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Chapter Twenty-Three Lecture One. Legends of Early Rome. Legends of Early Rome. Venus the mother of Aeneas, the ancestor of the Roman people But Mars also was a progenitor Through Romulus and Remus Presided over war, a constant companion of Rome. Legends of the Roman Monarchy.

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Chapter Twenty-ThreeLecture One

Legends of Early Rome


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Legends of Early Rome

  • Venus the mother of Aeneas, the ancestor of the Roman people

  • But Mars also was a progenitor

    • Through Romulus and Remus

    • Presided over war, a constant companion of Rome



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Romulus and Remus

  • Aeneas founds Lavinium (about 1200 BC)

  • Iulus, his son, founds Alba Longa

  • There follows a secession of kings

    • 450

  • Romulus and Remus found Rome (about 750 BC)

  • Recounted up by the historian Livy (Ab Urbe Condita)


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Romulus and Remus

  • King Proca

    • Sons: Numitor and Amulius

  • Numitor, the heir, driven into exile by brother

  • Amulius kills all Numitor’s sons and forces his daughter, Rhea Silvia, to become a Vestal virgin


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Romulus and Remus

  • Rhea Silva gives birth to twins by Mars, she said

  • She’s imprisoned and the boys thrown into the Tiber in a basket

  • Ficus Ruminalis

    • Romular

  • The she-wolf

  • Faustulus


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Romulus and Remus

  • Original myth or consciously modeled after Greek myths

  • Has many Latin words in the story

  • But like other abandoned heroes and twins in Greek and other earlier myths

    • Mother imprisoned like Danaë

    • Conflicts between brothers etc.


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Romulus and Remus

  • Twins grow up hunting, as per usual

  • Remus captured as a bandit and brought to Numitor

  • The two unite and kill Amulius

  • The two found different towns

  • Later they quarrel and Romulus kills Remus

    • Hence the settlement is called “Rome”



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Rape of the Sabine Women

  • Women of nearby city of the Sabines kidnapped at a festival at Rome

  • They are mollified by assurances that they will be treated as respectable wives

  • Perhaps a reflection of historical reality of exchange of women?



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Titus Tatius, Tarpeia, the Death of Romulus

  • King of the Sabines, Titus Tatius, attacks Rome

  • Rome nearly betrayed by Tarpeia

    • Later, the Tarpeian Rock

  • The Sabine women stop the final battle

  • Romulus “disappears” in a storm



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Becoming a God at Rome

  • Apotheosis of Romulus sets pattern for the cult of Roman emperors later

    • So also do the myths of Hercules and the Dioscuri

  • E.g., Caesar and Augustus, like other heroes, were descended from a god, Venus

  • Became “divine” after a vote of the Senate


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Becoming a God at Rome

  • Less power than an Olympian

  • Before he died and was declared divine, his “cult” was to his genius

    • numen that dwelled in him

  • Became more common and brazen after Caesar and Augustus

    • Not all were deified


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Becoming a God at Rome

  • The imperial cult provided political stability and unity

  • Refusal to participate was considered treasonous

    • Early Christians and some Jews opposed all aspects of it



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Horatii and the Curatii

  • Rome founded in 753 B.C.

  • Four Romano-Sabine kings

  • Three Etruscan kings

  • The combat between the three Horatii (Roman) and the three Curatii (Alba Longa)

    • The surviving Horatius kills his own sister for grieving the loss of her fiancé Curatius and is acquitted



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