The Lupa, Romolo and Remo
Tito Livio in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita assumes the difficult task of explaining the dinasty of the founder of Rome. Gods move the destinies of the men move in inknow and capricious way and Enea's descent must always fight to assert his supremacy. The legitimate king of Albalonga, Numitore, is ousted by the brother who does not want claims to the throne and then forces Rea Silvia, Numitore's daughter, to become a Vestalis and then to the chastity vow. But the gods intervents, Mars seduces Rea Silvia that becomes mother of two twins; the fact is discovered and Amulius orders to kill the newborn babies but a pitiful servant give to them a possibility of salvation entrusting them to the waters of the Tiber. The Tiber in that moment is almost in shoal and the basket is stopped in a handle of the river under a fig plant; here between the animals that go down to drink there is a she-wolf what hear the cries of the newborn babies, she drags the basket in a cave where breast-feeds them until the shepherd Faustolo does not pass and found the children brings them to his wife Acca Larentia who will bring them up together with them.
Tito Livio in this story has done the miracle, has inserted all the symbolic elements of the tradition and has melted them with the real elements that were coming from the oral stories.
It is by now verified that the birth of Rome is a consequence of progressive events that have led different people to join and give itself up like an autonomous city; and if the authors of the augustian age like Tito Livio or Plutarco on the one hand manage to give epic origins to the new city, also to the savred and the religious symbols of the Etruscan, Latin and Sabine civilisation from which there come the gens that will go forming the people of Rome.
The symbol on which the legend is based is the she-wolf, become a tutelar numen of Rome; the she-wolf was also the sacred animal of the Sabine god Mamers, analogue of Mars, and was also the tutelar animal of the Latins with the name of Lupercus, while for the Etruscans the wolf was representing Aita the god of the purity and fecondity. It is possible to be supposed that the fusion of the myths has been wanted to have a greater cohesion between different ethnic groups.
The whole symbology seems based on the figure of the animal better known by people who were living on sheep farming and who were exorcizing their dread assigning to their inimical potential divine attributes. In the primitive religion these animals, wolves but also snakes, predaceous and the primitives Uri could give the death but they were the children of the Goddess Mother who was able to regenerate each thing.
The cult of the Goddess Mother was associated with a cave that was symbolising the inner part of the goddess at which the life was generated and the cave where the she-wolf led to the shelter the twins was called Lupercalis. But the legend continue and after the she-wolf, into the myth the woman enters, Acca Larentia indicated like Faustulus wife is called “she-wolf“ because Tito Livie writes: "ac miraculo datum" (for incredible gossips) she sell her body.
The archaic cults, not only Italic, were foreseeing also the sacred prostitution of the priestesses and it is then possible that Acca Larentia has been a priestess of the house where the Sacred Fire was maintained, but the new people who settled in the Valley of the Tiber even if was recognising a similitude between the Goddess Mother (She-wolf) and the own divinity of the Vesta Firehouse, it could not accept that his priestesses were devoted to inappropiate activities and then the Vestali had to be and to remain chaste; so Rea Silvia guilty of having violated the rule loses his children and his sacrifice is necessary in order that a new city could be born.
by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 25/04/2015)