The Rome foundation legend of Romulus and Remus maintains the brothers were the abandoned grandsons of Numitor, a king of Alba Longa (the legendary kings of Latium). The site reputedly chosen by Romulus at the foot of the Palatine Hill was located at a place where the River Tiber could be forded, a natural conduit for trade. By the time of Rome’s foundation, the Greeks were visiting Italy and their first colony, Cumae, was founded in c. 740 BCE, to the south of Rome. To the north, the Villanovan Iron Age culture was evolving into (or being supplanted by) the sophisticated and urbanized Etruscan culture. Thus, Rome’s position afforded commercial opportunity: the graves on the Esquiline suggest this opportunity was grasped, with art and artefacts indicating a wealthy aristocracy had developed by 700 BCE.
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