Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21 - Founding of Rome

According to the complicated and peculiar myth of Romulus and Remus, the city of Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BCE. The twin brothers were heirs to a dynastic line in an ancient city (Alba Longa) in central Italy, but as infants they were set adrift to die in the Tiber River. However, the river saved them, a she-wolf named Lupa suckled them, a woodpecker fed them, and a shepherd raised them. Instead of claiming their dynasty, the twins decided to found a new city, but argued over the site: Romulus chose the Palatine Hill, Remus chose the Aventine Hill. Through divination, Romulus claimed victory, killed his brother, and founded the city (“ab urbe condita”), which he named Rome after himself. The myth is one of several, including the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” in which feral children play a key role in the advance of civilization. The image of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus became an icon of Rome, appearing on one of the earliest, if not the earliest issues of Rome’s silver coinage (pictured), ca. 269 BCE.

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