The origins of Rome, according to history and tradition

An enchanting tradition was passed down from the Romans themselves about the establishment of their city. That there was a political intrigue in Alba Longa’s city, which resulted in King Numitor being deposed and replaced by his brother. Because he did not want his daughter Rhea Sylvia to have any heirs, he had her transformed into a vestal. However, the beautiful nun started having nighttime visits from the deity Mars himself, and it was Mars who was responsible for her giving birth to her two sons, Romulus and Remus.

Wicker baskets were used to transport the children as they were floated down the Tiber River by the wicked King Amulius. They were washed up on the beach and managed to live thanks to the care provided by a she-wolf, as well as a woodpecker and a lapwing. The nature of the youngsters, on the other hand, turned out to be quite animalistic. After they reached adulthood and made the decision to create a city, the brothers battled viciously over the specific location of the new settlement, and Romulus ended up murdering his brother Remus.

Naturally, the city required a resident population. There were not very many people who lived with Romulus and Remus. And when it was discovered that there were a surprisingly small number of individuals, Romulus declared that anybody might apply to become a citizen of the new city.


As a direct consequence of this, the new city attracted a large number of undesirables, ranging from escaped slaves to daring adventurers. And the vast majority of them were males who were completely devoid of the love of females. They then asked their Sabine neighbors to visit them, and after their guests arrived, they abducted the ladies and carried them away.

After a year had passed, when the Sabinese made another attempt to reclaim their ladies, they did so while carrying their infant Latin children on the battlefield with them. They were forced to make amends. After this, life in the city became more civilized, the Latins made peace with the Sabines, and for a time, both monarchs, the Latin Romulus and the Sabine Titus Tatius, reigned over an unified people known as the Quirites.

This fable was quite popular among the Romans themselves. They even knew the day when the city was established, which was on April 21st, 753. Scholar and encyclopedist Varron employed lists of consuls as well as extant historical works to compute the date, which they determined to be as early as the first century BC. Of course, it was not able to verify the date, but the anniversary of Rome’s founding is still honored to this day.

The Romans were able to display “The House of Romulus” as early as the fourth century BC despite the fact that it existed for a period of time. The very earliest homes that the Romans built were really octagonal in shape, meaning that they were round rather than square.

Since the fifth century BC, a statue of a she-wolf stood atop Capitoline Hill. This monument has been described several times. Romans “kidnapped” brides at wedding ceremonies, doing so out of respect for the fact that the very first Roman women had also been abducted.

After then, the tale was developed further and built upon. It wasn’t the rulers of any of the Alba-Longa kingdoms; rather, it was some mythical hero. Aeneas was selected to be this kind of hero. The poet Virgil is credited for compiling the many tales told about Aeneas and turning them into the poem known as the Aeneid. Aeneas and his friends are said to have arrived on the Apennine Peninsula following the conclusion of the Trojan War, according to these tales. One of them was given the name Palatine, which was the name of a hill in Roman times, while Rhea Silvia was said to be either the daughter or the grandchild of Aeneas himself.

Which of these myths is based on actual events, and which is an urban legend? Archaeological evidence suggests that Rome was inhabited a significant amount of time before its mythological origin. On the hills that surround the site, the first signs of human habitation date back to the seventh century BC. In addition, there was already a hamlet in the area surrounding the Tiber commercial ford by the time the ninth century rolled around.

The historical account of the Sabine women is supported by evidence from archaeological digs. During the ninth and tenth centuries, this region was home to not one but two distinct communities: the Latin and the Sabine, who made their homes on the slopes of Palatinus and Quirinal. After then, they converged into a single entity.

Sabine war
Sabine war

The Romans did not come up with the legend of Aeneas on their own; rather, they pilfered it from the Etruscans. The narrative of the hero, who travels for a long time before ultimately sailing to the beach, where a new home is waiting for him, most likely calls to mind the journeys that the Etruscan people had in the past.

Some accounts claim that the Etruscans were not the indigenous people of Italy, but rather migrants who arrived in the region at some point from Asia Minor, maybe even from the locations where the famous city of Troy was initially located.

In any case, we can observe that the Romans were not making up their tales; the stories they told did, in fact, include allusions to historical occurrences.

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