Founding of Rome, c. 753 BC

The founding of Rome around 753 BC is steeped in legend and historical significance. This event marks the beginning of one of the greatest civilizations in history, whose influence extended across the Mediterranean and beyond.

The Legend of Romulus and Remus

The tale of Rome’s founding begins with the legendary figures Romulus and Remus. According to myth, these twin brothers were the sons of Mars, the god of war, and a Vestal Virgin named Rhea Silvia. Abandoned at birth and raised by a she-wolf, they eventually decided to establish a city. A disagreement over its location led Romulus to kill Remus, and he became the first king of Rome, naming the city after himself.

Early Settlement and Geographic Advantage

Rome’s location on the banks of the Tiber River provided significant advantages. The river facilitated trade and transportation, while the surrounding hills offered natural defenses against invasions. The fertile land and mild climate contributed to the city’s agricultural productivity, supporting its early population growth and economic stability.

The Formation of Roman Society

The early Romans were a mix of Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan peoples. This diverse cultural foundation contributed to Rome’s unique identity and societal structure. The Roman social hierarchy emerged, with patricians (aristocratic families) at the top, plebeians (commoners) in the middle, and slaves at the bottom. This stratified society laid the groundwork for the political and social systems that would define Rome.

Establishment of Monarchical Rule

Romulus, as Rome’s first king, established the initial monarchical structure. The early Roman Kingdom saw the development of key institutions, including the Senate, which served as an advisory body to the king. This period of monarchical rule set the stage for Rome’s later transition to a republic and eventually to an empire.

Cultural and Religious Development

The founding of Rome also marked the beginning of its rich cultural and religious traditions. Early Romans worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses, many of whom were borrowed from Greek and Etruscan deities. Religious rituals and festivals became integral to Roman life, influencing the city’s social and political activities.

The Myth and Historical Reality

While the legend of Romulus and Remus provides a mythical narrative for Rome’s founding, archaeological evidence suggests that Rome developed gradually from a series of small settlements. The Palatine Hill, one of the legendary locations of the city’s founding, shows signs of habitation dating back to the 10th century BC. This blend of myth and historical reality reflects Rome’s complex origins and enduring legacy.

Legacy of Rome’s Founding

The founding of Rome in 753 BC is more than just a historical event; it symbolizes the birth of a civilization that would dominate the ancient world for centuries. Rome’s political innovations, military prowess, and cultural achievements laid the foundation for Western civilization. The city’s mythical and historical origins continue to captivate scholars and enthusiasts, underscoring its timeless significance.


The founding of Rome around 753 BC, whether viewed through the lens of legend or historical evidence, marks the genesis of a city that would shape the course of history. The story of Romulus and Remus, the strategic geographic location, and the early societal developments all contribute to the rich tapestry of Rome’s beginnings. As the cradle of one of the most influential civilizations in history, Rome’s founding remains a cornerstone of our understanding of the ancient world.