Ancient RomeRome - It is probably the most famous foundation story in the ancient world. Even so, outside the names Romulus and Remus, most of the rest of the myth tends to get lost in obscurity. The twin brothers were the sons of Rhea Silvia, who was the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa (about 12 miles (19km) SE of Rome). Numitor's brother, Amulius, overthrew the king and forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin in order to prevent her from having children (potential claimants to the throne). Despite this, she was seduced one day by the Roman god, Mars, in the temple. She conceived and gave birth to twin sons - making Romulus and Remus semi-divine. When Amulius learned this, he was furious. He imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered a servant to kill the babies. The servant, however, took pity on the babies and set them adrift on the Tiber River instead.  While adrift, they were protected by the river god, Tiberinus. He safely led them to a she-wolf who nursed them and raised them for several years, until they were found by a shepherd named Faustulus. He took the boys home and raised them along with his wife, Larentia.


Some of these events are conflicting in various accounts. When they were old enough, they set out on their own and founded a new city. However, the two quarreled over where to build it (some accounts have them fighting over what to name it, while still others over who would rule it), and Romulus ended up killing Remus (thus insuring a violent future for the city). Naturally, he named the city Rome after himself. Centuries later, the poet Virgil, tied the founding of Rome to the Trojan War by making Romulus and Remus descendants of Aeneas, a prince of Troy, in his epic poem, The Aeneid. His work is modeled after Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. A city as great as Rome deserves no less than an origin on the scale of the Trojan War.