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Romulus and Remus

Melvyn Bragg and guests Mary Beard, Peter Wiseman and Tim Cornell discuss Romulus and Remus, the foundation myth of Rome.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Romulus and Remus, the central figures of the foundation myth of Rome. According to tradition, the twins were abandoned by their parents as babies, but were saved by a she-wolf who found and nursed them. Romulus killed his brother after a vicious quarrel, and went on to found a city, which was named after him.

The myth has been at the core of Roman identity since the 1st century AD, although the details vary in different versions of the story. For many Roman writers, the story embodied the ethos and institutions of their civilisation. The image of the she-wolf suckling the divinely fathered twins remains a potent icon of the city even today.


Mary Beard
Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge

Peter Wiseman
Emeritus Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter

Tim Cornell
Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 Jan 2013 21:30


Professor Mary Beard at the University of Cambridge


Professor Peter Wiseman at the University of Exeter


Professor Tim Cornell at the University of Manchester


Romulus and Remus - Wikipedia





Andrea Carandini, Rome: Day One (Princeton University Press, 2011)


T. J. Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000 – 264 BC) (Routledge, 1995)


A. Fraschetti, The Foundation of Rome (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)


A. Grandazzi, The Foundation of Rome: Myth and History (Cornell University Press, 1997)


Livy (trans. Aubrey De Selincourt), The Early History of Rome: Books I-V (Penguin Classics, 2002)


Livy (trans. T. J. Luce), The Rise of Rome, Books 1-5 (Oxford University Press, 2009)


Ovid (trans. Anne and Peter Wiseman), Times and Reasons: A New Translation of Fasti (Oxford University Press, 2011)


Plutarch (trans. Bernadotte Perrin), Lives, vol. 1 (Loeb Classical Library, 1914)


T. P. Wiseman, Remus: A Roman Myth (Cambridge University Press, 1995)


T. P. Wiseman, The Myths of Rome (Liverpool University Press, 2008)



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