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Unusual celestial or weather phenomena heralded supernatural disappearances in the classical world. What became of the Roman leader Romulus?  Deriv; Solar Eclipse (Flickr/CC BY 2.0), and Roman Statue (Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Ancient Vanishings: The mysterious and supernatural disappearance of Romulus


In 753 BC, two twins, Romulus and Remus, founded the city of Rome, and Romulus became the ruler of the city and reigned for 39 years. The identity of the two brothers has both historical and legendary character. According to legend, the two were sons of Mars, the god of war, and they were breastfed and brought up by a she-wolf. History says that, at that time, many men were looked upon as "sons of Mars" and instead of the romantic background, Romulus and Remus had likely been raised by a prostitute. Prostitutes were nicknamed “Lupae” (she-wolves) in ancient Rome.

Sculpture of the Capitolene Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy (Public Domain)

The Disappearance of Romulus

But one of the brothers disappeared mysteriously from the pages of history. On July 7, 714 BCE, while he was in the temple of Vulcan to give some instructions to his senators, Romulus disappeared without a trace.

In his work, “ A History of Rome from Its Origins Up to the Year 9 BC”, the historian Livy mentions:

One day, when he was inspecting the troops on the Field of Mars, near to the Goat Marsh, a storm erupted with deafening thunders. Romulus was surrounded by a cloud so thick that it hid him from the eyes of all those present and from that moment on he was never spotted again anywhere in the world”.

Other reports describe the mysterious disappearance of Romulus.

Some accounts place the event on the May 26 when a solar eclipse took place. In the case of many supernatural vanishings, these disappearances were believed to have been predicted or accompanied by extreme weather phenomena. This was the belief of Plutarch, as he describes as follows:

In that circumstance, the air suddenly got thicker and changed miraculously, sunlight diminished and all were engulfed by a surprising darkness, accompanied by terrifying thunder and storm. Then the crowd dispersed and run away, but the nobility gathered forming a separate group. When the storm was over and light was restored, the people returned to their seats and inquired, full of fear, where the king was, but he could no longer be found”.

Romulus, Victor over Acron, hauls the rich booty to the temple of Jupiter. (Public Domain)

Romulus, Victor over Acron, hauls the rich booty to the temple of Jupiter. (Public Domain)

Assassinated by Senators?

At the time there were rumors and speculations started by those who believed that Romulus had been killed by the senators. They argued that the senators, tired of his leadership, had killed him and cut the body into small enough pieces so that they could be hidden under their clothing and dumped somewhere where the evidence would never be found. But, he vanished so quickly that the short period of time did not permit a murder and dismemberment, and the large amount of spilled blood from such an act would have been impossible to hide.

Romulus as the god Quirinus

Julius Proculus was the one who ended the string of speculations and rumors. Under oath, he declared that he had met by chance with Romulus who had reappeared in a different form. He was said to have been more distinguished and noble than ever before, and was wearing an armor that shined so bright it almost hurt the eyes.

The senator said that Romulus had addressed him by confirming his divine status: "My good Proculus, it was the will of the Gods to be here among men for a time, and, after founding a city that is to become the strongest and most glorious in the world, to go back to heaven, from whence we have come. Go now and tell the Romans that through temperance and spiritual strength they will reach the highest summit of human greatness, and I, the god Quirinus, will always be benevolent towards them”.

Romulus was never seen again, and the Romans worshiped him in the form of the god Quirinus for a thousand years.

Featured image: Unusual celestial or weather phenomena heralded supernatural disappearances in the classical world. What became of the Roman leader Romulus?  Deriv; Solar Eclipse (Flickr/CC BY 2.0), and Roman Statue (Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

By Valda Roric


Rodney Davis. “Supernatural Disappearances” 2001. Published by Robert Hale Ltd.

Rodney Davis. “Supernatural Vanishings: Otherworldly Disappearances” 1996. Published by Sterling; First Edition



This looks like story for the TV shows Forensic Files or Corrupt Crimes.  The first King of  a city-state who killed his brother & co-founder for making him look bad by jumping a defensive ditch.  Later this disappears during a storm or eclipse or another event take your pick. Rome's politics were notoriously violent & the sudden vanishing of one of Founders seems to have started this trend. Romulus's reason for killing his brother Remus may reveal something of  his personality. The fact that “She-Wolf" is cultural code for a Prostitute & that the brothers at  first raised by this 'entity’, which in most societies are not well regarded may also say something about this King.  This personality trait maybe the reason for his disappearance. And Remus might have friends &/or admirers  who may have disliked Romulus to the point where they have had enough; & it was time for him to go.  The first king of Rome it seems was slain during a special event when most of the citizens were distracted.  His body disposed of & the assasins kept their mouths shut (unlike the killers of Julius Ceasar). This is certainly worthy of the future Mafia.  I can guess who one of the King-Killers was: Julius Proculus who spins a story that sounds something similar to the 'Fish wrapped in Newspaper’ ie: He's sleeping with the Fishes! Well, in this case the King now Resides with the Gods! (you all may now Chuckle).

Pete Wagner's picture

Interesting insight.  And then there is that nation called Romania, which shares a border with Bulgaria, with both being very far away from Rome, sharing no borders with modern Italy.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Roman state is one of the many states ancient Bulgarians being the first people on earth, established. The very name Roman is given by the Bulgarians as one of the names of Sun God, venerated by Bulgarians. Rumen was the first name of Tiber river, on which Rom was established. Rumen means reddish, alive, vital. Latin language itself is the Bulgarian language written in a nonBulgarian alphabet.
Legends have always been part of the Bulgarian folklore.

Native's picture

This myth is a Story of Creation and not a story of “how the city of Rome was founded”. As “sons of Mars” this of course cannot be “sons of planet Mars” but sons of an archetypical deity of creation.

Mars and the she-wolff represents the two hemisphere celestial images of the Milky Way where the northern contours shows a huge male-like figure with a weapon in his hand – and where the southern Milky Way figure shows a huge female-like figure, sometimes mentioned as an animal creator and sometimes as a celestial goddess, the roman goddess Venus. This goddess often is depicted with many breasts as a symbol of life-giver and life-sustainer.

- It is very common for scholars to confuse these ancient tellings and legends, mixing the archetypical myth with geographic locations. This takes part because the interpretator haven´t the cosmological knowledge of connecting the correct myth to the correct cosmological contents. This is a huge problem in all mythical interpretation.

A Mytho-cosmological link:

valdar's picture

Valda Roric

Author of “Loki – The Trickster Unleashed” and “Supernatural in the Land of Count Dracula”, Valda Roric has always been fascinated by the supernatural. Interested in the topic, she has studied many aspects of the enigmatic. Always attempting to find... Read More

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