April 21, 753 BC: According to legend, Romulus and Remus found Rome. Mythology claimed the twins were the sons of Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia, and the Roman God of War, Mars. The twins were born in 771 BC and Romulus killed Remus when they were 18 years old, after a dispute concerning who was the favored one before the local gods. Birds flocked to Romulus, proving his favored position.
Romulus and Remus were born into trying times. Grandfather Amulius had been banished from Troy but managed to hold on to a considerable treasure. His daughter was supposed to be a priestess sworn to abstinence but somehow ended up with the twins. The enraged grandfather killed his daughter by burying her alive and set the boys out on a hill to die of exposure. Unless he just ordered them all to be thrown into the river to drown.
The servant ordered to kill the boys disobeyed his master and placed the beautiful twins in a basket by the Tiber River which was in flood stage. The basket was carried downstream where the boys were saved by a river god, Tiberinus. They were taken up to the Palentine Hill where they were nursed by a wolf and fed by a woodpecker. They were eventually found by a shepherd who took them home where he and his wife raised the children.
When they were 18, they boys were separated with Remus taken back to his grandfather, Amulius. Remus and Amulius armed the country folk while Romulus and his grandfather’s brother, Numitor, incited those who had been abused by the stern rules of the land. Romulus attacked those holding the city and won. Amulias died in battle and the twins declined to rule in his place. Instead they left for Palentine Hill where they argued over exactly where their new city should be built. They asked the gods to mediate. The gods showed their favor to Romulus and he became the first king of the Roman Kingdom and began building a wall to surround his new city. He also got rid of his dissenting brother when Remus jumped over that wall.
“I would rather be first in a little Iberian village than second in Rome.” – Julius Caesar
“When thou art at Rome, do as they do at Rome.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.” – Anatole Broyard
“Rome had Caesar, a man of remarkable governing talents, although it must be said that a ruler who arouses opponents to resort to assassination is probably not as smart as he ought to be.” – Barbara W. Tuchman