Proof Of The Legend

Okay, Loyal Readers, it’s story time.

Once upon a time, Aeneas of Troy escaped from the city during its sack by the Greeks, and eventually settled with his son Julius in Italy. Julius allied with some locals, and they founded the city of Alba Longa in a place today known as Castel Gandolfo, a resort city so nice that’s where the Pope spends his summers and, let’s face it, he has a choice. Julius’ grandson was Numitor, and of course he was king of Alba Longa. Sadly, Numitor was deposed by his brother Amulius; Numitor barely escaped with his life and had to hide for many years.

Like lots of ancient usurpers, Amulius had a big family to deal with. Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, he figured he could get rid of by making her a Vestal Virgin, because the Vestal Virgins were forbidden to marry, so that would mean she wouldn’t have any pesky offspring to be rival claimants to his throne. Unfortunately, Mars (the war god) took a liking to Rhea, and you know what happens when gods start flirting with pretty human women, being all handsome and masculine. Yadda yadda yadda, and next thing you know, Rhea is pregnant. With twins. She has the boys, and names them Romulus and Remus.

Well, this is just what Amulius had feared. So while he couldn’t bring himself to kill his niece, he apparently didn’t possess similar compunctions about infanticide, and he ordered the babies put in a basket and floated down the river, where presumably they would die of exposure. They washed up on a hill well downstream, where a she-wolf finds them and brings them into the grotto where she lives.

Eventually, a shepherd named Faustulus finds the boys, and he and his wife raise them. They organize the shepherds of the area, and quickly come to the attention of evil old King Numitor. His men capture Remus, but Romulus led a rescue party and freed him, and from there the brothers led the locals against the usurper Amulius, and restored the throne to their grandfather.

They decided that this running-a-kingdom business looked like it had some advantages, so they figured they’d start a kingdom of their own. They went back to the place where the she-wolf had cared for them, and built some huts and set up a toll booth for the river crossing. They had many other adventures, which ultimately didn’t work out so good for Remus, and we’ll talk about that some other time. Point is, the town got named for Romulus, and it’s still there to this day, filled with delightful seafood restaurants and a network of absolutely terrifying taxicab drivers.

A cool old legend? Sure. But now we know exactly where it (supposedly) happened. Archaeologists have recently found the grotto, with the original first-century frescoes, where Romulus and Remus and the she-wolf were worshiped by the Romans and where legend says that the she-wolf suckled and cared for the twins. They can’t go in themselves, yet, because that would probably destroy the place. Fortunately, modern technology lets them send in boroscopes, lasers, and probably robots pretty soon.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

One Comment

  1. Scientists are finding many of these old legends to be true. As many know there are societies that have no written records and history is passed from generation to generation by words (or music).Who knows what we may find proof of? Smurfs?

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