Chronicles From the City Founding, by Livius Titus, Book I

Chapter 4

The story of Romulus, Remus, and the she-wolf.

But owed, as I believe, to the fates is the origin of a city of such measure, and the beginning of the greatest imperium, after the might of the gods. After the Vestal1 was restrained by force, when she had brought forth a twin birth, she named Mars the father of her dubious offspring, whether she believed it to be so or because a god as progenitor was more honourable than the cause. But neither gods nor men championed her or her offspring against royal cruelty : the priestess was bound and put under guard, and he ordered that her children be sent into flowing water. By some divine chance the river poured out beyond the banks of the Tiber to gentle pools and it was it was not able to be approached in any way to its proper course and this gave hope to those bearing the infants that they could be submerged in the water, however languid. Thus, like as to be discharged from the command of the king, in the nearest overflow, where there is now a Rumina fig-tree—reportedly called the Romularis—they did expose the boys. In these places there were empty solitudes at that time. The report holds that, after the meager water had set down upon dry land the floating bathing tub in which the boys were exposed, a thirsty she-wolf from the mountains that encircle there turned her course toward the childish crying :  and she lowered herself to the infants and proffered her teats so very gentle that the master of the royal cattle discovered her licking the boys with her tongue—they say his name was Faustulus—from there to his stable, they were given to his wife, Laurentia, to raise. There are those who would posit that Laurentia, since her body was made widely available2, was called a she-wolf among the shepherds : from that point it has given way to fable and miracle. Thus were they born and raised, and when their age first ripened, although they were not sluggish in their quarters nor to the herds, they wandered the woodlands for hunting. Hence, with their bodies and minds having assumed oaken strength, they no longer stood against wild animals, but made assaults against freebooters laden with spoils, and divided the plunder for the shepherds and with this gang of young men, increasing daily, they celebrated both their japes and their serious undertakings.

1. Rhea Silvia, daughter of the king Numitor. Her uncle, Amulius, usurped his brother’s throne and forced her to become a Vestal Virgin. All the freely-available translations explicitly say here that she was raped but the Latin reads, vi compressa, “held (or restrained) by force”. Rape is presumably implied.
2. That is, she was a prostitute. The Latin word for she-wolf, lupa, was slang for a prostitute in Rome. There is another double-entendre as well. Faustulus brought Romulus and Remus back to his stabulum, meaning his hut or dwelling, but a stabulum could also be a tavern or brothel.

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