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4 Rites

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Chapter Summary

Ritual is admittedly a problematic category, but it also allows us to see Romulus and Remus in a different light. The major rituals associated with Romulus and Remus are the festivals of the Lupercalia and Parilia. Romulus and Remus lived in a rustic and pastoral world. This was a far cry from the Rome of the writers who imagined them: an urban, Hellenizing city, with monumental buildings and lavish houses on the Palatine, and with continuous construction. The festivals that claimed continuity from Romulus' day to the present helped encode those memories and map them onto the city, allowing contemporary Romans to connect with their founder and reminding them of their origins. The Lupercalia, for example, involved the participation of young elite men in a ritual re-enactment of productive competition; these men were frequently either members of the political elite themselves or related to important men in the city's government.

Keywords: contemporary Romans; Hellenizing city; Lupercalia; Remus; ritual; Romulus



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