Photos may show burial place of Romulus, founder of Rome


An ancient tomb believed to be the final resting place of the legendary ‘wolf-suckled’ King Romulus – the founder of Rome – has been unveiled to the public for the first time in a series of new images. 

The tomb uncovered in the Roman Forum during recent excavations add credence to a long standing theory that the first King of Rome was buried at the site – as originally told in Roman folklore.

Researchers from the Colosseum Archaeological Park investigated the claims and discovered a 4.6ft rock sarcophagus and circular alter that match descriptions from ancient scholars. 

No bones or inscriptions were found at the site but some experts believe that due to its similarity to historical depictions it is likely to be the shrine of Romulus.

The Colosseum Archaeological Park, which manages the Forum where the sarcophagus lies, said recent clues all pointed to it being the founder's tomb

The Colosseum Archaeological Park, which manages the Forum where the sarcophagus lies, said recent clues all pointed to it being the founder’s tomb

People stand by the access to an ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome's founder Romulus, who is believed to have killed his brother before founding Rome

People stand by the access to an ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus, who is believed to have killed his brother before founding Rome

The ancient tomb, which was found containing no bones, is thought to belong to Rome's founder Romulus, pictured on February 21

The ancient tomb, which was found containing no bones, is thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus, pictured on February 21

WHO WAS ROMULUS?

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome – he was in power through the second half of the 8th Century BC and is said to have started some of the earliest Roman institutions and traditions. 

Romulus and his twin brother Remus were said to have a notable lineage that can be traced back as far as the Trojan hero Aeneas and Latinus, the mythical founder of the kingdom of Latium.

The twins were the sons of Rhea Silvia who was the daughter of Numitor, the former king of Alba Longa – an ancient Latin city in central Italy.

Legend says Silvia became pregnant with the boys by the god Mars. She was imprisoned by Amulius who usurped her father and ordered the twins be thrown in the river Tiber.

Servants were said to have placed the boys along the riverbank at the foot of the palatine hill rather than throw them in the rain-swollen river. 

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Roman mythology says they were found by a she-wolf at the the base of a fig tree where she suckled them and tended to them by a cave until they were found by a herdsmen and raised by him and his wife.

They learned of their true ancestry after growing to manhood and overthrew Amulius and restored their grandfather Numitor to the throne before deciding to found a new city.

The two brothers cold not agree on where to form the city and so they started to fight and conflict was escalated until Remus was killed – either by his brother or one of his followers. 

The Colosseum Archaeological Park, which manages the Forum where the sarcophagus lies, said recent clues all pointed to it being the founder’s tomb, in what it labelled an ‘extraordinary discovery’. 

The Forum was the beating heart of the Roman Empire and historical sources refer to Romulus’s possible burial in that area. 

The 6th century BC stone sarcophagus, with an accompanying circular altar, was discovered under the Forum in the heart of Italy’s capital decades ago, but experts could not agree on whether or not it belonged to the fabled figure.

A team of scientists carrying out a dig in the late 1980s discovered a long, deep gash marked by large stones, which they claimed was the ‘sacred furrow’ ploughed by Romulus. 

According to legend, Romulus founded the city after killing his twin brother Remus. 

Director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park Alfonsina Russo told The Times: ‘This is an extraordinary discovery. The forum never ceases to yield amazing fresh treasures.’    

Scholars believed, according to Ms Russo, that the temple’s altar has been positioned where ancient Romans believed Romulus was buried. 

The underground temple is buried beneath the entrance stairway to the Curia and was the place where Roman senators voted. 

The finding had taken place near the Lapis Niger, an ancient black shrine in the Roman Forum, according to Andreas Steiner, editor of the magazine Archeo.

The tomb was found just outside the entrance stairway to the Curia – a building still standing today and where Roman senators voted on issues of state. 

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The Curia has been the name for the meeting-house of Roman senators since the earliest days of the Roman Kingdom and is said to have been founded by Romulus himself. 

His original senate initially consisted of 100 men drawn from the tribes of Rome as well as his own people.

Scholars have long assumed that the altar of the temple where the tomb was discovered was on the stop where ancient Romans believed Romulus was buried, Russo told the Times.

The Lapis Niger includes an inscription of the word rex which meant either king or a high religious official – the significant of the shrine was lost to history which led to conflicting stories of its origin.

Some folklore tales speculate that it marked the grave of Romulus or the spot where he was murdered  – the eventual discovery of a tomb in the area back up the grave marker story.

A workman stands by the entrance to the ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome's founder Romulus, whose body was reportedly dismembered after his death by angry senators

A workman stands by the entrance to the ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus, whose body was reportedly dismembered after his death by angry senators

People stand by the access to an ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome's founder Romulus on February 21, 2020 at the Curia - Comitium in the Roman Forum of Rome

People stand by the access to an ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus on February 21, 2020 at the Curia – Comitium in the Roman Forum of Rome

Historians have long been divided not only over whether Romulus and Remus actually existed, but if so where Romulus' body - which was reportedly dismembered after his death by angry senators - may have been buried.

Historians have long been divided not only over whether Romulus and Remus actually existed, but if so where Romulus’ body – which was reportedly dismembered after his death by angry senators – may have been buried. 

The shrine, discovered in 1899, has a Greek inscription referring to how the sacred ground must not be disturbed. 

‘It refers to the burial site of a holy king and the oldest and most important king is Romulus,’ Andreas Steiner, editor of the magazine Archeo told The Times. 

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome – he was in power through the second half of the 8th Century BC and is said to have started some of the earliest Roman institutions and traditions. 

Along with his twin brother Remus, he comes from a notable lineage that mythology suggests includes Mars the god of war. 

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There are also legendary rulers within their family tree including Trojan hero Aeneas and Latinus, the mythical founder of the kingdom of Latium.

The twins were the sons of Rhea Silvia who was the daughter of Numitor, the former king of Alba Longa – an ancient Latin city in central Italy and an adviser to Romulus as he founded Rome.

Legend says Silvia became pregnant with the boys by the god Mars. She was imprisoned by Amulius who usurped her father and ordered the twins be thrown in the river Tiber.

Servants were said to have placed the boys along the riverbank at the foot of the palatine hill rather than throw them in the rain-swollen river. 

Roman folklore says they were found by a she-wolf at the the base of a fig tree where she suckled them and tended to them by a cave until they were found by a herdsmen and raised by him and his wife.

They learned of their true ancestry after growing to manhood and overthrew Amulius and restored their grandfather Numitor to the throne. They then decided to found a new city.

The two brothers cold not agree on where to form the city and so they started to fight and conflict was escalated until Remus was killed – either by his brother or one of his followers. 

Romulus - the founder of Rome - was said to have been raised by a she wolf in what is now Rome, Italy alongside his twin brother Remus. This statue shows them suckling from the wolf

Romulus – the founder of Rome – was said to have been raised by a she wolf in what is now Rome, Italy alongside his twin brother Remus. This statue shows them suckling from the wolf

More shots of the ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome's founder Romulus - although no bones were found in the tomb

More shots of the ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus – although no bones were found in the tomb

The 6th century BC stone sarcophagus, with an accompanying circular altar, was discovered under the Forum in the heart of Italy's capital decades ago, but experts could not agree on whether or not it belonged to the fabled figure

The 6th century BC stone sarcophagus, with an accompanying circular altar, was discovered under the Forum in the heart of Italy’s capital decades ago, but experts could not agree on whether or not it belonged to the fabled figure



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