Archaeologists dig up Romulus and Remus cave in Rome

November 21st, 2007 - 1:41 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov 21 (ANI): For hundreds of years, archaeologists have been trying to find the cave where, according to legend, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were raised by a she-wolf. Now, they believe that they have finally found the grotto.

The cave was uncovered earlier this year when a team of archaeologists stumbled across a cave buried 52ft inside the Palatine Hill, facing the Circus Maximus underneath the palace of the first emperor, Augustus.

They then used a probe to take samples and photograph it.

Based on the photos, they have verified that the cave is indeed the Lupercale - Luper being Latin for wolf.

The pictures show that the chamber, which is seven-and-a-half metres high and six metres wide, is studded with seashells and mosaics. In the middle it is a marble mosaic of a white eagle - the imperial motif.

The probe showed that while part of the grotto appears natural, part of it seems to have been built.

The cave was decorated by Augustus, who wanted to establish a religious cult that celebrated the she-wolf.

Giorgio Croci, the lead archaeologist, revealed that his team “almost screamed” when they realised that they had uncovered the cave of Romulus and Remus.

Francesco Rutelli, the Italian culture minister, said that the pictures sent back by the probe were indeed a sight to behold.

“The photographs that the probe sent back showed the most famous place in Roman mythology. We have been searching for this site for years, and at last everyone can see it,” the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome, added: “It is amazing to think that this legendary place has finally become real before our eyes. Rome never ceases to stun the world with this sort of discovery.”

Giorgio Croci believes that the reason why the cave is underneath the palace of the first emperor is because Augustus wanted his residence to be built in a place which was sacred for the city of Rome.

According to legend, the twins Romulus and Remus were born around 770BC to Rhea Silvia, a mortal priestess, and Mars, the Roman god of war, who abandoned them at birth.

The boys were thrown into the Tiber in a cradle and were washed up near the Palatine hill where they were by a female wolf who suckled them in her lair.

They were then found by the shepherd, Faustulus, who raised them to adulthood, reaching which they decided in 753BC to establish a city.

However, they argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus killed Remus in a fight on what became the Palatine hill.

Angelo Bettini, Rome’s chief archaeologist, revealed that people were not allowed to enter the grotto as yet.

Archaeologists are now searching for the cave’s original entrance, and will shortly build scaffolding to secure the interior. (ANI)

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