Why is it called Rome?
Origin of the name!
The origin of the name of Rome is shrouded in mystery because when historians began to wonder about its origin the threads of memory had already been cut.
The interpretations, therefore, are different and each has that fascinating and mysterious something that, although clearly fantastic and legendary, captures our curiosity.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the oldest interpretation dates back to Servius, who lived between the 4th and 5th centuries AD, who claimed that the name “Rome” derived from an archaic name of the Tiber, “Rumon” or “Rumen”, whose root derives from the verb “ruo”, or “to flow”, so that Rome would have meant the “City on the River”.
Greek-speaking historians, however, perhaps eager to consider Rome a city of Hellenic origin, narrated the arrival of Trojan refugees on the Lazio coast where their leader Enea would have founded a city by giving it the name of one of the women, “Rome “, which, tired of navigating from one land to another, would have convinced her companions to burn the ships.
In another version of the legend “Rome” she became Ascanio’s daughter and Enea’s granddaughter, while in yet another it was said that “Rome”, a Trojan who arrived in Italy with some of her companions, married Latino and had two children, “Romos” and “Romylos” (Remo and Romolo), who founded the city by dedicating it to the mother.
In these stories there is a common element, the derivation of the name from “Rome”, of which at least the etymology is certain, “romé”, which in Greek means “strength”.
Certainly the legend of the foundation of the city by Romulus and Remus is known to many: according to Varro it was the year 753 BC, April 21 to be exact, or, as the ancients said, the eleventh day before the calends of May.
Perhaps even the ancients had understood that this story was a mixture of fairy tale and myth, but equally they remained tied to tradition for a kind of religious respect.
Most likely it was Romulus who took the name from Rome and not vice versa.
Another important interpretation on the etymology of the term recalls that the first nucleus of the Palatine, dating back to around the end of 2000 BC, had another name, replaced during the Etruscan domination by “Ruma”, which the Latins would later pronounce Rome.
But what was the meaning of this word?
The term “ruma”, with the variants “rumis” and “rumen”, meant, both in the archaic Latin and in the Etruscan, from which it derived, “stern”.
If this were the origin of the name, we could interpret “ruma” not only as a breast that offers nourishment and life but also, in a translated sense, as the seat of the vital forces contained in the chest and therefore “strong”, analogous to the Latin ” valentia “and the greek” romé “.
This hypothesis would also explain why an Etruscan she-wolf with milk-swollen breasts was chosen as the symbol of the city.