Saturday, April 23, 2011


view of the Palatine hill from the Circus Maximus
Thursday, April 21 marked the 2764th anniversary of the founding of Roma (if your not quick at math, that makes it 753 BC),  so over the weekend I made a pilgrimage to the supposed spot of the Romulean hut on the Palatine.  It isnt much to look at now, just a few tufa blocks scattered about which belong to the infrastructure of a temple of the 2nd century BC that partially obscure a bit of bedrock with a few holes in it from the 8th century BC.  But a  simple reed hut stood for over a thousand years, anchored in those holes, tended by priests who patched and repaired with care the reeds as the city expanded from the modest pomerium of Romulus to the marble faced concrete heart of empire.
Pomerium.  The sacred boundary of the City laid out by Romulus, original dimensions marked by cippi, or boundary stones, circumnavigated the Palatine.  Romulus killed his twin Remus for violating the pomerium.  The pomerium is not the same as the city walls, which are military in function, though they may have run in tandem.  The pomerium is sacred and religious in function.  It is a reflection of the divine cosmos on earth, laid out through augury and divination.  I stood there for a good bit staring at those little holes, thinking about the sacred and the divine, and how today our urban planning is strictly financial (and political).  Tourist came and went, believing there wasnt anything to see (the little sign that says house of Romulus in fake latin script is obsured by dirt)

8th century BC holes upper center 
The hut dissapeared sometime in the late 4th century AD, like so many other things ancient and vulnerable.  The last games in the Colosseum were held in 404 AD.  The past was  replaced by a new order and a newish concept of the divine which was not associated with the earth, but resided in its entirety elsewhere.


  1. What a beautiful and achingly sad story. I'm so glad that you care about this story and honour it and the site, while the rest of the tourists pass by and see nothing.

  2. Darling, fun and really interesting blog, but why no link to your website???