On the 21st April 753 BC, the ancient city of Rome was founded.  You may already be familiar with the Italian myth of Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf.  The story goes that, as adults, they decided to establish a new city but disagreed on the location.  After a quarrel about the walls, Remus was killed by his brother and so Romulus named the city after himself.

The foundation myth became quite commonly accepted by ancient historians, although modern scholars disagree.  However, they virtually all accept that Rome began on the 21st April.  The precise date seems implausible at first glance, but there’s a clear reason that it is used.

The ancient Roman scholar, Marcus Terentius Varro, is the person who pinpointed the founding of Rome to 21st April 753 BC.  He created a timeline of Roman history by using a combination of a list of Roman consuls, together with a little bit of historical license to allow for periods of dictatorial rule.  Therefore Varro’s timeline is known to be slightly inaccurate, but nobody has ever provided sufficiently trustworthy evidence to propose a different calendar.  Therefore his system is accepted as the standard chronology.

Despite the inaccuracies of Varro’s work the recent discovery of ancient walls on Palatine Hill in Rome support the legend that Romulus plowed a furrow to mark his new city.  The walls have also been dated to the 8th Century BC, broadly supporting the chronology of Varro’s calendar.

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