Fabulae Romanae Story 4: The Founding of Rome According to tradition, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 B. C



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Fabulae Romanae Story 4: The Founding of Rome

According to tradition, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 B.C. While we cannot accept this as an accurate date, studies by modern archeologists have confirmed that people began living on the Palatine hill during the eighth century B.C. Romulus, as you will see, became the first king; six other kings ruled after him during the period of the Monarchy (753-509 B.C.)

Lines 1-11:

Each young man wanted to give his name to the new city and to rule it (the city). But because they were twins and the matter was not able to be decided by (means of) their age, they used auguries*. Six vultures were seen by Remus first. Afterwards twelve (vultures) showed themselves to Romulus. Each was hailed king by his friends and demanded the kingdom. When they, angry, had seized arms (English would say “when they had angrily seized arms”), Remus fell/died in the fight. According to another story Remus, while mocking his brother, leapt across the city’s new walls, then (he) was killed by the angry Romulus, who also added these words: “Then let him perish so, whoever else will jump over my walls.” In this way Romulus alone acquired power; he called the city having been founded (“which had had founded”) “Rome” from his own name.



*Auguries were a means of interpreting the will of the gods by looking for signs, particularly the flight patterns and numbers of birds. An augur was a priest whose duty was to interpret such omens.

Lines 12-18:

First he built up the Palatine, on which he himself had been raised. Once the crowd had been called to council, he issued laws. He also took up the insignia/tokens of power, the curule chair (“sella curulis”) and the toga praetexta, and twelve lictors*. He opened a refuge on the Capitoline hill, where many people from the neighboring tribes fled. He also created 100 senators, who were called “fathers” for the sake of respect/honor.



*Ever since the time of Romulus, a consul moving about the city in his official capacity would be attended in public by 12 of these lictors, who would carry the fasces, the traditional symbols of power. All senatorial magistrates would wear the toga praetexta as the official garb of office.


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