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FACTBOX: Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome

(Reuters) - Italian archaeologists believe they have found the cave where a wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome, according to legend.

Here are a few facts on Romulus and Remus:

* The twins were said to have been born around 771 BC and appear in Roman mythology as the twin sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars.

* As soon as they were born the pair were placed in a trough and thrown into the River Tiber, in a form of quasi-infanticide tolerated in many ancient cultures when children were unwanted. The trough came ashore and they were found by a wolf who fed them with her milk.

* They were then raised by a shepherd, Faustulus. Reaching adulthood the twins decided to found a town, and chose the place where the wolf had nursed them. Romulus began to build walls on the Palatine Hill, but Remus jeered at the low walls, leaping over them, and an angry Romulus killed him. Not having enough wives for his men, Romulus decided to steal women from the Sabines, an Italian tribe. He held a festival inviting Sabines to it and then carried off the women. This was the “Rape of the Sabine women”, which later became a subject for painters.

* The Sabine made war on Romulus. The fighting ended when the Sabine women, who had grown fond of their Roman husbands, rushed between the fighters and begged both sides to make peace.

* Romulus is alleged not to have died, just disappeared one day in a violent storm. The Romans, believing he had been taken up to heaven, worshipped him under the name of Quirinus.

Writing by London Editorial Reference Unit

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