The Wolf, the Woodpecker and Rome… Mediterranean Ports

Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome, chow down on breakfast.

Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome, chow down on breakfast. I found this particular bas-relief near the Forum in Rome.

What better place to start my blogs about Rome than its founding? The story of Romulus and Remus has something for everyone. Think about this, but not too hard. (Grin)

Romulus and Remus were born of a Vestal Virgin who was impregnated by Mars. (It’s always good to have a convenient god around when ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ is in question.) Mom, knowing she is going to be punished… Vestal Virgins were supposed to stay virgin, places the babies in a basket and sends them floating down the Tiber. So far we are we are on familiar ground, or make that water.  Think Moses. Then things get a little weird.

A she-wolf named Lupus finds the twins and carries them off to her den, indubitably by the nape of their necks. She opts not to eat them and soon the greedy little guys are slurping away. Picus, the Woodpecker, helps out. It makes for a more balanced diet. Picus, unfortunately, rarely gets credit for his help. I found dozens of images on Google of Lupus feeding the kids but none of Picus flying in with a bug.

Eventually, life returns to normal. A poor shepherd finds the two twins in Lupus’s den and raises them as his own children. (How Lupus and Picus felt about this change of fortune is not reported. I suspect they appreciated not having to get up several times a night.) As these myths usually go, the kids grow up, discover their heritage, and hurry off to punish the person responsible for doing in mom.

Justice is served and the twins decide to found Rome. But things get nasty. They argue over which hill to build the city on. Romulus solves the problem by killing Remus and naming the city after himself. Otherwise, Rome might be Reme. After many more adventures, Romulus dies and ascends to Heaven, thus ending the story.

Bronze relief of Romulus, Remus and Lupus in Venice.

I took this photo of the well-fed kids in Venice. SPQR, by the way, stands for the Senate and the People of Rome. Mom does not look happy in either of the two photos.

NEXT BLOG: We go for a walk on the Tiber and find the Vatican. It wasn’t lost.

6 thoughts on “The Wolf, the Woodpecker and Rome… Mediterranean Ports

    • I am fascinated with history Lynne, and with mythology. I try to add tidbits to my blogs that people may find of interest. Then there is my warped sense of humor… some things just grab me, like the woodpecker. Did it regurgitate food it was feeding to Romulus and Remus? (grin)

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