“The Empire Strikes Back,” Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, 1/9/2012
We learned in Miss Cook’s Latin class the myth of Rome’s founding by Romulus who was rescued from infanticide with his brother Remus and suckled by a wolf. Tradition places the founding at 753 BC when Romulus erected the square walls of the Roma Quadrata.
A myth? Certainly about the wolf, but there is evidence that his construction of the wall is based on fact. Inscribed artifacts suggest Romulus used a team of oxen to dig the outlines of a sacred wall on the future site of his namesake, Rome, that brought together a collection of scattered settlements. Archeologists found the remains of a little girl who had been sacrificed and buried under the threshold. Her remains date the completion of the wall to the second quarter of the eighth century BC, close to the traditional date.
[The bulk of the article describes the similarities of Rome with the United States today . . . and we all know what happened to Rome.]