Ancient Walls Show That Rome Is Older Than Legend

Romulus and Remus were 100 years late to the party

Roman Forum
Roman Forum Stefan Deutsch/Westend61/Corbis

According to legend, Romulus and Remus founded the city of Rome on April 21, 753 B.C. That would make next week the city's 2,767th birthday celebration. But, recently, archaeologists found new evidence that the mythology surrounding the founding of the city just isn’t factually correct. 

Working at the Roman Forum, though, researchers uncovered a stone wall, and pieces of pottery that date back to at least 100 years before the wolf-raised twin sons of Mars supposedly founded the city. (That traditional founding date is sometimes attributed to 1st century B.C. historian Marcus Terentius Varro.)

From the Guardian

"The examination of the ceramic material was crucial, allowing us today to fix the wall chronologically between the 9th century and the beginning of the 8th century," said Fortini.

It was already known that the settlement of Rome was a gradual process and that the traditional date for its foundation was invented by a later writer. There is evidence of people arriving on the Palatine hill as early as the 10th century BC.

While it is always a downer when fabled stories don’t match up with the facts, Rome isn’t going to let the new discovery stand in the way of the city's birthday celebrations. There will still be a procession of over 1,600 people through the capitol on April 21, with plenty of rituals, pomp and circumstance.

And why not? When a city is a few millennia old, what’s a century here and there?  

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