Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome. Amulius, the younger son of Procas, king of Alba Longa, after the death of his father seized on the throne rightfully belonging to his brother Numitor, and made the daughter of the latter, Rhea Silvia, a vestal virgin. By the god Mars she had two children, who as soon as they were born were ordered by Amulius to be thrown into the Tiber. The river had overflowed, and the basket in which the boys Romulus and Remus were placed was carried to the foot of the Palatine hill, and left on dry land. A she wolf carried them to her cave, and suckled them; and they were found by Faustulus, the king's herdsman, who took them home, and brought them up with his own sons. When they had grown up, the herdsmen of the Palatine hill had a quarrel with the herdsmen of Numitor, in which Remus was taken prisoner, and the expedition of Romulus to deliver his brother resulted in the discovery of their birth, the killing of Amulius, and the elevation of Numitor to his rightful authority. The two brothers determined to build a city on the Palatine, and to decide which one should give it his name they resorted to augury.
First six vultures appeared to Remus, and then twelve to Romulus. A dispute arising, Romulus came off victor, and began building the city (about 753 B. C.). Remus leaped over the rampart, saying, "Shall such defences as these keep your city?" and was instantly slain by his brother. Romulus opened a place of refuge, and thither many fled from the countries round about; but the neighboring people would not give them their daughters in marriage. Hereupon Romulus announced the celebration of games in honor of Neptune, which were largely attended by the men of the neighboring cities with their families, especially Sabines; while they were looking upon the sports, the Roman youth rushed out and carried off the women to be their wives. In consequence a war arose, first with the people of Caenina, then with the people of Crustumerium and Antemnae, in both of which the Romans were successful; and lastly with the Sabines, who came with a great army under their king Titus Tatius. Through the treason of Tarpeia, the Sabines got possession of the fortress on the hill Saturnius, and a battle ensued in the valley at the foot of the hill.
While it was raging fiercely, the women who had been carried off ran down from the Palatine, threw themselves between their husbands and their fathers and brothers, and prayed them to lay aside their quarrel. A peace was therefore made, and the two peoples became one, the Sabines living on the Saturnius or Capitoline and the Quirinal hills, and the Romans on the Palatine; and the two kings and their counsellors met in the valley between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, which was therefore called comitium, "the place of meeting." Tatius not long afterward was slain by the inhabitants of Laurentum, and Romulus reigned over the whole people. These were divided into three tribes: the Ramnenses, from his own name; the Titienses, from that of the Sabine king; and the Luceres, according to some from Lucumo, an Etruscan chief who had aided him in previous wars. Romulus had numerous wars, in which he was very successful. After he had reigned a long time he one day called the people together in the field of Mars. When they had assembled, a terrible storm arose, and in the midst of it Romulus disappeared.
That night he showed himself to one Proculus Julius coming from Alba to Rome, and said to him: "Go and tell my people that they weep not for me any more; but bid them to be brave and warlike, and so shall they make my city the greatest on earth." From that the people judged that Romulus had become a god, and a temple was built to him, and he was worshipped under the name of Quirinus. He was succeeded by Numa Pompilius (about 716).