It is precisely because the story of Romulus i…

It is precisely because the story of Romulus is mythic rather than historical, in the narrow sense, that it encapsulates so sharply some of the central cultural questions of ancient Rome, and is so important for understanding Roman history, in its wider definition.
The Romans had not, as they assumed, simply inherited the priorities and concerns of their founder. Quite the reverse: over centuries of retelling and then rewriting the story, they themselves had constructed the founding figure of Romulus as a powerful symbol of their preferences, debates, ideologies and and anxieties.
It was not, in other words, to go back to Horace, that civil war was the curse and destiny of Rome from its birth; Rome had projected its obsessions with the apparently unending cycle of civil conflict onto its founder.