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Mons Palatinus in legends of Livy

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Remus and Romulus fed by the She-wolf in the Lupercal grotto on the Palatine
Remus and Romulus fed by the She-wolf in the Lupercal grotto on the Palatine

A hill on which, according to tradition Romulus founded in 753 BCE Rome was a Palatine (Mons Palatinus). Livius derives its name from the Arcadian city of Pallanteum, from which Euander came – the first ruler of this area, who also established the Greek cult of Heracles in Italy. Why exactly the Palatine?

It was there that Remus and Romulus were thrown by the swollen Tiber, where ficus Ruminalis grew (Livius says she was once called Romulus fig). It was also on this hill that the wolf was supposed to feed babies in the Lupercal grotto. When the brothers settled the dispute over who was to name the newly founded city, Remus chose the Aventine Hill, and Romulus chose the Palatine as a place for bird watching.

The first Roman king after fortifying the hill with walls established the rites of the Albanian rite (apart from the service of Heracles, for whom he kept the Greek rite). Livy writes that the original population of the city was made up of the surplus inhabitants of Lawinium and Alba Longi – mostly shepherds. In time, when Romulus established an asylum in Rome for people who had a conflict with the law in their countries, various types of criminals and outlaws also joined them. Interestingly, archaeological research proves the existence of a shepherd settlement on the top of the Palatine Hill in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, so as you can see, each legend hides a grain of truth.

Author: Aleksander Krasowski (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Titus Livy, Ad urbe condita

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