Tomb of Romulus, King Raised by a Wolf, Possibly Found in Roman Forum!
In Roman mythology, Romulus and his twin brother Remus were sons of Rhea Silvia, but Amulius, king of Alba Longa, ordered that the infants, twin grandnephews, be murdered. Their mother placed her twins in a basket on the River Tiber and under a fig tree a she-wolf suckled and raised the brothers.
When the boys grew up and learned of their true ancestry they overthrew Amulius but Romulus later killed Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill in 753 BC. And now, archaeologists think they might have found the burial place of Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome.
An Extraordinary Discovery For Rome
The ancient tomb was discovered in an underground temple buried beneath the entrance stairway to the curia in the Roman Forum in an area that archaeologists know was devoted to the legendary 6th century BC king, Romulus. The rock sarcophagus measures 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) long and the director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park Alfonsina Russo told The Times that the discovery was “extraordinary”.
The rock sarcophagus found in what is believed to be Romulus’ tomb was discovered buried beneath the entrance stairway to the curia. (Noppasinw / Adobe Stock)
According to Fox News, Mayor Virginia Raggi was so impressed with the discovery that she thanked the team of scientists who conducted the research in a Tweet reading:
“Rome always marvels with its treasures. Inside the Roman Forum new exciting archaeological discovery: a hypogeum with a tuff sarcophagus from the 6th century BC. Thanks to a team of scholars who conducted the research.”
The discovery will be officially unveiled by the Colosseum Archaeological Park this coming Friday however, no human remains were discovered inside the coffin making it difficult to verify the claims that it was the burial tomb of the founder and first king of Rome - Romulus.
Peeling Back The Forum’s Layers
The Roman Forum is situated between Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill and this vast rectangular plaza was surrounded by important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. According to Horace Marucchi’s 1906 work, The Roman Forum and the Palatine According to the Latest Discoveries, the forum began with an alliance between Romulus, the first king of Rome controlling the Palatine Hill, and his rival Titus Tatius who occupied the Capitoline Hill.
Rendering of the Roman Forum as it may have appeared during the Late Empire. (Angerdan / CC BY-SA 3.0)
Historians believe people first began meeting in the forum around 500 BC when the Roman Republic was founded and the grandest building is the Temple of Julius Caesar which was built in the years after this legendary leader was murdered in 44 BC. According to Andreas Steiner, editor of the magazine Archeo, the newly discovered underground temple was found buried near “the Lapis Niger”, which is an ancient black shrine in the Roman Forum beneath the entrance stairway to the curia.
Beneath The Black Shrine Of The Ancient Occultists
The curia housed assemblies, councils, and courts in which public, official, and religious issues were discussed, especially by the senate. Ms. Russo told press that the temple's altar had been positioned where “ancient Romans believed Romulus was buried”, but no bones were found inside the coffin to verify if the tomb belonged to King Romulus.
The Lapis Niger (Black Stone) shrine in the Roman Forum was rediscovered and excavated from 1899 to 1905 by Italian archaeologist Giacomo Boni and this ancient shrine is the only surviving remnants of the old Comitium, an early archaic cult site of the 7th or 8th century BC, predating the forum. The location is mentioned in the earliest writings as a suggestum where the early kings of Rome communicated with crowds at the forum and to the senate.
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Drawing of the excavated Lapis Niger in the Roman Forum. (Vittalio / Public Domain)
An ancient altar and stone block holds one of the earliest known Latin inscriptions (c. 570–550 BC) and includes the word rex: meaning either “a king” or to the rex sacrorum, a high religious official, and a Greek inscription stating the sacred ground “must not be disturbed”. According to De Verborum Significatione, ancient Romans believed the Lapis Niger marked either the grave of the first king of Rome, Romulus, or the spot where he was slain by the senate, or the location where Faustulus, the foster father of Romulus fell in battle.
Reproduction of the Lapis Niger stone block with the inscription in Old Latin. (Sailko / CC BY-SA 3.0)
By Ashley Cowie