Twin Brothers: Remus and Romulus

Twin Brothers: Remus and Romulus

According to Roman mythology, the sibling duo Romulus and Remus are believed to have founded the city of Ancient Rome. Roman children were taught the story at school and it became widely accepted as Rome’s beginning.

The story of Romulus and Remus starts off with their parents’ abandonment. Their mother Rhea Silvia was a Vestal Virgin; a woman who remained unmarried and celibate as priestesses of the goddess Vesta. Rhea became pregnant and was punished by having her twins taken away to be thrown into the Tiber River rather than being buried alive. This was because the boys’ father was believed to be either the god Mars or Hercules, and the King did not want to risk his city being punished. A servant was ordered to carry out the twins’ death, but as the story goes their lives were spared and the river carried them to a nearby fig tree.

Romulus Remus Babies
Romulus Remus Babies

There they were discovered by a female wolf who nursed them before they were found by a shepherd and his wife, who then raised the brothers. Romulus and Remus both followed in their adopted father’s footsteps and grew up to become shepherds themselves.

The siblings later decided to found a city where they had been rescued by the wolf. Unfortunately this led to an argument over its location - Romulus wanted the Palatine Hill and Remus preferred the Aventine Hill. They continued arguing even while Romulus began building a city on Palatine Hill, and eventually Remus was killed by his brother. In 753 BC Romulus named the new city after himself.

Though the story portrays Rome being built very quickly, it in fact grew from existing settlements around seven hills near the Tiber River and began its foundation as a wealthy city.

There is ongoing discussion and debate over Romulus and Remus - were they actual men, just an ancient legend, or both?

See also: Ancient Rome

MLA Citation/Reference

"Twin Brothers: Remus and Romulus". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.