BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “Before 775/750 BC, which is the space of time considered by excavators to be the most likely period in which Rome was founded, there were no cities or states in the Mediter­ranean of a more or less constitutional character. From 775/750 BC to the fifth–sixth centuries AD, in the western Mediterranean, and much later in the eastern Mediterranean, a world based on the ‘ancient’ city-states was created—and then swallowed up by the Roman Empire. After the period of decadence of the Western cities between the fifth–sixth and tenth–eleventh centuries ad, during which protohistory seems to revive, the cities blossomed anew, never to fall again into decadence. A number of these cities achieved a degree of regional prominence, while others became centers and me­tropolises of large states.”

Rome: Day One by Andrea Carandini
Translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Andrea Carandini’s archaeological discoveries and controversial theories about ancient Rome have made international headlines over the past few decades. In this book, he presents his most important findings and ideas, including the argument that there really was a Romulus—a first king of Rome—who founded the city in the mid-eighth century BC, making it the world’s first city-state, as well as its most influential. Rome: Day One makes a powerful and provocative case that Rome was established in a one-day ceremony, and that Rome’s first day was also Western civilization’s.

Historians tell us that there is no more reason to believe that Rome was actually established by Romulus than there is to believe that he was suckled by a she-wolf. But Carandini, drawing on his own excavations as well as historical and literary sources, argues that the core of Rome’s founding myth is not purely mythical. In this illustrated account, he makes the case that a king whose name might have been Romulus founded Rome one April 21st in the mid-eighth century BC, most likely in a ceremony in which a white bull and cow pulled a plow to trace the position of a wall marking the blessed soil of the new city. This ceremony establishing the Palatine Wall, which Carandini discovered, inaugurated the political life of a city that, through its later empire, would influence much of the world.

Uncovering the birth of a city that gave birth to a world, Rome: Day One reveals as never before a truly epochal event.

“It has been assumed generally that the traditional founding of Rome by twin brothers Romulus and Remus 28 centuries ago should be classified as myth. This provocative examination by a highly regarded but controversial archaeologist suggests, however, that the story contains more than a grain of truth . . . he marshals considerable evidence, written and archaeological, to bolster his claims, and his conclusions certainly are startling and exciting.”—Jay Freeman, Booklist

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9397.pdf