When the twin brothers were growing into manhood, there was a fight between the shepherds of Numitor and Amulius, in which Romulus and Remus did such brave feats that they were led before Numitor. He enquired into their birth, and their foster-father told the story of his finding them, showing the trough in which they had been laid; and thus it became plain that they were the grandsons of Numitor. On finding this out, they collected an army, with which they drove away Amulius, and brought their grandfather back to Alba Longa.
They then resolved to build a new city for themselves on one of the seven low hills beneath which ran the yellow river Tiber; but they were not agreed on which hill to build, Remus wanting to build on the Aventine Hill, and Romulus on the Palatine. Their grandfather advised them to watch for omens from the gods, so each stood on his hill and watched for birds. Remus was the first to see six vultures flying, but Romulus saw twelve, and therefore the Palatine Hill was made the beginning of the city, and Romulus was chosen king. Remus was affronted, and when the mud wall was being raised around the space intended for the city, he leapt over it and laughed, whereupon Romulus struck him dead, crying out, “So perish all who leap over the walls of my city.”
[Illustration: Gladiatorial shows at A banquet]
Romulus traced out the form of the city with the plough, and made it almost a square. He called the name of it Rome, and lived in the midst of it in a mud-hovel, covered with thatch, in the midst of about fifty families of the old Trojan race, and a great many young men, outlaws and runaways from the neighboring states, who had joined him. The date of the building of Rome was supposed to be A.D. 753; and the Romans counted their years from it, as the Greeks did from the Olympiads, marking the date A.U.C., anno urbis conditae, the year of the city being built. The youths who joined Romulus could not marry, as no one of the neighboring nations would give his daughter to one of these robbers, as they were esteemed. The nearest neighbors to Rome were the Sabines, and the Romans cast their eyes in vain on the Sabine ladies, till old Numitor advised Romulus to proclaim a great feast in honor of Neptune, with games and dances. All the people in the country round came to it, and when the revelry was at its height each of the unwedded Romans seized on a Sabine maiden and carried her away to his own house. Six hundred and eighty-three girls were thus seized, and the next day Romulus married them all after the fashion ever after observed in Rome. There was a great sacrifice, then each damsel was told, “Partake of your husband’s fire and water;” he gave her a ring, and carried her over his threshold, where a sheepskin was spread, to show that her duty would be to spin wool for him, and she became his wife.
[Illustration: The Forum.]