Given name * Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533), Italian poet * Ludovico Avio (1932–1996), Argent ...
,
AnnibaleAnnibale is the Italian masculine given name and surname equivalent to Hannibal (q.v.). In English, it may refer to : Given name * Annibale Albani (1682–1751), Italian cardinal * Annibale I Bentivoglio, (died 1445), ruler of Bologna from 1443 * A ...
, and Agostino. File:Romolo traccia con l'aratro il confine della città di Roma.png, Romulus marking the city's boundaries with a plough File:L'asilo per i profughi sul Campidoglio.png, The Asylum (Inter duos Lucos) File:Il ratto delle Sabine.png, The rape of the Sabine women File:Romolo dedica a Giove Feretrio le spoglie del re Acrone.jpg, Romulus dedicating the temple to Jupiter Feretrius File:Battaglia tra Romani e Sabini.png, The Battle of the Lacus Curtius File:Tito Tazio ucciso dai Laurenti.png, The death of Titus Tatius in Laurentium File:Carracci, Romolo appare a Proculo, Palazzo Magnani, Bologna.png, Romulus appearing to Proculus Julius File:La superbia di Romolo.jpg, The Pride of Romulus


The rape of the Sabine women

File:Sodoma 004.jpg, ''Ratto delle Sabine'' "The Rape of the Sabines",
Il Sodoma Il Sodoma (1477 – 14 February 1549) was the name given to the Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi. Il Sodoma painted in a manner that superimposed the High Renaissance style of early 16th-century Rome onto the traditions of the ...
(1507) File:Poussin RapeSabineLouvre.jpg, ''L'Enlèvement des Sabines'' "The Abduction of the Sabines",
Nicolas Poussin Nicolas Poussin (, , ; June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome. Most of his works were on religious and mythological subjects painted for a s ...
(1638) File:RUBENS anversa osterriethuis the rape of the sabine woman 1634-36 56 x 87 cm.jpg, ''The Rape of the Sabine Women'',
Peter Paul Rubens Sir Peter Paul Rubens (; ; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist and diplomat from the Duchy of Brabant in the Southern Netherlands (modern-day Belgium) who lived during the Dutch Golden Age. He is considered the most influential ar ...

Peter Paul Rubens
(1634–36) File:Rape of the Sabine Women (Loggia dei Lanzi) 2 2013 February.jpg, ''Ratto delle Sabine'' "Rape of the Sabines",
Giambologna , collection Teylers Museum Giambologna (1529 – 13 August 1608) — (known also as Jean de Boulogne and Giovanni da Bologna) — was a Flemish people, Flemish sculptor based in Italy, celebrated for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renai ...
(1583) File:Jacopo Ligozzi Rape of the Sabine Women.JPG, ''Ratto delle Sabine'' "The Rape of the Sabines",
Jacopo Ligozzi Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627) was an Italian painter, illustrator, designer, and miniaturist. His art can be categorized as late-Renaissance and Mannerist styles. Biography Born in Verona, he was the son of the artist Giovanni Ermano Ligozzi, an ...
(c.1565-1627) File:Theodoor van Thulden (attr) Rape of the Sabine Women.jpg, ''L'Enlèvement des Sabines'' "The Abduction of the Sabines", ''Attributed to''
Theodoor van Thulden Theodoor van Thulden (1606–12 July 1669) was a painter, draughtsman and engraver from 's-Hertogenbosch. He is mainly known for his altarpieces, mythological subjects, allegorical works and portraits. He was active in Antwerp, where he had traine ...
(17th c.) File:Rape of the Sabine Women by Sebastiano Ricci.jpg, "The Rape of the Sabine Women",
Sebastiano Ricci Sebastiano Ricci (1 August 165915 May 1734) was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. About the same age as Piazzetta, and an elder contemporary of Tiepolo, he represents a late version of the vigorous and luminous Cortonesque s ...
(c. 1700) File:Johann Heinrich Schönfeld - Rape of the Sabine Women - WGA21057.jpg, ''Der Raub der Sabinerinnen'' "The Rape of the Sabine Women", Johann Heinrich Schönfeld (1640) File:Charles Christian Nahl 1870, The Rape Of The Sabines - The Abduction.jpg, ''The Rape Of The Sabines – The Abduction'',
Charles Christian Nahl Carl Christian Heinrich Nahl (October 18, 1818 – March 1, 1878), later known as Charles Nahl, and sometimes Karl Nahl, Charles Christian Nahl or Charles C. Nahl, was a German-born painter who is called California's first significant artist. Earl ...

Charles Christian Nahl
(1870) File:Charles Christian Nahl 1871, The Rape Of The Sabines - The Captivity.jpg, ''The Rape Of The Sabines – The Captivity'',
Charles Christian Nahl Carl Christian Heinrich Nahl (October 18, 1818 – March 1, 1878), later known as Charles Nahl, and sometimes Karl Nahl, Charles Christian Nahl or Charles C. Nahl, was a German-born painter who is called California's first significant artist. Earl ...

Charles Christian Nahl
(1871) File:Charles Christian Nahl 1871, The Rape Of The Sabines - The Invasion.jpg, ''The Rape Of The Sabines – The Invasion'',
Charles Christian Nahl Carl Christian Heinrich Nahl (October 18, 1818 – March 1, 1878), later known as Charles Nahl, and sometimes Karl Nahl, Charles Christian Nahl or Charles C. Nahl, was a German-born painter who is called California's first significant artist. Earl ...

Charles Christian Nahl
(1871)


Tarpeia

File:Sodoma Tarpeia.jpg, ''The Vestal Virgin Tarpeia Beaten by Tatius’ soldiers''
Il Sodoma Il Sodoma (1477 – 14 February 1549) was the name given to the Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi. Il Sodoma painted in a manner that superimposed the High Renaissance style of early 16th-century Rome onto the traditions of the ...
(16th c.) File:Frieze Basilica Aemilia Massimo n3.jpg, Tarpeia's punishment, Pentelic marble fragment from the Frieze of the
Basilica Aemilia The Basilica Aemilia ( it, Basilica Emilia, links=no) was a civil basilica in the Roman Forum, in Rome, Italy. Today only the plan and some rebuilt elements can be seen. The Basilica was 100 meters (328 ft) long and about 30 meters (98 ft ...

Basilica Aemilia
(100 BC-100 AD File:Tarpeia's Punishment.png, Reconstruction of Basilica Aemilia Frieze marble fragment File:Pictura loquens; sive, Heroicarum tabularum Hadriani Schoonebeeck, enarratio et explicatio (1695) (14751427905).jpg, Tarpeia, Illustration fro
''Pictura loquens'' "the Heroic Accounts of Hadrian Schoonebeeck"
(1695) (14751427905) File:Tarpeia.gif, Tarpeia conspires with Tatius in an illustration fro
''The story of the Romans''
by Hélène Adeline Guerber (1896)


Hersilia

File:Romolo ed Ersilia, final scene, Act 3.jpg, Print from Romolo ed Ersilia, final scene, Act 3, Artist;: Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Engraver: Francesco Bartolozzi (1781) File:F0442 Louvre JL David Sabines INV3691 detail01 rwk.jpg, Hersilia from a detail of ''Les Sabines'' "The Intervention of the Sabine Women", Jacques-Louis David (1799) File:Guercino - Hersilia Separating Romulus and Tatius - WGA10944.jpg, ''Ersilia separa Romolo da Tazio'' "Hersilia Separating Romulus and Tatius, Guercino (1645)


Death of Tatius

The subject for the 1788 Prix de Rome was the death of Tatius (''La mort de Tatius''). Garnier won the contest. File:Garnier La mort de Tatius.JPG, Version by Étienne-Barthélémy Garnier, now in the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris. File:Girodet La mort de Tatius.jpg, Version by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Girodet, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angers. File:Jacques Réattu - La mort de Tatius.jpg, Version by Jacques Réattu, now in the Musée Réattu, Arles.


Death of Romulus

File:Rubens Apparizione di Romolo e Proculo Cardiff.png, "Apparition of Romulus before Proculus", Rubens (17th c.)


See also

*Evander of Pallene *
Hersilia In Roman mythology, Hersilia was a figure in the foundation myth of Rome. She is credited with ending the war between Rome and the Sabines. Battle of the Lacus Curtius In some accounts she is the wife of Romulus, the founder and first King of ...
*List of people who disappeared mysteriously: pre-1970, List of people who disappeared *Proculus Julius


Notes


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * *Cook, John Granger (2018),
Empty Tomb, Apotheosis, Resurrection
', p. 263.


Ancient Sources

*Dionysius of Halicarnassus, ''Roman Antiquities'' i & ii. *
Livy Titus Livius''Titus'' is the praenomen (the personal name); ''Livius'' is the nomen (the ''gentile'' name, i.e. "belonging to the gens Livia"). Therefore, Titus Livius did not have a cognomen (third name, i.e. family name), which was not unusual ...
, ''
History of Rome The history of Rome includes the history of the city of Rome as well as the civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the history of the Catholic Church, and Roman law has influenced many ...
'' i–v.


Additional reading

*Carandini, Andrea (2011). ''Rome: Day One.'' Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. . *Forsythe, Gary (2005). ''A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War.'' Berkeley: University of California Press. . {{Authority control 8th-century BC kings of Rome Deified Roman people Founding monarchs Missing person cases in Italy People from Alba Longa People whose existence is disputed Romulus and Remus