The Foundation of Rome


‘You will remember that Romulus and Remus drove the wicked king Amulius from the throne and put their old grand-father, Numitor, in his place. After this little excitement they felt they needed a kingdom of their own. They set off to the place where Faustulus had first found them in the she-wolf’s cave. This would make a good place for a new city, they thought, but who should be king? The two twins looked around at the seven hills, rising above them. Then, deciding to rely on augury (a form of fortune-telling, using signs or omens from the natural world) for the answer to their problem, Romulus climbed the Palatine Hill and Remus climbed the Aventine, There they waited to see what the birds would tell them.

After a while Remus got all excited when he saw six vultures, flying across the sky above him. Taking this to be a good omen, he ran down the hill and up the Palatine to tell his brother. However, when he got there Romulus said the he had seen twelve vultures and so it was decided that the city should be called Rome after its first king, Romulus.

A few days later, Remus, who was quite sulky about the outcome of the birdwatching spree, jumped over a wall which was in the process of being built around the city. His brother was not impressed and killed Remus with the words ‘truth perish anyone who jumps over my walls!’

– Oulton. N.R.R. 2010. So You Really Want To Learn Latin Book I Tenterden, Great Britain: Galore Park Publishing (1999) p. 34

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