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The 21 April 753 BC is the birthdate of Rome. 

Rome is 2768 years old, not as old as Athens but certainly outshines it in terms of history of the Occidental World. Despite the fact that Greece gave us Philosophy, Democracy, Theatre,

Rome built on those gifts and we live with her legacy. Tu non vedrai nessuna cosa al mondo maggior di Roma!

Aeneas_and_his_Father_Fleeing_Troy_by_Simon_Vouet,_San_Diego_Museum_of_Art 

Aeneas, his father and family flees burning Troy.

The national epic of mythical Rome, the Aeneid of Virgil, tells the story of how the Trojan prince Aeneas came to Italy. The Aeneid was written under Augustus, who claimed ancestry through Julius Caesar from the hero Aeneas and his mother Venus. According to the Aeneid, the survivors from the fallen city of Troy banded together under Aeneas, underwent a series of adventures around the Mediterranean Sea, including a stop at newly founded Carthage under the rule of Queen Dido, and eventually reached the Italian coast. The Trojans were thought to have landed in an area between modern Anzio and Fiumicino, southwest of Rome: probably at Laurentum, or in other versions, at Lavinium, a place named for Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus, whom Aeneas married. The Trojans won the right to stay and to assimilate with the local peoples. The young son of Aeneas, Ascanius, also known as Iulus, went on to found Alba Longa and the line of Alban kings who filled the chronological gap between the Trojan saga and the traditional founding of Rome in the 8th century BC.

Toward the end of this line, King Procas was the father of Numitor and Amulius. At Procas’ death, Numitor became king of Alba Longa, but Amulius captured him and sent him to prison; he also forced the daughter of Numitor, Rhea Silvia, to become a virgin priestess among the Vestals. For many years Amulius was then the king. The tortuous nature of the chronology is indicated by Rhea Silvia’s ordination among the Vestals, whose order was traditionally said to have been founded by the successor of Romulus, Numa Pompilius. The myth of Aeneas, Greek in origin, had to be reconciled with the Italian myth of Romulus and Remus, who, taken as historical figures. They were purported to be sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars, the god of war. Because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle Amulius, who had overthrown Silvia’s father Numitor, they were, in the manner of many mythological heroes, abandoned at birth; in this case, on the Tiber River by servants who took pity on the infants, despite their orders to get rid of them. The twins were nurtured by a she-wolf until a shepherd named Faustulus found and took Romulus and Remus as his sons. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When Remus and Romulus became adults, they killed Amulius and restored Numitor. They decided to establish a city; however, they quarreled, and Romulus killed his brother. Thus Rome began with a fratricide. The name of the city is generally considered to refer to Romulus, but there are other hypotheses. Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggested Greek “ῥώμη” (“rhōmē”), meaning “strength, vigor”. Another hypothesis refers the name to Roma, who supposedly was the daughter of Aeneas or Evander.  A modern theory of etymology holds that the name of the city (and perhaps the city itself, though this cannot be proven) is of Etruscan origin, deriving from rumon, “river”. The name “Romulus” was derived from the word “Rome”. The suffix “-ulus” is masculine and a diminutive, so “Romulus” means “the little boy from Rome.”

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The original Italian people inhabited the Alban Hills. They later moved down into the valleys, which provided better land for agriculture. The area around the Tiber river was particularly advantageous and offered notable strategic resources: the river was a natural border on one side, and the hills could provide a safe defensive position on the other side. This position would also have enabled the Latins to control the river and the commercial and military traffic on it from the natural observation point at Isola Tiberina. Moreover, road traffic could be controlled since Rome was at the intersection of the principal roads to the sea coming from Sabinum (in the northeast) and Etruria (to the northwest). The development of the town is presumed to have started from the development of separate small villages, located at the tops of hills, that eventually accreted to form Rome. In any case, the location that was to become the city of Rome was inhabited by Latin settlers from various regions, farmers and pastoralists, as evidenced by differences in pottery and burial techniques. Although recent studies suggest that the Quirinal hill was very important in ancient times, the first hill to be inhabited seems to have been the Palatine (therefore confirming the legend), which is also at the center of ancient Rome.

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