Skip to comments.Sanctuary of Rome's 'Founder' Revealed
Posted on 11/20/2007 10:08:23 AM PST by Pyro7480
ROME - Archaeologists on Tuesday unveiled an underground grotto believed to have been revered by ancient Romans as the place where a wolf nursed the city's legendary founder Romulus and his twin brother Remus.
Decorated with seashells and colored marble, the vaulted sanctuary is buried 52 feet inside the Palatine hill, the palatial center of power in imperial Rome, the archaeologists said at a news conference.
In the past two years, experts have been probing the space with endoscopes and laser scanners, fearing that the fragile grotto, already partially caved-in, would not survive a full-scale dig, said Giorgio Croci, an engineer who worked on the site.
The archaeologists are convinced that they have found the place of worship where Romans believed a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god of war Mars who were abandoned in a basket and left adrift on the Tiber.
Thanks to the wolf, a symbol of Rome to this day, the twins survived, and Romulus founded the city, becoming its first king after killing Remus in a power struggle.
Ancient texts say the grotto known as the "Lupercale"_ from "lupa," Latin for she-wolf was near the palace of Augustus, Rome's first emperor, who was said to have restored it, and was decorated with a white eagle.
That symbol of the Roman Empire was found atop the sanctuary's vault, which lies just below the ruins of the palace built by Augustus, said Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the Palatine and the nearby Roman Forum.
Augustus, who ruled from the late 1st century B.C. to his death in the year 14, was keen on being close to the places of Rome's mythical foundation and used the city's religious traditions to bolster his hold on power, Iacopi said.
"The Lupercale must have had an important role in Augustus' policies," she said. "He saw himself as a new Romulus."
Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's La Sapienza University and an expert on the Palatine, said the grotto is almost certainly the "Lupercale."
"The chances that it's not are minimal," said Carandini, who did not take part in the dig. "It's one of the greatest discoveries ever made."
Most of the sanctuary is filled with earth, but laser scans allowed experts to estimate that the circular structure has a height of 26 feet and a diameter of 24 feet, Croci said.
Archaeologists at the news conference were divided on how to gain access to the "Lupercale."
Iacopi said a new dig would start soon to find the grotto's original entrance at the bottom of the hill. Carandini suggested enlarging the hole at the top through which probes have been lowered so far, saying that burrowing at the base of the hill could disturb the foundations of other ruins.
The Palatine is honeycombed with palaces and other ancient monuments, from the 8th-century B.C. remains of Rome's first fledgling huts to a medieval fortress and Renaissance villas. But the remains are fragile and plagued by collapses, leaving more than half of the hill, including Augustus' palace, closed to the public.
Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said the first area to benefit from an extensive, $17.5 million restoration of the hills' ruins will be Augustus' palace, scheduled to reopen in February after being closed for decades.
More Clues in the Legend (or Is It Fact?) of Romulus[Rome]
The New York Times | 12 June 2007 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Posted on 06/13/2007 9:21:26 AM EDT by BGHater
even more pictures:
Mythical Roman cave ‘unearthed’[Cave of Romulus and Remus?]
BBC | 20 Nov 2007 | BBC
Posted on 11/20/2007 3:47:31 PM EST by BGHater
Thanks Pyro7480, BGHater, and GovernmentIsTheProblem.
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Wow...great recent shot! Thanks.
“Or that this is the REAL location of a fictional event?”
Troy was thought to be a fictional event. I think that behind every story is a kernel of truth and I don’t think the Romulus/Remus story is so far out that its beyond the realm of credibility.
If they ever take over Europe, we can kiss good-by to everything from Tara to the Acropolis.
Lupa can mean she-wolf or female prostitute.
Very nice, but wrong city - Naples.
Actually, Aeneas was supposed to have married a Latin Princess, Lavinia, who came from a place called Laurentium and was the daughter of King Latinus. His son supposedly founded a city called Alba Longa from which Romulus and Remus have come. Alba Longa did exist. It was destrooyed by the Romans in an early war and its population incorporated into Rome. Some Net site I was on said they think they have found the cemetary for Alba Longa, but there are no ruins yet located. It was near the Alban Lake.
“The Romans were hilarious in that regard. They literally invented their founding mythology, knowing damn well what their origins really were: A minor Latin tribe ruled over by the Etruscans.”
Part of what you say is true, but there is substance to waht they state. The Romans were NOT Etruscans and Etruscan was not an Indo-European Language. They may have had Etruscan rulers, but according to their history - and they were closer to the event than you are, they kicked them out. The fact that the Romans spoke Latin and not Etruscan bears this out.
Augustus certainly had his own political agenda - things don’t change. And I doubt if his family was directly decedended from the Trojans - they were iconoclasts. But the Aeneid is based on langends and stories the Romans themselves believed long before Augustus was born.
This is what I remembered...
Unearthing Rome’s King (Numa Pompilius)
Times | 10-8-2007 | Richard Owen
Posted on 10/08/2007 7:43:40 PM EDT by blam
and here’s some more:
Emperor Maxentius insignia found in Rome
AP on Yahoo | 12/3/06 | Marta Falconi - ap
Posted on 12/03/2006 2:57:26 PM EST by NormsRevenge
Rome’s Palatine Hill shows new treasures
AP via Yahoo! | 1-23-07 | Ariel David
Posted on 01/23/2007 8:07:37 PM EST by Dysart
Emperor’s Treasures Found (Maxentius)
The Times Online | 1-31-2007 | Richard Owen
Posted on 01/31/2007 5:21:08 PM EST by blam
Scholars Unearth Mystery (Romans)
Rocky Mountain News | 2-13-2006 | Jim Erickson
Posted on 02/19/2006 7:46:32 PM EST by blam
Ancient Rome is rebuilt digitally
Associated Press | 6 minutes ago | Ariel David
Posted on 06/11/2007 5:21:35 PM EDT by BenLurkin
Wow, nice travel tip!
They were happy to get her.
Legendary...yeah; that’s me.
Thanks for the information. A few more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place.
So would I. Even now.
Its all in the Aeneid.