Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Rome: 2,762 Year Anniversary


"Where can we begin the story of the universe that is Rome?...the story, the myth of Rome's origins, seems to contain a basic trait still recognizable after all of the city's adventures and misadventures; put simply, its destiny."

Corrado Augias, Secrets of Rome (2007)

April 21 Rom
e celebrated its 2,762 anniversary of its founding today. Not a bad run.

Who founded Rome? is a matter of some controversy. "Destiny," as Augias noted above, played a critical role.
It was in the time of Caesar Augustus, when the Roman poet Virgil wrote The Aeneid, the great epic of the Roman people, with the aim of elevating Caesar Augustus [nephew of the assassinated Julius Caesar] to being a descendant of both the gods and the founders of Rome. He did this by linking the Trojan hero Aeneas, son of Venus, with the founding of Rome. The Aeneid is the story of goddess-born Aeneas, who flees the burning Troy to embark upon a perilous journey that brings him to Italy to fulfill his grand destiny as founder of what will one day become the Roman Empire.

Virgil immediately sets forth in The Aeneid the heroic theme of "whence came the Latin race... and the lofty walls of Rome"-

"Of arms and a man I sing, who first from the coast of Troy, exiled by fate, came to Italy and Lavine shores; much buffeted on sea and land by violence from above, through cruel Juno's unforgiving wrath, and much enduring in war also, till he should build a city and bring his gods to Latium; whence came the Latin race, the lords of Alba, and the lofty walls of Rome."
(Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1.)

But what of Romulus and Remus?

Romulus and Remus appear in Roman mythology as the twin sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars.

Aeneas a son of Venus; Romulus and Remus, sons of Mars.

The Ancient Romans were quite a combination: of love and war.

Legend states that after their birth, Romulus and Remus were put in a cradle and laid on the banks of the Tiber river in order to escape being murdered. The river gently carried the cradle and the twins downstream. The boys were rescued by the river god Tiberinus who placed the twins upon the Palatine Hill. There, they were nursed by a she-wolf underneath a fig-tree and were fed by a woodpecker until a shepherd found them and took them into his home. Ancient Roman historians Plutarch and Livy state that Romulus served as the first King of Rome.

For more about the founding of Rome check out WebVisionItaly's April Italy Right Now show.

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