Rome’s Birthday April 21

[Author unknown]

The foundation of Rome appears wreathed in myth: after Troy collapsed under the force of the Greek attack, the Trojans, lead by Aeneas, at last reached land, disembarking in the area of Latium on the banks of the river Tiber. Many years later, Ascanius, son of Aeneas, founded the city of Albalonga. He was succeeded by Numitor, whose wicked and envious brother Amulius wanted to reign. He had Numitor imprisoned and force Rea Silvia, Numitor’s daughter, to become a priestess. After a short time, the god Mars sent Rea Silvia two twins, Romulus and Remus, and Amulius ordered that they be put to death immediately. The servant did not have the courage to commit such a serious crime so he put the two brothers in a wicker basket and gave them up to the waters of the Tiber, hoping that someone would save them. The twins were found by Faustulus and Laurentia in a pond close to the Tiber, at the foot of a tree, where a she-wolf was suckling them. When they became older, Romulus and Remus returned to Albalonga, punished Amulius and freed their grandfather Numitor. They then left Albalonga and decided to found a new city, choosing the place where they had been found by the she-wolf. They then decided that the one who saw the largest number of birds in flight would give his name to the city. It was therefore Romulus who ploughed a furrow on the Palatine Hill to mark the outline of the city, which he called Rome. The date was 21 April and the year 753 BC. The city soon spread from the Palatine to the nearby hills (including the Esquiline, Caelian, Quirinal and Capitoline), eventually becoming known as the city of the seven hills.