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Day One
Andrea Carandini
Translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Hardcover | 2011 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691139227
184 pp. | 5 1/2 x 7 | 32 halftones. 30 line illus. 2 tables.
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Andrea Carandini's archaeological discoveries and controversial theories about ancient Rome have made international headlines over the past few decades. In this book, he presents his most important findings and ideas, including the argument that there really was a Romulus--a first king of Rome--who founded the city in the mid-eighth century BC, making it the world's first city-state, as well as its most influential. Rome: Day One makes a powerful and provocative case that Rome was established in a one-day ceremony, and that Rome's first day was also Western civilization's.

Historians tell us that there is no more reason to believe that Rome was actually established by Romulus than there is to believe that he was suckled by a she-wolf. But Carandini, drawing on his own excavations as well as historical and literary sources, argues that the core of Rome's founding myth is not purely mythical. In this illustrated account, he makes the case that a king whose name might have been Romulus founded Rome one April 21st in the mid-eighth century BC, most likely in a ceremony in which a white bull and cow pulled a plow to trace the position of a wall marking the blessed soil of the new city. This ceremony establishing the Palatine Wall, which Carandini discovered, inaugurated the political life of a city that, through its later empire, would influence much of the world.

Uncovering the birth of a city that gave birth to a world, Rome: Day One reveals as never before a truly epochal event.


"Tradition assigns [the founding of Rome] to the year 753 B.C., when Romulus--who, according to legend, was rescued from infanticide with his twin brother Remus and suckled by a she-wolf--erected the first walls of the so-called Roma Quadrata, or 'square Rome.' It has been a very long time since anyone took this account as an accurate historical description, but Carandini provocatively suggests that it might be more or less true."--Adam Kirsch, New Yorker

"It has been assumed generally that the traditional founding of Rome by twin brothers Romulus and Remus 28 centuries ago should be classified as myth. This provocative examination by a highly regarded but controversial archaeologist suggests, however, that the story contains more than a grain of truth . . . he marshals considerable evidence, written and archaeological, to bolster his claims, and his conclusions certainly are startling and exciting."--Jay Freeman, Booklist

"Carandini's gifts as an archaeologist are admired even by those who don't accept his interpretations and Rome: Day One is full of fascinating detail."--The Age

"'It's a bold book, but will not persuade all readers,' said ancient Rome Professor Christopher Smith of the British School at Rome. '[Still] no one in recent years has done more than Carandini to challenge our perceptions.'"--New York Post

"Researchers will be intrigued with Carandini's precise picture of early Rome and the fine illustrations."--Choice

"What makes Rome: Day One such an extraordinary book is not the erudite descriptions but the energetic style of prose. For a volume so packed with detail, it remains an astonishingly easy read. . . . This is a book written to bring those early days to the attention of anyone and everyone."--Caldrail, UNRV History

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Table of Contents:

First Thoughts 1
An Epochal Event 12
The Site of Rome before Rome 15
The Places of Rome 27
Remus and Romulus and the Kings of Alba Longa 33

The Preliminary Rite on the Aventine 41
The Blessing of the Palatine and the Founding of Roma Quadrata 50

The Forum 64
The Capitolium and the Arx 93

The Ordering of Time 101
The Ordering of Space and Men 102
Enemies 110

Literary Sources 123
Index 165

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File created: 7/11/2017

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