Saturday, 20 April 2013

21 Aprile, 753 A.C. Auguri Roma! Belleza Aeterna!

Today 21 April marks the birthday of Rome, the historical date marking when Romulus traced the Pomerium (Sacred boundary of the City) in 753 BCE. Making Rome 2766 years old.

In 1919 the Italian composer Puccini composed this Anthem to Rome (Inno a Roma). The Italian phrase ''Tu non vedrai nessuna cosa al mondo, maggior di Roma'' says it all. You will never see anywhere in the whole world a City as great as Rome. I can honestly say that this is true, nothing compares to it, a City both beautiful and eternal.

The anthem is sung here by Apollo Granforte on a recording which is at least 85 years old.

The story goes that Aeneas Prince of Troy fled the fallen city at the end of the Trojan War and sailed the Mediterranean Sea and finally landed near Laurentum just south-west of the actual site of Rome, married the daughter of a King and his son Ascanius established the Julio-Claudian line which would give us the first Emperor of Rome, Octavian Augustus nephew of Julius Caesar. Augustus claimed direct descent from Aeneas and his mother the goddess Venus.

The story of Aeneas had to be reconciled with that of Romulus and Remus who are said to be the sons of the god of war, Mars. One has to remember that Mars was the favourite god of Augustus and that the Aeneid of Virgil was written under his reign. The date of 21 April is the Feast day of Pales, the goddess of Shepherds. It was a shepherd Faustulus who found Romulus and Remus being nurtured by a she-wolf, the exact spot is in the Roman Forum near the Senate of Rome.

How many cities do you know in this world who have such a founding story.

Altar to the Nation, Piazza Venezia, Rome

Porta Pia, Rome 


  1. What an incredible history the city has, both for good and ill. Happy Birthday, Roma!

  2. It is, ahem, somewhat speculative...but why not? I like the old Roman dating AUC (ab urbe condita, from the founding of the city). As the Italians say, si non e vero, e ben trovato.

    I'd love to track down the song the football-playing Italian boyfriends (now husbands) of two dear friends from university used to sing 'Roma, Roma, Roma...unica grande amore di tante, tante gente'.

    1. Well we cannot get tangled up in technicalities. In fact I believe this date was arrived at through general agreement. Also at some point an Egyptian Calendar was used, etc...
      But in the end it all fits into the Political program of Augustus, Noblesse Oblige.
      I do maintain that in my opinion Rome has the Gravitas other cities lack.

  3. Interesting post and, as always, wonderful photos. My knowledge of the story of the founding of Rome is weak. I knew vaguely the story of Romulus and Remus. I heard an audio recording of The Aneid once and I saw the Berlioz opera Les Troyen earlier this season....none of which are long on dates.

  4. the stories of Romulus and The Aenied were always a puzzle to me - which was right?

    1. They both are, it is a continuum so that it fits into Augustus political program.