The Story of Romulus and Remus: The Mythical Founders of Rome

The Story of Romulus and Remus: The Mythical Founders of Rome

Romulus and Remus

In about 753 BCE, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus established the city of Rome. In the myth of Romulus and Remus, Romulus created the city of Rome after killing his brother Remus.
Historical documents like Livy’s History of Rome provide historians with information concerning the tale of Romulus and Remus. While some of the story’s details may be true, historians think most are likely myths. Because it describes how Rome was established, this tale is a foundation myth.

The tale of Romulus and Remus played a significant role in shaping Rome’s character despite its mythical status. Romans traced their ancestry back to a prince who had escaped the Trojan War through Romulus. The renowned imaginary conflict between the people of Troy and Greece is known as the Trojan War. Romulus and Remus had a high prestige due to their regal heritage, which the ancient Romans honored.

In ancient Rome, people commemorated the tale of Romulus and Remus through art. Romulus, Remus, and the she-wolf who nursed them when they were young make up the majority of this piece of art. They were also depicted on Roman coinage. The Capitoline She-Wolf bronze statue, which depicts Romulus and Remus, is the most well-known example. While Romulus and Remus were added centuries later during the Renaissance, the wolf is an Etruscan sculpture from the fifth century BCE.

Romulus And Remus’s Parents, Who?

Romulus and Remus were the kids of the deity Mars and a human woman named Rhea Silvia. Numitor, who ruled over the Alba Longa region of the Italian peninsula, was the father of Rhea Silvia. Amulius, Numitor’s younger brother, overthrew Numitor and ascended to the throne. Amulius killed Numitor’s sons and made Rhea Silvia a priestess at the Temple of Vesta because he did not want any of Numitor’s ancestors to reclaim the throne. These so-called “Vestal Virgins” guarded the sacred fire.

Rhea Silvia fell pregnant with Romulus and Remus despite being forbidden from having children

Amulius imprisoned Rhea Silvia and gave her children the death penalty when they were born.

Because he was scared of upsetting the gods, he did not want to kill the kids directly. Instead, he ordered the kids to be slaughtered in a natural environment, such as being thrown into a river.

The basket with Romulus and Remus was dropped into the Tiber River. The river deity protected the kids, preventing them from drowning. The kids eventually managed to float safely and were found by a she-wolf. They were cared for by the she-wolf until Faustulus, a shepherd, discovered them. Faustulus raised Romulus and Remus as his sons, who became shepherds as adults. Romulus and Remus learned about their true heritage as they grew up and decided to restore their grandfather Numitor to the throne. During their efforts, the brothers founded a city on the site where they were said to have been rescued by the she-wolf.

Romulus And Remus With The She WolfSource: NYPL's Public Domain Archive

The Remus Death

Remus was kidnapped and brought to Amulius when Romulus and Remus were adults. Amulius died as a result of Romulus’ battle to set Remus free. Alba Longa offered the twin brothers the position of king, but they chose to return to Numitor’s throne and found a new city in its place. They established a new town where they had been saved from the Tiber River.

Being twins, Romulus and Remus had differing views on who should rule the new city or where it should be situated. They made their decision based on an old method known as augury. They stood apart as they searched the skies for a sign from the gods. First, Remus noticed six birds; later, Romulus noticed twelve. They each insisted that they had seen the superior sign. The discussion went on.

What happened afterward is explained by several tales. Remus was killed in one adventure where Romulus and Remus quarreled about who should rule. Romulus killed Remus in another story because he jumped over a city wall he had constructed. In each instance, Romulus lived while Remus perished.

The Founding of Rome

After Remus’ passing, Romulus ascended to the throne and named Rome his new city. He made laws and religious customs his priority. The first administration of the city was created by Romulus, who also asked residents of neighboring towns to help him develop the new metropolis. He then chose 100 senators to assist in governance. These senators rose to prominence in Rome and were dubbed patricians. The Assembly was made up of all male citizens and in charge of electing magistrates and adopting laws, and the Senate, was made up of the city’s leading citizens.

According to the ancient historian Livy, Romulus reportedly erected city walls and widened them as the settlement grew.

Romulus extended an open welcome for individuals to join the city because it was initially small. These earliest settlers included many fugitives and exiles, including escaped enslaved people and criminals. In the past, people of this kind were not respected and had a very low standing. The early Romans were primarily farmers and shepherds, and the city overgrew as more and more people settled there.

In addition to these political innovations, Romulus is said to have organized the city’s military forces and led them to victory against neighboring tribes. This helped to establish Rome as a regional power and paved the way for its eventual domination of Italy and beyond.
However, the early years of the Roman Kingdom were not without conflict. According to tradition, Romulus himself was involved in several wars, including one against the neighboring Sabines, whom he is said to have defeated by tricking them into allowing Roman men to marry Sabine women.

Despite the many challenges faced by the early Romans, their city continued to grow and prosper under the leadership of Romulus and his successors. By the end of the Roman Kingdom period, Rome had become a significant power in Italy and was poised to enter a new phase of its history as a republic. Rome grew to become one of the greatest cities of the ancient world and the capital of the Roman Empire.

Remus and Romulus building walls of RomeSource: Picryl

The Death of Romulus

According to Roman mythology, the death of Romulus is a story that involves the mysterious disappearance of the legendary founder of Rome. The story goes that Romulus suddenly vanished after a long and prosperous reign in 717 BCE.

There are several versions of the story, but the most commonly cited one states that Romulus was giving a speech to his troops in the Campus Martius when a sudden storm arose and enveloped him in a thick fog. When the mist cleared, Romulus was nowhere to be found.
Many Romans believed that Romulus had been taken up to heaven by the gods, and he was later worshipped as the deified god Quirinus. However, there were rumors that Romulus had been murdered or forced to flee by political rivals.

The historian Livy, who lived several centuries after Romulus, provides a more detailed account of the story. According to Livy, Romulus was killed by a group of senators who resented his autocratic rule and wanted to establish a more democratic government. They reportedly lured Romulus into a meeting, killed him, and then dismembered his body and scattered the pieces.
Romulus remained an important figure in Roman mythology and history despite his death’s mystery. He was regarded as the city’s first and greatest hero, and his legacy was celebrated in numerous religious festivals and public ceremonies. The story of his life and death also helped establish the mythic origins of Rome and its people, and it continued to inspire Roman writers and artists for centuries.

About The Author

Rajika Nanayakkara

My name is Rajika Nanayakkara and I am a passionate writer with a deep love for ancient history. With a keen eye for detail and a natural curiosity, I have dedicated myself to exploring the mysteries and wonders of the past. Through my writing, I seeks to bring the stories of ancient civilizations to life, providing a glimpse into the rich and fascinating world of our ancestors. My writings has been featured through

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