ROMULUS, LEGENDARY EPONYM OF ROME
By Darrell Wolcott
It is the traditional pedigree
of Romulus, not the story of his founding of Rome, which concerns us. Ancient historians uniformly date the birth of
Romulus as 771BC, a date we shall accept for our inquiry. What we question are the pedigrees assigned to him which,
if valid, would place him in the 15th generation after Aeneas of Troy.
The earliest Romulus pedigrees are
those offered by Livy and Dionysius of Helicarnassensis, two historians writing near the first decade of the 1st
century BC or over 700 years after the fact. Livy appears to confuse Silvius son of Ascanius with Silvius son of Aeneas,
but then quickly rattles off a string of names which form a link down to Romulus:
When we correct his list to identify
Silvius as a son of Aeneas and much younger brother of Ascanius, then Romulus occurs 15th after Aeneas. But while Livy
says that Aeneas Silvius was the son of Silvius and that his heir was Latinus, he does not say how the next 5 names were related
either to Latinus or to each other. Then Tiberinus was simply "succeeded" by Agrippa and his son Romulus Silvius, who
bequeathed his power to Aventinus. Proca was simply "the next king", whose son was Numitor. He does call Rhea
Silva the daughter of Numitor and mother of Romulus. Depending on the unstated relationships between the other men,
Romulus could represent the 8th generation after Aeneas rather than the 15th.
Dionysius correctly identifies
Silvius as a brother of Ascanius, a son of Aeneas by his second wife, Lavinia of Italy. His list cites these links down
Dionysius does not name the
mother of Romulus, but says he was the grandson of Numitor. His list does make Romulus occur 15th after Aeneas, but instead
of telling us the relationships between all the other men, he cites the term in years each man ruled. Rather than
carrying his data down to the birth of Romulus, he speaks of the year Romulus became king. Others says this was 753BC,
while Dionysius claims it was 432 years after the Fall of Troy. Clearly he was using the dating of Eratosthenes since
753 + 432 = 1185BC.
It should be observed that Dionysius
and Livy were contemporaries and should have had access to the same ancient sources on which to base their History.
Yet Livy knew nothing about the number of years each link in the pedigree ruled, and did not say how many years
Romulus occurred after the Fall of Troy. With only a couple exceptions, the same names form both pedigrees. But
Dionysius apparently invented lengths of reign which would fill the time gap between Aeneas and Romulus to accord with
the Eratosthenes dating of the Fall of Troy.
While we do not know which
ancient sources may have been lost by 200AD, the Histories of Livy and Dionysius were still available to Dio Cassius when
he wrote his History. His list of links from Aeneas to Romulus is much shorter:
Capys or Pastis*
*Book 1 of Dio's History
is now lost, but was extant when two 12th century AD men wrote Histories which cited Dio. Zonaras and Tzetzes agree
in essence with what was contained in Dio's Book 1, but differ as to the name of this single link in the Romulus pedigree
Thus, Dio Cassius shows Romulus 11th
after Aeneas, dropping 4 names from the earlier lists. And he does not claim they were all sons succeeding their father.
His wording says only that "Latinus was succeeded by Pastis, and Tiberinus became the next ruler"; all 3 men might have been
members of a single generation. Both Amulius and Aventinus are said to have been killed as opposed to living full lives
and Dionysius had said only that one succeeded the other. Again, Romulus could have been in the 8th generation after
Aeneas and two of those generations were probably females. Certainly Rhea Silva was, and we suspect it was the mother
of Numitor and daughter of Aventinus who married an outsider, Procas.
Six male generations and two females
generations, using the same generational gaps which underlie all our chronological analysis, should span 230/235 years.
Thus, 235 + 771 = 1006BC for a revised dating of the birth of Aeneas. If he were about 37 years old when Troy fell,
as our analysis indicates, then the Fall of Troy could have occurred in 968BC as we suggested in an earlier paper.
When portrayed alongside the Sparta
king list, the corrected Romulus pedigree confirms the time interval down to contemporary events in each list: the 771BC birth
of Romulus and the 776BC date of the First Olympiad.
l FALL OF TROY
955 Silvius 968BC 965
Silvius 935 Aristodemus
890 male generation
860 male generation
830 female generation
810 regency of Lycurgus
786 Rhea Silva
780 Lycurgus at age 60
776 First Olympiad
Capys occurs in the same generation as Laomedon in the pedigree of the Trojan family; Laomedon and Heracles were contemporary
since the latter rescued the former's young daughter
shown the possibility, even the likelihood, that a date near 968BC for the Fall of Troy is a better guess than 1184BC and
consistent with the Romulus pedigree, we turn again to Britain's legendary Brutus. In our first look at his pedigrees,
we noted that a birthdate near 835BC was required for him if those pedigrees were to be stable chronologically. By accepting
the alternate Nennius pedigree which makes Brutus born in the 6th generation after Aeneas (rather than in the 3rd succeeding
generation), we can conclude his pedigree is now at least possible.
Additionally, we can now
posit that Homer was probably alive at the same time that Telemachus son of Odyssius was an old man; that his source for the
Iliad and the Odyssey was quite possibly an eyewitness to the final battle and much of the subsequent journeys
of Odyssius. If Homer were born c. 940BC, he could have gleaned all the hundreds of tiny details, which characterize
his two classic poems, directly from Telemachus when the latter was in his 60's. And put the poems into written
form by 860BC. Most historians conjecture the works had to be passed down solely from memory for over 200 years before
being written down in the 9th century BC. By our redating of the Fall of Troy forward two centuries, it isn't necessary
to claim any such prodigioius feats of memory for over 6 generations of subsequent story-tellers.
 Titus Livius was born in 59BC; he wrote his History of Rome over
a 40 year period until his death in 17AD. His books I-V have been translated as "Livy, The Early History of Rome"
 Dionysius of Halicarnassensis lived from c. 60BC to about 7BC; his history
is called Roman Antiquities written during the reign of Augustus Caesar.
 Eratosthenes was a Greek geographer and mathematician who lived c. 276BC
to c. 194BC. His Chronographiai became the standard by which ancient dates were reckoned
 Dio Cassius (Cassius Dio Cocceianus) lived c. 160AD to 230AD.
His Roman History comprised 80 books of which only about 1/3 is now extant. Book 1 containing the history down
to the time of Romulus is now lost, but fragments were incorporated into the work of two later historians: Joannes Zonaras
of c. 1100AD and John Tzetzes of c. 1110-1180AD
 See the paper "Brutus, the Legendary Eponym of Britain" elsewhere on this
 In our earlier paper "The Chronology of Eratosthenes", Chart VI in Appendix
I shows the pedigree of Brutus from Nennius 18