Why Rome celebrates its birthday on April 21st


According to legend, the Eternal City isn’t ageless but 2,775 years old this week. Here’s the history behind Rome’s birthday......................................................... Why Rome celebrates its birthday on April 21st Rome last celebrated its birthday in full in April 2019. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP Italy’s capital celebrates the anniversary of its founding on April 21st every year – a very specific date for an event surrounded by mystery. The stories we have about Rome’s birth come from Ancient Romans, who were hardly the most reliable sources: they weren’t interested in documenting the mundane process of how settlements develop over time, but wanted to tie their city to gods, fate and myths to bolster its standing as Caput Mundi, head of the Roman Empire and rightful ‘capital of the world’. The legend goes that Aeneas, son of the goddess Aphrodite and prince of the doomed Greek city of Troy, led the survivors of the Trojan War across the Mediterranean and all the way to the Italian peninsula. Having been guided by gods and destiny to the southwest coast, the hero fought a rival king and married a local princess, winning the right for the Trojans and their descendants to settle. Two of these descendants were Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers abandoned by the River Tiber because the reigning king feared they might one day challenge him for the throne. The boys survived thanks to a she-wolf who nursed them and a shepherd who took them in, before growing into brave fighters with ambitions to found a city of their own.