Romulus was the first king of Rome and the founder of the city of Rome.
Ths story of Romulus and Remus and the founding of the city of
Rome is one of the most familiar legends about ancient Rome. The basic
details are as follows:
The god MARS impregnates a Vestal Virgin.
When she gives birth to twins, Romulus and Remus,
the king orders them to be left to die in the Tiber River.
When the basket in which Romulus and Remus were placed washes up on
a she-wolf suckles them and a woodpecker named Picus feeds them until
The shepherd Faustulus finds Romulus and Remus and brings them into
When they grow up, Romulus and Remus restore the throne of Alba Longa
to its rightful ruler, their maternal grandfather, and Set out to found
their own city.
Sibling rivalry leads Romulus to slay his brother and become the first
king and founder of the city of Rome. Rome is named after Romulus.
Such is the condensed, skeletal version of the story of Romulus and
While we can't present the truth of the matter, there are many more
details that enhance the legend even if they fail to make the story
The Vestal Virgin
The Vestal Virgin and mother of the twins Romulus and Remus was named
Rhea Silvia, in most accounts. She was the daughter of Numitor and niece
of King Amulius of Alba Longa. Numitor was the rightful king -- appointed
by Proca, the father of Numitor and Amulius. Usurper Amulius feared
a future challenge from Numitor's descendants. To prevent their being
born, King Amulius forced the daughter of his brother Numitor to become
a Vestal Virgin. The penalty for violating the vow of chastity was supposed
to be a cruel death, but Rhea Silvia survived long enough to give birth
to twins, Romulus and Remus. Rhea Silvia may have been burned alive.
Later Vestal Virgins paid for their transgressions by being buried alive.
Aeneas, son of the goddess VENUS and the mortal Anchises,
left the burning city of Troy with his son Ascanius. After many adventures,
which the Roman poet Vergil describes in the Aeneid, Aeneas and his
son arrived at the city of Laurentum on the west coast of Italy. Aeneas
married Lavinia, the daughter of the king
of the area, Latinus, and founded the town of Lavinium
in honor of his wife. Ascanius, son of Aeneas, decided to build a new
city, which he named Alba Longa, under the Alban mountain.
Timeline of Events Before the Founding of Rome
c. 1184 - Fall of Troy
c. 1176 - Aeneas founds Lavinium
c. 1152 - Ascanius founds Alba Longa
c. 1152-753 - Kings of Alba Longa Kings of Alba Longa
of Numitor and Amulius
Aeneas vs. Romulus )
There were two traditions on the founding of Rome. According to one,
Aeneas was the founder of Rome and according to the other, it was Romulus.
Cato, in the early second century B.C., combined the two stories to
come up with what is the generally accepted version, with Aeneas coming
to Italy and Romulus founding the actual seven-hilled (Palatine, Aventine,
Capitoline or Capitolium, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian)
city of Rome, according to Jane Gardner.
The Fratricide - Romulus Kills His Brother Remus
How and why Romulus or his companions killed Remus is also unclear.
Was Remus killed by accident or out of sibling rivalry for the throne?
One story about Romulus killing Remus begins with the brothers using
augury to determine which brother should be king. Romulus looked for
his signs on the Palatine Hill and Remus on the Aventine.
The sign came to Remus first -- six vultures. When Romulus later saw
12, the brothers' men ranged themselves against each other, the one
claiming precedence because the favorable signs had come to their leader
first, and the other claiming the throne because the signs were greater.
In the ensuing altercation, Remus was killed -- by Romulus or another.
Another story of the killing of Remus has each brother building the
walls for his city on his respective hill. Remus, mocking the low walls
of his brother's city, leaped over the Palatine walls, where an angry
Romulus killed him. The city grew up around the Palatine and was named
Rome for Romulus, its new king.
The end of the reign of Romulus is suitably mysterious. Romulus was
last seen when a thunder storm wrapped itself around the first king
of Rome and he vanished.