The official date for the founding of the city of Rome is 21 April 753BC.
Rome was a forested settlement and something of a pastoral idyll, full of shepherds and nymphs. Shepherds, anyway.
It is famous for its seven hills – but has more hills than seven, as you will find if you spend as much time walking round it as I do.
Founding of Rome – the myth
The story of twin boys being placed in a basket and launched down the River Tiber to be discovered and suckled by a she-wolf is legendary. The place where the infants washed up on the bank of the River Tiber now forms part of the boundary of the ancient Campus Martius.
Rome was supposedly founded after the mythical twins Romulus and Remus fought and Romulus killed his twin brother and named the city after himself.
Th twins were descended from the mythical hero Aeneas – hero of Virgil’s The Aeneid – and this lineage was used by Julius Caesar to shore up his own lineage, claiming that he was a direct descendant of the founders of Rome, who were the sons of the nymph Rhea Silva and either Mars or Hercules.
Rome as a settlement can be traced archaeologically to around 14,000 years ago. Coincidentally, this is around the same time as the first recorded military engagements in history – appropriate for an empire that became one of the most effective military machines in the world.
The Roman Empire spread from Rome to Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Europe, as well as Great Britain.
The Roman governors and generals also married the daughters of local rulers across the globe, or married their own daughters to local rulers – including in Syria, Africa and Spain. So if you have Roman heritage, as I do, you will most likely have a very diverse set of ancestors!
Celebrations for Rome’s birthday
In Rome itself, on the Sunday nearest to 21 April, there is a parade from the Circus Maximus to the Colosseum and Campidoglio – what we know as the Capitoline Hill, where the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument is now located, marking the unification of Italy.
But Natale di Roma is a day of peace in the Eternal City – when Romans get together to mark the origins of Rome and one of the greatest civilisations in history.
The birthday of Rome is known as Natale di Roma in Italy – and the celebrations include a trench-digging event at the Circus Maximus, known as tracciato del solco. People also dress up and, of course, there will be gladiators and legionnaires aplenty!
Calculating the date of Rome’s founding
The date of the founding of Rome was calculated by the astrologer Tarunzio, who was a friend of Cicero, a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, before the Emperor Constantine introduced Christianity into the Roman Empire. Sadly Cicero was assassinated on 7 December 43 BC, the year after Julius Caesar’s death. Happily, Rome survives to this day for us to enjoy.
Rome is governed by the God of War, Mars – its horoscope sign should be Aries (20 March-20 April), which is of course, governed by Mars; but its birthday on 21 April makes it a Taurean, sign of the bull. It is also a sign that apparently is fond of singing, dancing, drinking, eating and amor, as well as being bullish and bucolic. Taureans can also be very beautiful and fond of creating a home.
Rome also shares its birthday with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, one of the longest rulers in history, who will celebrate her ninety-third birthday this year. Happy birthday!
The sign of Taurus seems to suit Rome rather well!
Happy birthday Roma – buon compleanno! You’re looking good!
Want to go to Rome now?
To celebrate Rome’s birthday and Easter this year, the ROME ALONE series is free to download on 21 and 22 April at Amazon Kindle.
DOWNLOAD THE ROME ALONE SERIES
The ROME ALONE series contains humour, sexual content and adult themes which some may find upsetting.
Download ROME ALONE
Download ROME AGAIN
Download VERONA ALONE
Download VERONA AGAIN
Coming next – ROME AT LAST & VERONA AT LAST – the final two books in the series.
All images copyright A. Meredith except Mars Ultra and featured image, Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, Vatican City. (Creative Commons Licence)