The Founding Myth of Rome


The founding myth of the City of Rome centers on the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus. This myth encompasses the circumstances of their birth, their coming of age, and the death of Remus by his brother. What makes this myth remarkable, for me, is that this is essentially the creation myth for ancient Romans. The myths of Romans usually focused on civic ethics or piety toward the Gods. (Any myth that detailed the creation of the world was usually adapted from the Greeks.) This founding myth presents the belief of the Romans that they were called to a greater destiny in the world. However, they were unsparing in highlighting that Romulus murdered his brother or that the original Romans were criminals.

The elements of this myth are twins with a divine parentage: in their case, Mars, the God of War. Numitor, their royal grandfather is overthrown by his younger brother, Amulius. After killing the male heirs, he forces Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silva, to become a Vestal Virgin. During her service as a Vestal, Rhea Silva is visited by Mars. She later gives birth to his twins.

Romulus and Remus, the twins, are sent out to be killed by their great uncle, but are saved through magical intervention. The River God, Tiberius guides the basket to a river bank. A wolf rescues them and nurses them until they are found. Meanwhile, a woodpecker sent by Mars ensures the safety of the twins.

A childless couple, Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia adopts the twins and raise them as shepherds. When the brothers are grown, they get into trouble with King Amulius’s men. When they were taken before their great uncle, who happens to be the king, Romulus kills him. Later, the brothers reinstate their grandfather and free their mother. Afterwards, Romulus and Remus leave to find their own fortune. Along the way, they argue over where to establish their new city. Goaded into fury by Remus, Romulus kills his brother. Filled with remorse, he buries Remus with great pomp, and then founds The City of Rome.

Read the full myth here: Romulus and Remus

Gods of the Month: Acca Larentia of Rome

On the Larentalia (December 23), the famen (priest) of Quirinalis (the Divine Romulus) performs the rites of parentiatio at the gravesite of Acca Larentia. This Goddess is considered to be a Divine Ancestor of Rome. However, She has three conflicting myths about Her being a Founder of Rome.

The first is that Acca Larentia is a very old Etruscan Goddess who cares for the Beloved Dead and their living families. This benevolent Goddess is the Mother of the Lars. Besides being a Household God, She is a Goddess of the Underworld.

When Rome was expanding its borders in Central Italy, they created a second myth. Acca Larentia, a human, was the mistress of Hercules. Later, she married Tarrutius, a rich Etruscan. When her husband died, Acca Larentia donated his lands to Rome. This was the basis of the Roman claim on disputed territories. After Acca Larentia died, She became a Divine Ancestor.

When Augustus reformed the Roman religion, he changed what Acca Larentia, the human was. She became the wife of Faustulus, the shepherd. Together, they adopted Romulus and Remus and raised them to manhood.

In all these myths, Acca Larentia is tied to Rome and to the Ancestors. I see Her as the Mother of the Lars. She cares for Our Dead and for us, the living. For me, She is a Goddess of my household.

Salve Acca Larentia
Mother of the Lars
Mother of the Beloved Dead
Guardian of the Living
Guardian of the Dead
Goddess of the Underworld
Goddess of the Household
Salve Acca Larentia!

Gods of the Month: December

For Romans, December is a month to honor the Gods, who ensure the fertility of the earth. People are concerned about the winter sowing and the future crops. It is also a month for family and friends, including the local Nature Spirits. Saturnalia, which celebrates the Golden Age of Saturnus (Saturn), occurs in the middle of December. It is a time of lights, games, and gift-giving. Gods of the Month: December 2016

These are the Gods of the Month that I honor.

BONA DEA: December 3 is the day of women’s mysteries for Bona Dea, the Good Goddess. This Goddess of Healing also ensures women’s fertility. God of The Month: Bona Dea

TIBER RIVER AND THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME: Two festivals – one for the Tiber River and one for the Seven Hills – occur on December 8 and December 11 respectfully. God of the Month: Tiberinus and the Seven Hills

CONSUS: The second festival for Consus, the God of the Granary is held on December 15. God of the Month: Consus

SATURNUS (SATURN): Saturnalia from December 17 to 24 celebrates the time that Saturnus Pater ruled the earth. God of the Month: Saturn

OPS CONSIVA: The Opalia is held on December 19 for Ops Consiva (the Sower). This Goddess of Abundance is the Consort of both Consus and Saturnus. God of the Month: Ops Consiva

ANGERONA: At the Divalia, on December 21, Angerona, the Goddess of Secrets is honored. God of the Month: Diva Angerona

ACCA LARENTIA: On December 23, the Larentalia was held at her tomb. She is the Founder of Roman and Goddess of the Lars.

Non-Roman Gods that I honor:

FRIGGA AND THE DSIR: On the Winter Solstice which is Mothers Night, I celebrate Frigga, the Norse All-Mother, Her Twelve Handmaidens and the Mothers of my ancestral line. God of the Month: Frigga and the Disr

THE ACHEULIAN GODDESS: An ancient Goddess from Paleolithic times, the Acheulian Goddess is for me the Goddess of Beginnings. God of the Month: Acheulian Goddess of Prehistory