Classics Week 7.docx

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21 Mar 2012
Classics Week 7
Foundation of Rome, ab urbe condita (AUC)
- From city foundation
- From the date of the founding of the city, April 21
- The origins of Rome lay in a uniquely Greek experience, the Trojan War
- Their beginning starts with the end of Troy
- Laocoon said that the horse spelled the doom of Troy, but they did it anyway
- Try as they might, they couldn’t kill all of the Trojans
- With these survivors, Rome starts
- They sailed away and escaped the fall of the city
- Aeneas carries his father, Ankeses and his son, Askanios (nicknamed Julus)
o Escaped the fall of the city
o Leave with a mission in mind
- Ankeses is not just anyone
o As a young man he’d been visited by Aphrodite (Venus)
o She slept with him and produced a child named Aeneas
o Venus had interfered in the affairs of the Trojan war to protect her
son several times
o Saved him from Diomedes (blessed by the gods)
- Left the city with a mission
o Go forth and found a new Troy
o Leaves the northwest of Troy
o Carries his father, son, the Lares and the Panates (2 religious symbols
of Troy)
o Wandered the Mediterranean looking for a good place
- Went to North Africa, at a city called Carthage
o Welcomed by the beautiful Carthiginian queen, Dido
o Began a beautiful romantic affair with one another
o Hera (Juno) loved the city of Carthage
o Knew that Aeneas’ desire to found a new city would destroy Carthage
o Aeneas was faced with a heroic choice; he could live with Dido, have
many children, and have a dynastic future, or he could fulfill his
mission to found a new Troy
o Of course, he left her and sailed away to fulfill his task
Relationship with the state
Roman ideals
Loyal to an unfounded city
o Dido is grief stricken, summons her sister and asks her to bring
everything Aeneas gave her to burn it all
o The sister loved it and they set his shit on fire
o At that moment, Dido sat amongst the things, took his sword, and
stabbed herself in the chest with his sword, cursing Aeneas
o The curse had particular venom, and demanded that there would
forever be hatred between her descendants and those of Aeneas
Historically true that the Romans and the descendants of Dido
hated each other
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Punic Wars
Hannibal, most famous Carthiginian general
o Myth explained the historic hatred between the 2 people
- Aeneas defied death as well, and descended into the underworld
o Customary for heroes to face death (Odysseus, Heracles, etc)
o Met Dido in the underworld and she refused to look at him or accept
his apology
o He received what he’d been looking for; a clear indication of how he
would know he’d found the right place for the new city
o Told to look for a sign would find a gigantic white sow suckling
thirty piglets
o They found it! Wasn’t Rome yet though
o Welcomed by the local king, Latinus
The Romans adopted the Latin language, but they were not
themselves Latins
o The Greeks were focused on individuality to the exclusion of all other
cultures, whereas the Roman identity is different (hardy survivors,
refugees, value state above the personal, adapt institutions of other
Adaptability was a great strength
o They assimilate well
o Latinus welcomes Aeneas and betrothes him to his daughter Lavinia
o Marries into the existing culture
o Only one problem; she’s already engaged to Turnus
Provoked some disagreement
Aeneas and Turnus fought a war the resulted in Turnus’ death
and Aeneas’ victory
They didn’t dominate the local Latins, they merged together
with them
Solved the problem of what to do with conquered people (the
Greeks turned them into second class citizens and exploited
Romans bonded with them
Still ruled by Roman force of arms though
o Founded the city of Alba Longa
Lived together happily
Following Aeneas’ death, several generations passed
After Aeneas Dies, YEARS later
- His descendants, Numitor and Amulius (brothers) are in conflict over his
- Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia is the root of the problem
o Amulius forces Rhea Silvia to become a vestal virgin so she doesn’t
have children that will come and support her father Numitor in his
quest for the throne
- The gods are involved in the foundation of Rome
- Mars (god of war) comes to earth and rapes Rhea Silvia
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- From this union, children were produced
o Twin baby boys were born
o Had to be abandoned at birth because they were a danger to be
involved in the dynastic struggle
o Cast adrift in a basket down a river
o Found by a she-wolf, Lupa
o Suckled the babies with her milk
o Babies were named Romulus and Remus
- If the Romans are to take their identity from these boys, speaks much about
the foundation of their culture
o Mars, god of war!
o Wolf as their iconic animal, speaks to their character
- The wolf could only nurture them for so long
- Found the babies and took them home to raise them as his own
- Humble, rustic farming life of a shepherd
o Initially, very much the character of the Romans
o Conservative, structured, religious
- Grew up to be exceptional young men
- Restored their grandfather to the throne
- Didn’t want to stay in the kingdom they’d helped win back
- Decided to found their own city
- Wandered north and east, following the river Tiber until they found a
beautiful, expansive, fertile plain dominated by 7 hills
- They argued (persistent theme of 2 brothers arguing) about which hill would
serve as the centerpoint
o Incredibly superstitious and religious people
o Let the gods show them the way
o Remus saw 6 eagles flying over his hill and saw it as an endorsement
from Jupiter
o Romulus saw 12 eagles
- Romulus went ahead and yoked a white cow and ox to a plow and plowed a
small furrow in the earth around the 7 hills and decided that was going to be
the boundary
o Pomerium (boundary)
o The Roman state begins by joining together (7 hills to form one city,
envelopers, not excluders)
o Expansion even at the beginning
o The city boundary was declared sacred, Romulus announced that this
city would be inviolate and anyone that crossed the pomerium would
- Remus mocked him and crossed the pomerium
o Romulus killed him stone dead
o Rome was baptized in the blood of fratricide
o State comes before everything
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