Murus Romuli

Last updated
Comic History of Rome (1850) Remus jumping over the Walls Comic History of Rome p 007 Remus jumping over the Walls.jpg
Comic History of Rome (1850) Remus jumping over the Walls

Murus Romuli (Latin "Wall of Romulus") is the name given to a wall built to protect the Palatine Hill, the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome, in one of the oldest parts of the city of Rome. Ancient tradition holds that this wall was built by Romulus.

The Murus Romuli as remembered by ancient historians is described by Rodolfo Lanciani:

The text most frequently quoted in reference to the Murus Romuli is that of Tacitus, according to which the furrow ploughed by the hero — the sulcus primigenius — started from a point in the Forum Boarium, marked in later times by the bronze Bull of Myron; and followed the valley between the Palatine and the Aventine as far as the altar of Consus, the valley between the Palatine and the Cælian as far as the Curiæ Veteres, the east slope of the hill as far as the Sacellum Larum. The same historian says that the Ara Maxima of Hercules was included within the furrow, and Dionysius states that Vesta's temple was outside it. The furrow followed the foot of the cliffs or slopes of the Palatine, its course being marked with stone cippi. Others affirm that the city of Romulus was square (τετράγωνος — Roma Quadrata). The truth is that neither the walls nor the pomerium of Romulus can be said to make a square; that a line drawn from beyond the Ara Maxima to the Ara Consi cannot be said to go "along the foot of the cliffs of the Palatine" (per ima montis Palatini); that the valley in those days was covered with water, deep enough to be navigated by canoes, so that neither a furrow could be ploughed through it, nor stone cippi set up to mark the line of the furrow. Moreover, the same marshes extended on the southeast side as far as the Curiæ Veteres, on the northwest as far as the Temple of Vesta; and the shape of the Palatine walls was rather trapezoid, like that of a terramara of the valley of the Po, than square like an Etruscan templum; while, lastly, the name of Roma Quadrata did not belong to the city on the hill, but to the altar described in Pagan and Christian Rome, p. 70, which stood in front of the Temple of Apollo. [1]

Though most often believed to be purely a figure of myth, Romulus is believed by some scholars, such as Andrea Carandini, to have been an actual historical figure, [2] [3] in part because of the 1988 discovery on the north slope of the Palatine Hill of what they believe is the defensive wall built when Rome was founded. These archaeologists contend that the discovery of the wall, along with other nearby finds, indicate that Rome emerged as a dynamic society in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., significantly earlier than had been previously calculated. [4]

Related Research Articles

Founding of Rome Mythical tale

The tale of the founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves as the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf as infants in the 8th century BC. Another account, set earlier in time, claims that the Roman people are descended from Trojan War hero Aeneas, who escaped to Italy after the war, and whose son, Iulus, was the ancestor of the family of Julius Caesar. The archaeological evidence of human occupation of the area of modern-day Rome, Italy dates from about 14,000 years ago.

Romulus and Remus twin brothers and central characters of Romes foundation myth

In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus are twin brothers whose story tells the events that led to the founding of the city of Rome and the Roman Kingdom by Romulus. The killing of Remus by his brother, along with other tales from their story, have inspired artists throughout the ages. Since ancient times, the image of the twins being suckled by a she-wolf has been a symbol of the city of Rome and the ancient Romans. Although the tale takes place before the founding of Rome around 750 BC, the earliest known written account of the myth is from the late 3rd century BC. Possible historical basis for the story, as well as whether the twins' myth was an original part of Roman myth or a later development, is a subject of ongoing debate.

Roman Forum Archaeological site in Rome, Italy

The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

The Aventine Hill is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome. The part of the city that stands on it is sometimes referred to as Reme, or Ream.

Palatine Hill Centremost of the seven hills of Rome, Italy

The Palatine Hill, which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." The site is now mainly a large open-air museum while the Palatine Museum houses many finds from the excavations here and from other ancient Italian sites.

Curia in ancient Rome referred to one of the original groupings of the citizenry, eventually numbering 30, and later every Roman citizen was presumed to belong to one. While they originally likely had wider powers, they came to meet for only a few purposes by the end of the Republic: to confirm the election of magistrates with imperium, to witness the installation of priests, the making of wills, and to carry out certain adoptions.

Pomerium Religious boundary around the city of Rome and cities controlled by Rome

The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome and cities controlled by Rome. In legal terms, Rome existed only within its pomerium; everything beyond it was simply territory (ager) belonging to Rome.

<i>Forma Urbis Romae</i> Massive marble map of ancient Rome

The Forma Urbis Romae or Severan Marble Plan is a massive marble map of ancient Rome, created under the emperor Septimius Severus between 203 and 211. Matteo Cadario gives specific years of 205–208, noting that the map was based on property records.

Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography. Among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.

Trajans Forum monumental square in Rome

Trajan's Forum was the last of the Imperial fora to be constructed in ancient Rome. The architect Apollodorus of Damascus oversaw its construction.

14 regions of Augustan Rome

In 7 BC, Augustus divided the city of Rome into 14 administrative regions. These replaced the four regiones — or "quarters" — traditionally attributed to Servius Tullius, sixth king of Rome. They were further divided into official neighborhoods.

Campitelli Rione of Rome in Latium, Italy

Campitelli is the 10th rione of Rome, identified by the initials R. X, and is located in the Municipio I.

Andrea Carandini Italian archaeologist

Count Andrea Carandini is an Italian professor of archaeology specialising in ancient Rome. Among his many excavations is the villa of Settefinestre.

Basilica Ulpia Ancient building in the Forum of Trajan

The Basilica Ulpia was an ancient Roman civic building located in the Forum of Trajan. The Basilica Ulpia separates the temple from the main courtyard in the Forum of Trajan with the Trajan's Column to the northwest. It was named after Roman emperor Trajan whose full name was Marcus Ulpius Traianus.

Clementina Panella is an Italian archaeologist, a professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza, where she teaches Methodology of Archaeology. She has guided and co-written a number of articles on the commercial pottery of ancient Italy.

Romulus Legendary founder and first king of Rome

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the mythical Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

Roma quadrata

Roma quadrata was an area, or perhaps a structure, within the original pomerium of the ancient city of Rome, probably the Palatine Hill with its Palatium and Cermalus peaks and its slopes.

<i>Casa Romuli</i>

The Casa Romuli, also known as the tugurium Romuli, was the reputed dwelling-place of the legendary founder and first king of Rome, Romulus. It was situated on the south-western corner of the Palatine hill, where it slopes down towards the Circus Maximus, near the so-called "Steps of Cacus". It was a traditional single-roomed peasants' hut of the Latins, with straw roof and wattle-and-daub walls, such as are reproduced in miniature in the distinctive funerary urns of the so-called Latial culture.

Temple of Claudius

The Temple of Claudius, also variously known as the Temple of the Divus Claudius, the Temple of the Divine Claudius, the Temple of the Deified Claudius, or in an abbreviated form as the Claudium, was an ancient structure that covered a large area of the Caelian Hill in Rome, Italy. It housed the Imperial cult of the Emperor Claudius, who was deified after his death in 54 AD.

Irene Iacopi is an Italian archaeologist.


  1. Lanciani, Rodolfo; The Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome, Houghton, Mifflin and Company; 1897
  2. Carandini; La nascita di Roma. Dèi, lari, eroi e uomini all'alba di una civiltà; Torino: Einaudi, 1997
  3. Carandini; Remo e Romolo. Dai rioni dei Quiriti alla città dei Romani (775/750 - 700/675 a. C. circa); Torino: Einaudi, 2006
  4. Suro, Roberto; Newly Found Wall May Give Clue To Origin of Rome, Scientist Says; New York Times, June 10, 1988