The Ancient Library

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one of the Vestal virgins. As Silvia one day went iato the sacred grove, to draw water for the service of the goddess, a wolf met her, and she fled into a cave for safety ; there, while a total eclipse ob­scured the sun, Mars himself overpowered her, and then consoled her with the promise that she should be the mother of heroic children (Serv. ad Viry. Aen. i. 274 ; Dionys. ii. 56 ; Plut. Rom. 27). When her time came, she brought forth twins. Amulius doomed the guilty Vestal and her babes to be drowned in the river. In the Anio Silvia ex­changed her earthly life for that of a goddess, and became the wife of the river-god. The stream carried the cradle in which the children were lying into the Tiber, which had overflowed its banks far and wide. It was stranded at the foot of the Palatine, and overturned on the root of a wild fig-tree, which, under the name of the Ficus Rumi-nalis, was preserved and held sacred for many ages after. A she-wolf, which had come to drink of the stream, carried them into her den hard by, and suckled them ; and there, when they wanted other food, the woodpecker, a bird sacred to Mars, brought it to them (Ov. Fast. iii. 54). At length this marvellous spectacle was seen by Faustulus, the king's shepherd, who took the children to his own house, and gave them to the care of his wife, Acca Larentia. They were called Romulus and Remus, and grew up along with the twelve sons of their foster-parents, on the Palatine hill (Massurius Sabinus, ap. Gell. vi. 7). They were, however, distinguished from their comrades by the beauty of their person and the bravery of their deeds, and became the acknowledged leaders of the other shepherd youths, with whom they fought boldly against wild beasts and robbers. The followers of Romulus were called Quintilii; those of Remus, Fabii. A quarrel arose between them and the herdsmen of Numitor, who stalled their cattle on the neighbouring hill of the Aventine. Remus was taken by a stratagem, during the absence of his brother, anci carried off to Numitor. His age and noble bearing made Numitor think of his grandsons ; and his suspicions were confirmed by the tale of the marvellous nurture of the twin brothers. Meanwhile Romulus hastened with his foster-father to Numitor ; suspicion was changed into certainty, and the old man recognised them as his grandsons. They now resolved to avenge the wrongs which their family had suifered. With the help of their faithful comrades, who had flocked to Alba to rescue Remus, they slew Amulius, and placed Numitor on the throne.

Romulus and Remus loved their old abode, and therefore left Alba to found a city on the banks of the Tiber. They were accompanied only by their old comrades, the shepherds. The story which makes them joined by the Alban nobles, is no part of the old legend ; since the Julii and similar families do not appear till after the destruction of

buhr remarks that Rhea is a corruption introduced by'' the editors, apparently from thinking of the goddess Rhea; whereas Rea seems to have signified nothing more than the culprit., reminding us of the ex­pression Reafemina, which often occurs in Boccaccio. Niebuhr also calls attention to the remark of Peri-zonius, that when the mother of Romulus is repre­sented as the daughter of Aeneas, she is always called Ilia., and that Rea is never prefixed to the latter name. (Hist, of Rome, vol. i, p. 211.)



Alba. As the brothers possessed equal authority and power, a strife arose between them where the city should be built, who should be its founder, and after whose name it should be called. Ro­mulus wished to build it on the Palatine, Remus on the Aventine, or, according to another tradition, on another hill three or four miles lower down the river, called Remuria or Remoria, which Niebuhr supposes to be the hill beyond S. Paolo (comp. Dionys. i. 85 ; Plut. Rom. 9). * It was agreed that the question should be decided by augury ; and each took his station on the top of his chosen hill. The night passed away, and as the day was dawning Remus saw six vultures ; but at sun-rise, when these tidings were brought to Romulus, twelve vultures flew by him. Each claimed the augury in his own favour ; but most of the shep­herds decided for Romulus, and Remus was there­fore obliged to yield. Romulus now proceeded to mark out the pomoerium of his city (see Diet, of Ant. s. v.). He yoked a bullock and a heifer to a plough with a copper ploughshare, and drew a deep furrow round the foot of the Palatine, so as to in­clude a considerable compass below the hill; and men followed after who turned every clod to the inward side. Where the gates were to be made, the plough was carried over the space ; since other­wise nothing unclean could have entered the city, as the track of the plough was holy. In the co-mitium a vault was built underground, which was filled with the first-fruits of all the natural pro­ductions that support human life, and with earth which each of the settlers had brought with him from his home. This place was called Mundus^ and was believed to be the entrance to the lower world (Festus, s. v. Mundus ; Plut. Rom. 11). Rome is said to have been founded on the 21st of April, and this day was celebrated as a yearly festival down to the latest times of Roman histon\ It was the Palilia, or festival of Pales, the divinity of the shepherds, and was, therefore, a day well fitted for the foundation of a city by shepherds (see Diet, of Ant. s. v. Palilia}. On the line of the pomoerium Romulus began to raise a wall. Remus, who still resented the wrong he had suffered, leapt over it in scorn, whereupon Romulus slew him, saying, " So die whosoever hereafter shall leap over my walls ; " though, according to another account, he was killed by Celer, who had the charge of'the building. Remorse now seized Romulus, and he rejected all food and comfort, till at length he appeased the shade of Remus by instituting the festival of the Lemuria for the souls of the departed (Ov. Fast. v. 461, &c.). Afterwards an empty throne was set by the side of Romulus, with a sceptre and crown, that his brother might seem to reign with him (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. i. 276). Thus in the earliest legends we find the supreme power divided between two persons ; but it is not impossible that the belief in the double kingdom of Romulus and Remus, as well as subsequently in

* In his Lectures on Roman history (pp. 39, 40, ed. Schmitz, 1848) Niebuhr brings forward many reasons to prove what he had hinted at in his His­tory (vol. i. note 618), that the latter hill was the one mentioned in the ancient tradition, and that the story relating to it was afterwards transferred to the Aventine, since this hill was the special abode of the plebeians, and there existed between it and the Palatine a perpetual feud.

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