First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Rhea, who was also called Ilia, daughter of Numitor the king, was at this time still a virgin. After her father was deposed by her uncle Amulius, she was placed among the virgins of the Vesta, the goddess of the fire, in order to compel her to remain a perpetual virgin. But when she became of full age and was moved by unchaste desires, she submitted to the most unworthy embraces of an unknown man. By him she became pregnant, and bore the twins Romulus and Remus. Because of this she was buried alive at the command of Amulius, her uncle. Thereafter he ordered the twins to be thrown into the Tiber at Rome. But when the servants could not get to the banks of the river itself because of the abundance of overflowing water, they placed the twins on the shore; and so Romulus and Remus were not done away with as Amulius had ordered. When the water receded, a she-wolf heard the cries of the children; and she left her young and followed the crying of the children. And she mothered them. Faustulus, the king's shepherd, found the children beside a tree and carried them home. He brought them up among the shepherds, according to their coarse peasant life. Some say they were the children of the pagan god Mars because they were born in the forest of Mars, or were nourished by a she-wolf (who is under the protection of this same Mars). As they grew up among the shepherds, they grew in size and fighting strength and waywardness from day to day. And when they became of age they murdered their uncle the king, and reinstated Numitor, their ancestor, as king. But in the following year he was deposed. And so were extinguished the names of the Latin or Albanian kings, a line of twenty-one kings, who had reigned six hundred and twenty-three years.

Remus, son of the Vestal Virgin Rhea, in this year, together with his brother Romulus, began the building of a city, which is now Rome. And as they were twins and equal heirs, they agreed to determine by means of bird augury which one was to rule and to name the city after him, Remus (who was in possession of the Aventine hill) first saw six vultures; and thereafter Romulus (who possessed the Palatine hill) saw twelve vultures. This, Romulus interpreted to mean that as he saw the greater number of birds, he should be the ruler of the city, and that the city according to the omen of the bloodthirsty birds of prey, would be a fighting one. Now, it was reckoned that an embankment which was thrown up, should be sufficient to protect the city. Remus laughed at that, and ridiculed Romulus. For this he was slain (some say at the behest of his brother, others say at the request of Fabius, the captain of the horse of Romulus). And he was buried outside the city because he had overstepped the marks or limits of the future wall of that city. This was the first sacrifice, by means of which he sanctified the fortification of the new city by his blood.[The story of Romulus and Remus was touched upon in connection with the mention of their uncle Amulius at Folio LIII recto and the note there, which brought the narrative to the point of assassination of Amulius and the restoration of Numitor to the throne. But, as stated by the chronicler, Numitor was again deposed in the following year, and the twins were his successors in equal right. Romulus and Remus loved their old abode and therefore left Alba to found a city on the banks of the Tiber. But they could not agree where the city should be built and after whom it should be named. Romulus wished to build it on the Palatine, Remus on the Aventine. They agreed to decide the question by augury; and each took his station on the top of his chosen hill. The night passed, and at dawn Remus saw six vultures; but at sunrise, when these tidings were brought to Romulus, twelve vultures flew by him. Each claimed the augury in his own favor; but the shepherds decided for Romulus, who proceeded to mark out the pomoerium, or line for the wall of his city, and to raise the wall itself. Remus, who still resented the wrong he had suffered, leaped over the wall in scorn; whereupon he was slain by his brother.]


Romulus, first king of the Romans, at the age of twenty-one years and in the three hundred and twenty-fourth year of David's kingdom (when Numitor was slain and the Latin kingdom became disrupted), together with his brother Remus and by the assistance of a number of shepherds, built a little village on unprotected ground; and he named it for himself. There (as Eusebius writes) he began to reign in the same year, and he reigned 38 years. Although Romulus was of doubtful origin, as Plutarch states, his natural manners and characteristics were not servile. He carried himself with royal dignity and courage, and gave promise of a ready and warlike disposition. He was a very eloquent speaker, and of civic renown; and therefore he attained high honors. After Rome was built he singled out those who had arrived at a sturdy age, and established military ranks for the practice of war. The rest of the inhabitants he called the people (populus). Therefore he created senators whom he called fathers (patres), his own progeny he called patricians. But as there was a dearth of inhabitants, he provided a forest in the vicinity, free to the general public; and to it came a great many people from many places; and thus was made up the Roman population. Therefore Romulus decreed that alleged games should be held: and many maidens living in the vicinity came to see the games, and were captured by the Romans and married. This was the cause of much war. The strength of the city being soon increased, this most wise king made the following arrangement in the state; that the young men, divided into tribes, should be ready, with horses and arms, for any sudden demands of war. When he had thus regulated matters, and was holding an assembly of the people at the lake of Caprea, near the city, he was suddenly snatched out of their sight.and once upon a time, outside the city, near a pool there, he was suddenly withdrawn from humankind.

This section is taken from Florus' Epitome de T. Livio Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri duo (1.1). Florus, a Roman historian living at the time of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian, made a very abridged compilation of Roman history taken mainly from Livy. It was a beloved text in the Middle Ages, perhaps because of its ‘rhetorically enhanced' (even bombastic) shaping of Roman historical events.

Romulus found the people too few in numbers. The city had become filled with men, but they wanted women. Romulus therefore tried to form treaties with the neighboring tribes in order to obtain connubium, or the right of legal marriage with his citizens; but his offers were met with disdain, and he resolved to obtain by force what he could not gain by entreaty. Four months after the foundation of the city, he proclaimed that games were to be celebrated in honor of the god Consus, and invited his neighbors, the Latins and the Sabines, to the festival. Suspecting no treachery, they came in numbers, with their wives and children. But the Roman youths rushed upon their guests and carried off the virgins. The parents returned home and prepared for vengeance. Three of the Latin towns took up arms, but were successively defeated by the Romans. At last the Sabine king advanced with a powerful army and desperate battles were fought. At length when both parties were exhausted by the struggle, the Sabine women rushed in between them, and prayed their husbands and fathers to be reconciled. Their prayer was heard; the two people not only made peace, but agreed to form a single nation. Finally, Romulus ruled alone over both Romans and Sabines. He reigned 37 years, and was at length taken away from the world. One day as he was reviewing his people in the Campus Martius, near the Goat's Pool (Caprea), the sun was suddenly eclipsed, darkness overspread the earth, and a dreadful storm dispersed the people. When daylight returned, Romulus had disappeared, for his father Mars had carried him up to heaven in a fiery chariot.

As Romulus was regarded as the father of Rome, its most ancient political institutions and the organization of the people were ascribed to him. Thus he is said to have divided the people into three tribes which bore the names Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. The Ramnes were supposed to have derived their name from Romulus, the Tities from Titus Tatius, the Sabine king, and the Luceres from Lucumo, an Etruscan chief who had assisted Romulus against the Sabines. Each tribe contained ten curiae, which received their names from the thirty Sabine women who had brought about the peace. Each curia contained ten gentes, and each gens 100 men. Thus the people, according to general belief were originally divided into 3 tribes, 30 curiae, and 300 gentes, which mustered 3000 men, who fought on foot, and were called a legion. Besides those there were 300 horsemen, called Celeres. To assist him in the government of the people Romulus is said to have selected a number of aged men in the state, who were called Patres or Senatores. The council itself, which was called the senatus, originally consisted of 100 members, but this was increased to 200 when the Sabines were incorporated into the state. In addition to the senate, there was another assembly, consisting of the members of the gentes, which bore the name of comitia, because they voted in it according to their division into curiae.


Here we have the beginning of a new genealogy:

  1. Rhea (also called Rhea Silvia, or Ilia), the virgin who bore Romulus and Remus. She is represented by a woodcut portraying her as a crowned queen with scepter in hand; but instead of an orb, she holds in the other hand a branch that proceeds to Remus and from there to Romulus. This woodcut is here used for the first time.
  2. Romulus is represented by appears as a king, with crown, orb and scepter. In the German edition of the Chronicle, Remus appears here, and the phrase that precedes Romulus' name in the Latin edition, Regnu(m) roma(n)oru(m) (‘Of the Roman Kings') does not appear in the German edition.
  3. Remus appears as a king, with crown, orb and scepter. In the German edition of the Chronicle, Romulus appears here.