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Δευτέρα, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

Ποιός Ίδρυσε τη Ρώμη; - Who Founded Rome?

Who Founded Rome?           Μonday December 14, 2009

You know the story of Rome's founding, right? 
A Vestal Virgin, whose name you may have forgotten, but which was Ilia or Rhea, was raped by the War god, Mars, and gave birth to a pair of twin boys who were suckled by a wolf and then grew up to get rid of the pretender king and establish their own kingdom by the Tiber.
Hercules and Cacus
Hercules and Cacus, by Baccia Bandinelli, 1525-34, in the Piazza della Signoria, Plazzo Vecchio, in Florence.
CC Flickr User infollatus
 
In the process of building protective walls around the city, the young men fought, Romulus killed his brother Remus, and the new city, founded on April 21, 753 B.C., was named Rome. What's that you say? That's not the story you heard? Then is it this one?

While the city of Troy was burning -- thanks to the Greek-soldier-hiding wooden horse the Greeks tricked the Trojans into bringing within their city walls, a local prince named Aeneas, son of the goddess Venus and Anchises, escaped with the de rigueur cohort of followers, sailed away, had lots of adventures, and wound up settling the Trojans in Lavinium, whence colonists would settle Alba Longa, and then Rome, a few generations later?
If the story you dimly remember isn't some variation on one of these, then you've probably never heard the story of the founding of Rome. Please see:
Today's Myth Monday brings to your attention a third founding story of Rome, one that is often ignored, so it is unlikely to be the first story of the founding of Rome that comes to mind. 
This ktiseis poleon (Greek term for [literary renderings of] foundations of cities) is the story not of an Italic or Trojan demigod, like Romulus or Aeneas, but of a Greek.  His name is Evander
He came to the area that would be Rome from Pallantion, Arcadia, which is in the Peloponnese, the southern part of Greece. 
Evander settled his people on the Tiber, by what would be the Palatine Hill, said to have been named for Evander's Greek homeland. 
This means we may have Evander to thank for the word "palace". Evander's parentage is disputed.
He is counted the son of Hermes (whence, demigod) by a nymph named Themis or Nicostrata, by the Greeks; Carmenta or Tiburtis, by the Romans.
Another set of parents given Evander is Echemus and Timandra.
He is said to have come to Italy 60 years before the Trojan War.      Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology provides 2 explanations for why Evander left Arcadia:
  1. as a result of a civil feud in which Evander's party lost
  2. in the aftermath of Evander's patricide (presumably, Echemus) at the behest of Evander's mother.
Just as there are alternatives in Evander's parentage and motives for leaving Greece, so there are alternative versions of his reception on the Italic peninsula. 
Either the Rutulian King Turnus received him hospitably or Evander landed and slew the inhospitable king of Praeneste. Once in place, however, Evander is credited with positive acts. 
He taught his neighbors about the culture of the Greeks, including writing, music, and the worship of Greek gods.
60 years later, Evander was still alive and well enough to team up with Aeneas.
Evander, who shares an ancestor with Aeneas -- Atlas -- tells his distant kinsman how Hercules once helped the Arcadian settlers when he slew the monster Cacus, in Book VIII of Vergil's Aeneid. (See People in the Life of Hercules.)
There is a forum discussion on this topic. Join the discussion: Greeks Founding Rome.
For more on Evander and the Greek founders of what would be Rome, here are some articles I referred to:
  • "The Foundation Legends in Vergil"
    John A. Brinkman
    The Classical Journal, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Oct., 1958), pp. 25-33
  • "Founder, Civilizer and Leader: Vergil's Evander and His Role in the Origins of Rome"
    Sophia Papaioannou
    Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 56, Fasc. 6 (2003), pp. 680-702
  • "Graia Pandetur ab Urbe"
    Christopher P. Jones
    Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 97, Greece in Rome: Influence, Integration, Resistance (1995), pp. 233-241
  • Seyffert, Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
  • Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

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