Romulus was ounder and first king of Rome. He and his twin brother, Remus, were the sons of Mars, god of war, and of Rhea Silvia, also called Ilia, one of the vestal virgins. Rhea Silvia was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa, who had been deposed by his younger brother Amulius. Amulius had made Rhea Silvia a priestess so that she would have no children to make claims against his throne. After the birth of her two boys, to remove any threat against himself, he had them thrown in a basket into the Tiber River. The twins were not drowned, however. They were rescued and nursed by a she-wolf on the slope of the Palatine Hill and were later discovered by the shepherd Faustulus and reared by his wife, Acca Larentia. When they grew to manhood, the brothers deposed Amulius and placed their grandfather Numitor on the throne.
The brothers then decided to build a city. After quarreling over the spot, they finally chose the Palatine Hill. Romulus built a wall, over which Remus, to show its inadequacy, scornfully leaped; Remus was thereupon killed by Romulus or one of his companions, and Romulus became sole ruler of the city. He provided an asylum on the Capitoline Hill for runaway slaves and homicides and procured wives for them by seizing the Sabine women at a festival to which he had invited the Sabines. After a series of wars between Romulus and the Sabines, they were finally reconciled, with Romulus as king. According to legend, Romulus was carried up to the heavens by his father, and was later worshiped as the god Quirinus.