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The City of Romulus 900 B. C – 256 B. C.


In the time when savage warriors roamed the plains and mountains of Italy, there stood on six low hills, just south of the river Tiber, six clusters of round huts made of twigs and leaves stuck together with mud. Each was a little town, the home of barbarian tribesmen. They herded cattle on the plain below, chased the wild pigs in the woods and tried to make things grow in their marshy fields. Although the towns were always fighting or stealing cattle and sheep from each other, they shared a market place in a clearing beside the river. They also shared a crude fortress of heaped-up earth and rocks on a seventh hill. The huts on the hills, the market place, the fortress – this, about 900 B. C., a hundred years or so before the Etruscans came to Italy, was Rome. Then a powerful chief came to the place of the seven hills. When he had built a great hut of his own, on the widest of them, he called together the chiefs of the six towns. He told them that he planned to build a city on their hills and that their towns would all be parts of it. Whether the old chiefs agreed to the plan or not, it was done. On the day in April which was the feast day of Pales, the guardian god of herds and flocks, the new chief performed the solemn ritual of the founding of his city. With a bronze plow, drawn by a caw and a bull yoked together, he dug one furrow – a sacred line that marked the city’s boundaries, the place where its walls would be built. He traced the lines of two main streets – one running north and south, one east-and-west and crossing in the …

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