The Founding of Rome Proca, the next king of the city Alba Longa, had two sons, Numitor and Amulius. To the elder son, Numitor, he left the hereditary realm of Alba Longa; that, at least, was his intention, but respect for seniority was flouted, the father's will ignored, and Amulius drove out his brother and seized the throne. One act of violence led to another; he proceeded to murder his brother's male children, and made his niece, Rhea Silvia, a Vestal, ostensibly to do her honor, but actually to condemn her to perpetual virginity to prevent the continuation of Numitor’s line.
But (I must believe) it was already written in the book of fate that this great city of ours should arise, and the first steps be taken to the founding of the mightiest empire the world has known. The Vestal Virgin was raped and gave birth to twin boys. Mars, she declared, was their father. Neither gods nor men could save her or her babes from the savage hands of the king. The mother was bound and flung into prison; the boys, by the king's order, were condemned to be drowned in the river Tiber. Destiny, however, intervened. The Tiber had overflowed its banks; and because of the flooded ground it was impossible to get to the actual river, and the men entrusted to do the deed thought that the floodwater, sluggish though it was, would serve their purpose. Accordingly they decided to carry out the king's orders by leaving the infants on the edge of the first floodwater they came to, at the spot where now stands the Ruminal fig tree. In those days the country thereabouts was all wild and uncultivated, and the story goes that when the basket in which the infants had been exposed was left high and dry by the receding water, a she-wolf, coming down from the neighboring hills to quench her thirst, heard the children crying and made her way to where they were. She offered them her teats to suck and treated them with such gentleness that Faustulus, the king's herdsman, found her licking them with her tongue. Faustulus took them to his hut and gave them to his wife Larentiato nurse
Such, then, was the birth and upbringing of the twins. By the time they were grown boys, they employed themselves actively on the farm and with the flocks and began to go hunting in the woods; their strength grew with their resolution, until not content only with hunting they took to attacking robbers and sharing their stolen goods with their friends the shepherds. Other young men joined them, and they and the shepherds would pass the time together, now in serious talk, now in jollity.
Even in that remote age the Palatine hill (which got its name from the Arcadian settlement Pallanteum) is supposed to have been the scene of a joyous festival called the Lupercalia.1 The Arcadian Evander, who many years before held that region, is said to have instituted there the old Arcadian practice of holding an annual festival in honor of Lycean Pan (afterwards called Inuus by the Romans), in which young men ran about naked and engaged in various pranks and jokes. The day of the festival was common knowledge. On one occasion, some brigands, incensed at the loss of their ill-gotten gains, laid a trap for Romulus and Remus. Romulus successfully defended himself, but Remus was caught and handed over to Amulius. The brigands laid a complaint against their prisoner, the main charge being that he and his brother were in the habit of raiding Numitor's land with an organized gang of poachers and stealing the king’s cattle. Thereupon Remus was handed over for punishment to Numitor.
Now Faustulus had suspected all along that the boys he was bringing up were of royal blood. He knew that two infants had been exposed by the king's orders, and the rescue of his own two fitted perfectly in point of time. Hitherto, however, he had been unwilling to declare what he knew, until either a suitable opportunity occurred or circumstances compelled him. Now the truth could no longer be concealed, so in his alarm he told Romulus the whole story. Numitor, too, when he had Remus in custody and was told that the brothers were twins, was set thinking about his grandsons: the young men's age and character, so different from the lowly born, confirmed his suspicions, and further inquiries led him to the same conclusion, until he was on the point of acknowledging Remus. The net was closing in, and Romulus acted. He was not strong enough for open hostilities, so he instructed a number of the herdsmen to meet at the king's house by different routes at a preordained time. This was done, and with the help of Remus, at the head of another body of men, the king was surprised and killed. Before the first blows were struck, Numitor gave it out that an enemy had broken into the town and attacked the palace; he then drew off all the men of military age to garrison the inner fortress, and, as soon as he saw Romulus and Remus, their purpose accomplished, coming to congratulate him, he summoned a meeting of the people and laid the facts before it: Amulius' crime against himself, the birth of his grandsons, and the circumstances attending it, how they were brought up and ultimately recognized, and, finally, the murder of the king for which he himself assumed responsibility. The two brothers, Romulus and Remus, marched through the crowd at the head of their men and saluted their grandfather Numitor as king, and by a shout of unanimous consent his royal title was confirmed.