Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf

Ancient Romans believed that their city was founded on Apr. 21, 753 BCE by the twins Romulus and Remus. According to the legend, their parents were Mars, god of war, and Rhea Silvia, a princess. They were abandoned on the shores of the Tiber and brought up by a she-wolf. Romulus killed his brother in a battle over who should govern, then established the city of Rome on the Palatino.

Archaeological evidence shows that Rome was founded around the time of the legendary date. Rome was first ruled by Etruscan kings. In 510 BCE it became a republic. After Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE, Rome was ruled by emperors. By the fourth century CE, Rome had lost most of its secular power, but became the center of Christianity. The end of the Roman Empire came in 476 when Odoacer deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus.