History : Jun-Jul 2015
56 JUNE/JULY 2015 fetch water from a spring. There she fell asleep and was deflowered and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war. Rhea Silvia gave birth to twin boys, and her uncle Amulius, paranoid about the threat from potential claimants to his usurped throne, ordered the brothers to be drowned in the Tiber River. However, the ser- vants he charged with this ghastly deed took pity on the boys and set them adrift in a basket, which floated down the river and washed up at the foot of what is now known as Palatine Hill. In a cave within the Palatine, a she-wolf heard their cries of hunger and suckled the babies, en- suring their survival. Shortly afterward a group of shepherds appeared; the one called Faustulus According to the most popular version of the legend, the story of Romulus and Remus begins with their grandfather, Numitor, King of Alba Longa, a city in Latium, in central Italy. Numi- tor was deposed by his brother Amulius, who decided to avoid future complications by getting rid of his brother’s offspring. Amulius ordered Numitor’s sons be put to death and his daugh- ter to become a vestal virgin. As the name sug- gests, sexual purity was central to this female priesthood, and celibacy was enforced on pain of death. This was supposed to prevent the priest- esses from having children, but things worked out differently for Rhea Silvia. One day while fulfilling her priestly duties, Rhea Silvia went to THE FAMOUS FORUM This was the civic and political center of ancient Rome. Located at the foot of Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s seven hills, it was here that Romulus decided to found the city that became the heart of one of history’s greatest empires. BUILDING A GREAT CITY 1000 b.c. 753 b.c. The first evidence of human settlement appears on the site of what would become the city of Rome: tombs next to the future location of the Arch of Augustus in the Roman Forum. Varro (a first-century b.c. historian) dated the founding of Rome by Romulus at 753 b.c . We know that around this time a settlement covered its main hills and areas in between. Rome becomes a proper city in the times of Tarquinius Priscus, its fifth king, who originally came from the Etruscan city of Tarquinia. He takes over land and significantly boosts the city’s development. 600 b.c.