Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Felicem Natalem Diem, Urbs Roma!

Today is Rome's birthday. The traditional date of the founding of the eternal city is April 21, 753 B.C. and it is from this day (A.U.C. or ab urbe condita, translated "from the founding of the city") that Romans expressed their history in relation to the Roman Era. April 21st was also known as the Parilia (or Palilia), the festival that the Romans considered sacred to shepherds. Romulus and Remus, credited with the founding of Rome, were the foster sons of the shepherd Faustulus. They were considered to be the biological sons of the Roman god Mars. The story of the birth of Romulus and Remus as well as the founding of the city is told by the Roman historian Livy. The modern Latin writer, Lhomond, who wrote in the late 1700s retells the story in easier Latin in his book De Viris Illustribus Urbis Romae A Romulo ad Augustum.

Kentucky Educational Television has some activities for teachers and students who would like to celebrate Rome's birthday. Scroll down the page to find some suggestions, including raking campus grounds and planting a tree (perhaps coinciding with tomorrow's Earth Day), then celebrating with a feast! KET has a birthday song you might sing in Latin too! There are some other ideas there you might use throughout the week, as April had many holidays sacred to the Romans.

Charlotte Yonge, a Victorian author from England who wrote for children , tells the story of The Founding of Rome at Project Gutenberg.