Romulus and Remus
legendary founders of the city of Rome were Romulus and Remus.
They were said to be the twin sons of Mars, the god of war, and
Rhea Silvia, the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa. Rhea
had been forced to become a vestal virgin by her uncle, Amulius,
who had deposed Numitor. When Rhea gave birth, Amulius imprisoned
Rhea Silvia and ordered servants to cast the infants adrift on
the Tiber River. The Tiber was in flood, and the high waters
safely carried the twins' basket to the riverbank, where they
were deposited under a fig tree. There a she-wolf and a woodpecker,
animals sacred to Mars, found the boys. The animals nursed, fed,
and cared for them until they were found by Faustulus, the king's
herdsman. He and his wife reared the twins.
When Romulus and Remus grew to manhood, they killed
Amulius and restored Numitor as king. The twins then determined
to build a city on the Tiber. Remus selected Aventine Hill as
the site; Romulus insisted on Palatine Hill. Remus was killed
in the quarrel that followed, and Romulus was declared king.
To hasten the city's growth, Romulus made Rome a refuge for
outcasts and fugitives. Because there were no women, he persuaded
the Romans to lure the neighboring Sabines to a festival and
to kidnap the women. A war was averted when the women said they
would stay with the Romans. After about 40 years of rule, Romulus
was miraculously taken to Mount Olympus to become a god and to
dwell with his father. The ancient Romans then worshiped Romulus
under the name of Quirinus.
Compton's Encyclopedia Online v3.0 © 1998 The Learning