Not every city throws itself a birthday party, but Rome does.
Who: Romans, non-Romans, JCU students, tourists, and everyone else who wants to come!
When: Friday, April 21st (Rome’s actual birthday) through Sunday, April 23rd
Where: Most events take place at Circus Maximus (20-minute walk from JCU campus)
Why: To celebrate the history of Rome’s exceptionally long life!
On April 21st, the actual day of Rome’s founding, Rome’s municipal museums and archaeological sites will be free to the public. Events and performances will take place in Circus Maximus starting on Friday, April 21st, including reenactments of a ritual ancient Romans carried out when founding a new town, and of a ceremony honoring the goddess Pales. A fireworks display will also take place over the Tiber River to commemorate this special day.
Throughout the weekend there will be ongoing events taking place in Circus Maximus, including reenactments of scenes from Roman history (gladiator fights!), culminating in the biggest event of the weekend, a parade of 2,000 people dressed as different types of ancient Romans (gladiators, vestal virgins, and more). Visitors are encouraged to dress up in classic Roman costumes as they join the celebration. There will also be lectures on topics about ancient Rome, from “Religion in Ancient Rome” to “Gladiators: Weapons and Fighting Techniques”.
But what is the story of the birth of Rome?
Rome’s birthday is the day that Rome was founded on the Palatine Hill on April 21st in 753 BC. The legend of Rome’s birthday involves love, death, revenge, and triumph. The story has variations, but one of the most well-known begins as so…
Once upon a time, there was a set of twin boys, Romulus and Remus. The baby boys were the sons of Mars (the God of War) and of Rhea Silvia (a vestal virgin and the daughter of an ex-king, who was overthrown by his brother Amulius). King Amulius was threatened by them, worried they would one day take power, and so he forced Rhea to abandon her twin boys in the Tiber River. However, the twins miraculously survived and were washed ashore, saved by the river god Tiberinus. This is when the Lupa, a she-wolf, found the babies washed ashore and began to care for them as if they were her pups, nurturing them back to health.
Once the babies were back in good health, a shepherd named Faustulus found the twins and adopted them. The boys were then raised to be fighters and leaders of the Shepherd warriors. They grew strong and brave and eventually found out the story of their birth mother and her evil uncle. They stormed the empire in order to claim their heir to the throne and killed Amulius in revenge. The twins gave the crown back to the original king (their grandfather) and returned home to where they were found by the she-wolf and raised, the seven hills. They decided to build their own city, but they could not agree on the spot: Romulus wanted to build it on the Palatine Hill, but Remus wanted to built it on the Aventine Hill. They tried to settle the dispute through a contest, to no avail; in the end, Romulus killed his brother Remus in a fight. Romulus was given the crown and granted king of the city and he named this city “Rome”.
Although the legend isn’t pleasant, and some people may be skeptical of Romulus, the bravery, fight, and persistence is what the city of Roman was built on and is the backbone of S.P.Q.R* pride.
To find out more about specific times and events click here!
*S.P.Q.R is an abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romani “the senate and people of Rome”. The letters can be found scattered throughout the streets and walls of Rome and represents the history of the ancient city and the Roman pride that still stands strong today.