Lesson #1: Men or Myths?
Have you read about the Trojan War yet? Believe it or not, it’s where the story of Romulus begins!
Here’s an article about Helen, Queen of Sparta: “Helen of Troy: The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships” from ThoughtCo.
And here are some of my favorite retellings of the Trojan War:
But was Troy a Real City?
You can see the World UNESCO site for the Archeological evidence of Troy here.
Here’s an article to tell you more about the archeological evidence of Troy: “In Search of Troy” from the Smithsonian Musuem.
Lesson #2: The She-Wolf
Take a virtual tour of the Salla della Lupa (Hall of the She-Wolf) of the Capitoline Museum Gallery via Google Arts here.
The Vestal Virgins
Vesta is the goddess of the hearth, home, and family in the religion of ancient Rome. Only her priestesses, the Vestal Virgins, were allowed in Vesta’s temple where they tended the sacred fire.
There were 6 Vestal Virgins, chosen between the ages of 6 and 10, who then served as priestesses for 30 years.
Lesson #3: A Secret Revealed
Lesson #4: The Founding of Rome
Want to learn more about the “auspicious” beginning of Rome? Read this article from Prayers and Piazzas: “Of Birds, Brothers and Beginnings: The Birth of Rome”
You can read more about the vultures of Europe at the Discover Wildlife website here.
The Oracle of Delphi: The Most Powerful Woman of Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, the Pythian Oracle was the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. She was also known as the Oracle of Delphi and as the Pythoness.
Apollo was the god of prophecy and was seen as a source of guidance. As a result, the ancient Greeks built many sites for the oracles of Apollo. The Oracle of Delphi became the most well-known and influential of all the oracles. People would come from far and wide to consult her.
The Oracle of Delphi was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the ancients Greeks, and she was one of the most powerful women in the classical world.
The Oracle of Delphi is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greeks. Authors who have mentioned her include Aristotle, Diogenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Livy, Plato, Sophocles, Thucydides, and of course, Plutarch.
You can read more about the Pythia in this interesting article by The Conversation: “Hidden Women of History: The Priestess Pythia at The Delphic Oracle, Who Spoke Truth to Power”
Delphi: The Center of the World
The ancient Greeks considered Delphi to be the center of the world. Located on Mount Parnassus, it was named after the Delphyne, a she-serpent Drakaina who lived there (in other accounts the serpent was the male serpent, Drakon or Python).
According to Greek mythology, the hill was guarded by the serpent, who was a follower of the Earth goddess Gaia. Apollo claimed Delphi as his own sanctuary after killing the serpent.
The Pythia became Apollo’s high priestess and his mouthpiece through whom he gave prophecies.
The name Pythia is derived from the Greek verb púthein “to rot,” which refers to the sickly sweet smell from the decomposing body of the monstrous Python after it was slain by Apollo.
Ode to a King: The Galerie d’Apollon
The Galerie d’Apollon (Apollo Gallery) within the Louvre Museum is dedicated to the god Apollo. The gilded hall was commissioned by King Louis XIV of France.
King Louis XIV famously identified himself with the sun god Apollo and this splendid gallery was the first tangible representation of that image. To create this masterpiece of architectural decoration, he summoned the greatest painters, gilders and sculptors of the day, who later worked on the Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles.
– Louvre Museum website
Below you can see the painting Apollo Slays the Python by Eugène Delacroix on the ceiling of the Galerie d’Apollon.
You can see more of the Galerie d’Apollon on the Louvre’s website here or in the video below.
Plutarch at Delphi
Did you know? Plutarch was a Priest at Delphi.
Around 95 CE, Plutarch was appointed as one of the two sanctuary priests for the temple of Apollo at Delphi.
His priestly duties connected with his writings. In his book, Moralia, Plutarch wrote two articles about the Pythia: “Why Pythia Does Not Give Oracles in Verse” and “On the ‘E’ at Delphi.”
You can visit the archeological site of Delphi here: UNESCO Archeological Site of Delphi
Lesson #5: The Abduction of the Sabine Women
The legend of the abduction of the Sabine women in ancient Rome is a disturbing one, to say the least.
How does Plutarch treat the subject as he retells the legend? Please see the study questions for this lesson in both resources:
Sabine, Not Sobbin'
This story is the subject of a song called “Sobbin’ Women” in the 1954 movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
The movie was based on the short story “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was based on the ancient Roman legend of the abduction of the Sabine women.
You can see the song in the video below. How much of the story as portrayed in the song is incorrect? Compare and contrast the attitudes regarding the treatment of women in ancient Rome, the 1954 movie, and the present-day.
The Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome. It could hold more than 150,000 spectators and was the site of chariot races.
According to Livy’s History of Rome, the Circus Maximus was built by the 5th king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, also known as Tarquin the Elder. Later kings and emperors added to it.
Learn more about the artwork for Lesson #5 on the Picture Study Resources page for Romulus.
Lesson #6: War and Treachery
Regarding the story of Tarpeia, you can see a picture of the Tarpeian Rock below as it looked in 2008.
Lesson #7: The Intervention of the Sabine Women
The above image is a detail from David’s Intervention of the Sabine Women.
For more information about this painting, see the Plutarch Picture Study Resources page for Romulus.
Lesson #8: The Romans and Sabines Make Peace
You can read more about Roman togas in this ThoughtCo article: The 6 Types of Togas Worn in Ancient Rome
You can read more about the Lupercalia festival in this article by the American Shakespeare Center: “You know it is the Feast of Lupercal”: February Traditions Now and Then.
Lesson #9: A Murder and a Plague
In this lesson, Plutarch says there was “blood rain” with the plague.
According to a study published in the journal Phylogenetics and Evolutionary Biology, blood rain can be caused by the presence of the microalgae Trentepohlia annulata.
Other scientists say it can also be caused by dust particles in the air.
Or watch the video below.
Besides a murder and a plague, this chapter also recounts several laws that Romulus enacted.
The image above is a detail from La Mort de Tatius by Jacques Réattu.
For more information about this painting and others, see the Plutarch Picture Study Resources page for Romulus.
Lesson #10: Romulus Quirinus
In this lesson, Plutarch mentions the Battle of Zama which was fought between Rome and Carthage and led by the great military leaders Scipio Africanus and Hannibal, respectively.
The image below shows one artist’s depiction of the battle.
As always, keep learning!