Inspirational Reads

Felix Dies Natalis, Roma!!!

April 21, 2014

I keep meaning to tell you about my new life, but, hahahahahahahahahahaha, whatevs.  I'll get to it eventually.

The one thing that has struck me as strange is that I picked up a new follower, though I can't identify who the noob is.  I find this remarkable because I've been staring at the same 107 pictures and names for the past year or so, and then someone new pops up and confuses me.  Regardless, welcome to the fold, my new friend.  I hope you're not scared away by the word "vagina."

The reason for not telling you about the "exciting changes" in my life today, however, is that we have a very important birthday to celebrate today:  Rome's.  That's right, the Eternal City was founded on April 21st, 753 BC.  In Roman terms, this was year 0 AUC, which stands for ab urbe condita, or "from the founding of the City."  It was a Roman demarcation of time, which makes sense.  The Romans didn't give much of a shit about what happened before their majestic home and city was founded.

They didn't give much of a shit, not because they were proud (well, okay, they were a little full of themselves), but because the place where Rome currently sits was a majestic slophole of a swamp prior to Romulus cracking his brother over the head with a spade and then breaking ground on his new home.  A slophole, I might add, that was inhabited by a bunch of fucking savages--like a town in New Jersey with a Quick Stop.

You've heard about the Seven Hills, right?  The Seven Hills are the seven hills (duh) surrounding the Tiber river on which the city of Rome was built.  The ancient Romans chose to live on those hills because the valley was an insufferable bog rife with malaria-bearing mosquitoes, and the lowland wasn't really all that habitable until the Cloaca Maxima (or, "largest sewer") was constructed.  Even then, in the beginning, it was more for draining the lowlands and may not have been the best at removing waste from the city itself.  It took subsequent improvements on the sewer system to make it more effective.  In the beginning, it was still open the atmosphere around, so mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects could still breed in the water that was being transported away.

It's kind of strange to think about how far we've come in 2700 years...

Romulus went on to become the first king of Rome.  We don't know who his parents were, because he was found in the wild and suckled by a she-wolf until he became a man, along with his twin brother, Remus.  I mean, his real parents.  Romulus and Remus were the offspring of a Vestal Virgin and Mars, the Roman god of war (and, originally, agriculture).  However, Virgil, while writing the Aeneid, was able to link Romulus and Remus (they're a package set, until it became king-making time) to the hero Aeneas, who fled the burning city of Troy after Odysseus et al. snuck into the city and ended the war.  You remember that, right?  Big wooden badger horse and all?  Good.

Aeneas, after doing his own tour of the Mediterranean world--including plowing Dido, Queen of Carthage--went on to become one of the people who helped found Rome.  After plowing Dido's fields for a while (figuratively, as Carthage didn't have a lot of agricultural lands), Dido wanted a little more commitment, and Aeneas said, "Pax, ex sum!"  He then crossed the Mediterranean from north Africa to the boot of Italy.  There, he met a cat named Evander who told Aeneas where a great place to found a great city was.  That place, naturally, was the Seven Hills (and nasty swamp).

So, here we are, celebrating Rome's birthday, with three possible founders.  Incidentally, Evander was a Greek who fled the southern part of Greece and settled with his many followers on one of the hills of Rome--the Palantine Hill, if you must know.  It is from here that we get the word "palace."  When Evander was showing Aeneas around, he probably said something like, "See, this is my hill.  You go over there and settle on one of those other six hills.  Capisce?"  He totally said that, because it's Italian, and when in the place where Rome will eventually be founded, do as the people who will eventually become Roman do.  Er, yeah.

This is what the founding of Rome most likely was:  an accumulation and aggregation of the tribes that lived on the seven hills under one crown, the king being Romulus.  From there, with the city founded, they went on to war with the surrounding tribes, including the Latins (from whom the Romans stole a language), the Sabines (from whom the Romans stole women), and the Etruscans (from whom the Romans stole a peninsula).

So, in your post-Easter ham coma, and before we start planting trees on Earth Day tomorrow, if you're feeling like you need a reason to celebrate, why not take a moment to wish Rome a happy 2767th birthday.  Darling, you look marvelous, not a day over 2500, if I do say so, myself.

2 comments:

Scope said...

It's been just over a million days since then (give or take leap days, and other adjustments.)

MJ said...

Huh.

That's some fine mathematics there, sir. Kudos and other celebratory words.

Huh.