Romulus and Remus, legendary founders of Rome, are the most famous twins in history and, together with a she-wolf, they are the symbol of the city.
Although there are many variations, the story of how R&R founded the city of Rome goes as follows. After the collapse of Troy, Aeneas (son of Anchises and Aphrodite) and a small band of his fellow Trojans spent years wandering across the Mediterranean. They finally settled in Italy on the banks of the river Tiber, not far from the sea.
In time Aeneas' son, Ascanius, founded the city of Alba Longa, 12 miles to the southeast of Rome. He was succeeded by Numitor, who was usurped by his younger brother Amulius. Amulius imprisoned Numitor and forced Rhea Silvia, his brother's daughter, to become a Vestal Virgin. Her sanctity did not stop her from being seduced by the God Mars, who fathered on her the twins, Romulus and Remus. Amulius instantly ordered their death, but the servant charged with the task did not have the courage to commit such a heinous crime. Instead, he put the twins into a wicker basket, which he floated down the Tiber.
R & R came ashore at the foot of the Palatine hill where they were suckled by a lupa (she-wolf). They were then discovered by a shepherd called Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia, who adopted the twins. As soon as the boys grew up, they returned to Alba Longa, where they killed Amulius, and restored their grandfather to his throne.
The twins then decided to found a new city and chose, as the site, the spot where they had been found by the she-wolf. However they disagreed as to which of the famous seven hills their new city should be built on; Romulus preferred the Palatine, while Remus opted for the Aventine.
And so they decided to resolve the disagreement by resorting to the long-established tradition of augury, the interpretation of omens from the observed flight of birds. Remus was the first to see a flock of six birds flying past, which he took to be a promising sign, but shortly afterwards, Romulus trumped this by seeing a flock of twelve birds.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
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