Romulus and Remus and Adoption

Faustulus discovers Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf and woodpecker. Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1616


These were twin sons of Mars and Rhea Silvia. Their grandfather, Numitor, was the king of Alba Longa and was deposed by his younger brother, Amulius, who ordered the twins to be thrown into the river Tiber (compare Maui and Moses). But they drifted ashore and were found and fostered by a wolf (see Feral Children) until they were discovered by the royal herdsman, Faustulus, who adopted them.

They grew up and eventually discovered their identity, killed Amulius and restored Numitor to the throne. Romulus later killed Remus and went on to found Rome in 753 BCE.


Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by M. Cary, et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949) Encyclopedia of Religion. 16 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1987) "Roma: Romulus and Remus." Available at: