After the fall of Troy, the gods ordered a Trojan prince called Aeneas to lead his people to a promised land in the West. When Aeneas's group reached Italy, they joined forces with a people known as the Latins.
About 800 B.C., a Latin princess gave birth to twin sons, fathered by Mars, the god of war. The princess loved her sons, but she had taken an oath never to have children. Because she broke her word, she was to be punished. Her sons, Romulus and Remus, were taken from her and left to die on the banks of the flooding Tiber River.
Romulus and Remus were found by a she-wolf, which fed and cared for the baby boys. One day, a shepherd killed the she-wolf and discovered the babies. He took them to his home, and the shepherd and his wife took care of the boys as if they were their own children.
The boys grew up into strong young men, destined to be shepherds like their adopted father. However, the twins were unhappy and wanted to do more with their lives. They decided to build a city on the Tiber River, where the she-wolf had once found them. However, both twins wanted to be king. They decided to let the gods choose which brother should rule the city.
So, each brother climbed to the top of a different hill to watch for a sign from the gods. Then, 12 vultures flew over the Palatine Hill where Romulus stood. Believing this was a sign from the gods, Romulus claimed to be king. He and Remus fought, and Remus was killed. Romulus became king of the city, which he named Rome after himself.
Romulus ruled over Rome for 38 years. One day, however, Romulus disappeared in a violent storm. It was announced that Romulus had been taken to the heavens, where he would continue to look after Rome as the god Quirinus.