Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Cave of Romulus?

According to this article (and this video) in yesterday's smh, archaeologists have discovered "the legendary cave where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, saving them from death." Or to be more accurate "Experts say they are "reasonably certain" it is the long-lost place of worship sacred to ancient Romans and known as Lupercale, from the Latin word for wolf." That means they think it's the place, that the Romans used to think was the place, where Romulus and Remus were saved by a wolf.

Livy records the story of the she-wolf finding Romulus and Remus, in the following passage:

Tenet fama cum fluitantem alveum, quo expositi erant pueri, tenuis in sicco aqua destituisset, lupam sitientem ex montibus qui circa sunt ad puerilem vagitum cursum flexisse; eam submissas infantibus adeo mitem praebuisse mammas ut lingua lambentem pueros magister regii pecoris invenerit (Faustulo fuisse nomen ferunt). ab eo ad stabula Larentiae uxori educandos datos.

Rumour prevails, that when the shallow water had left the floating basket, in which the boys had been abandoned, on dry ground, a thirsty wolf, down from the mountains which surround that place, bent her course to the boys' wailing. She lowered her teats, and offered them to the children so gently, that the master of the king's found her licking the boys with her tongue (they say his name was Faustulus). He took them home and gave them to his wife Larentia to be brought up.

However it seems Livy is a bit sceptical about the likelihood of this story, and so he tells us another story, which accounts for the development of this myth:

Sunt qui Larentiam volgato corpore lupam inter pastores vocatam putent; inde locum fabulae ac miraculo datum.

There those who say that Larentia was called 'Wolf' by the shepherds, since she was a prostitute; and this is the source of that incredible story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

... oh, you just HAD to bring LIVY into it, didn't you?

[[but tactful. "... where Romulus and Remus were saved by A wolf". Nice, Mr. Morrison, Nice. All you needed were inverted commas around "wolf"]]