*** Welcome to piglix ***


Brogi, Carlo (1850-1925) - n. 8226 - Certosa di Pavia - Medaglione sullo zoccolo della facciata.jpg
Romulus and his brother Remus from a 15th century frieze, Certosa di Pavia
King of Rome
Reign c.753-c.717 BC
Predecessor None
Successor Numa Pompilius
Mother Rhea (or Ilia) Sylvia

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. 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, and it is unclear to what extent a historical figure underlies the mythical Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the narrative of Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

The myths concerning Romulus involve several distinct episodes and figures: the miraculous birth and youth of Romulus and his twin brother, Remus; Remus' murder and the founding of Rome; the Rape of the Sabine Women; the war with the Sabines; Titus Tatius; the establishment of Roman institutions; and the death or apotheosis of Romulus, and succession of Numa Pompilius.

Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, were the sons of Rhea Silvia, herself the daughter of Numitor, the former king of Alba Longa. Through them, they are descended from the Trojan hero Aeneas and Latinus, the mythical founder of the kingdom of Latia. Before the twins' birth, Numitor had been usurped by his brother, Amulius. After seizing the throne, Amulius murdered Numitor's son, and condemned Rhea to perpetual virginity, by consecrating her a Vestal. Rhea, however, became pregnant, ostensibly by the god Mars. Amulius had her imprisoned, and upon their birth, ordered the infants thrown into the rain-swollen Tiber. Instead of carrying out the king's orders, the twins were left along the riverbank at the foot of Palatine Hill.

In the traditonal telling of the legend, a she-wolf happened upon the twins. She suckled and tended them until their rescue by the herdsman Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia. 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 Numitor, they learned the truth of their origin. They overthrew and killed Amulius and restored Numitor to the throne. The princes set out to establish a city of their own. They returned to the hills overlooking the Tiber, the site where they had been exposed as infants. They could not agree on which hill should be the site of the city. When an omen to resolve the controversy failed to provide a clear indication, the conflict escalated and Remus was killed by his brother or by his brother's follower. In a variant of the legend, the augurs favoured Romulus, who proceeded to plow a square furrow on the Palatine Hill to mark the locations of the walls of the future city. When Remus derisively leaped over the "walls" to show how inadequate they would be as a defense against invaders, he was struck down by Romulus. In another variant, Remus died during a melee along with Faustulus.