How did Rome begin?

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Founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, being fed by a she-wolf
Founders of Rome, Romulus and
Remus, being fed by a she-wolf

The stuff of legend

According to legend the city of Rome was started in April 753 B.C. by twin boys named Romulus (Born circa 771 B.C., Died July 5th, circa 717 B.C.) and Remus (Born circa 771 B.C., Died April 21nd, circa 753 B.C.). It was said they were descendants of prince Aeneas.

After they were born, according to stories passed on from generation to generation, the two future founders of Rome were laid near Tiber's banks, within a cradle, to avoid being killed. As the river's water rose, because of the tides, the two infants were taken downstream. They are then found by the god of the river and placed on top of Palatine Hill. A female wolf finds the babies and, with the help of a woodpecker, nurses and feeds them back to health. A shepherd ultimately finds the children and takes them home.

A city set on seven hills

In the years before the appearance of Jesus, it was very common to refer to Rome as the city built on seven hills. When Romulus and Remus desired to construct a city near the Tibur (Tiber) River (which would afford protection from both pirates and from being attacking by an enemy fleet), legend states it was decided that it should be founded on seven hills. Seven, even in the Bible, is considered symbolic of 'perfect completion.' Rome's founders wanted the world to know that the city was destined to become great, powerful and very influential.

Rome's seven hills are, from the Northern-most then going east, are the Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, Aventine, Capitoline and the hill near the middle of the city, Palatine. Not counted among the famed seven hills (which all lie east of the Tiber) is one called Vatican, which lies west of the river. It is on this hill that the Roman Catholic Church, in the year 1506 A.D., began constructing St. Peter's Basilica.

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Rome is not the only city in history built on (or historically considered founded upon) 7 hills. Other seven-hilled cities include Babylon, Jerusalem, Moscow, Mecca, Lisbon and Amman.

King of the city

Romulus, from whom the city's name may have been derived, killed his brother in an argument over who was going to be sole ruler. He became the first in a line of 7 kings who would rule.

It is believed Romulus began not only the city's Senate but also its Legion. He also expanded the population of the city by taking females from the nearby Sabine tribes, which would ultimately result in the Romans and Sabines becoming one people. Soon after he died the people deified Romulus in the form of the pagan god Quirinus.

It is from such beginnings that the city of Rome grew into a Republic in 509, and then transformed again into the capital of the mighty Roman Empire starting with the rule of Emperor Augustus in 27 B.C. The Empire's lasting legacy is felt in its influence in such diverse areas as art, architecture, law, language and others.

Additional Study Materials
Roman Provinces and the New Testament
What was Rome's MOST Important Road?
Map of the empire under Constantine the Great
What did Christians think of Roman games?
Picture of the Roman Forum
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