Fun Fact: Woodpeckers in Roman Myth

Woodpeckers were sacred to the Romans. After the great-uncle of Romulus and Remus threw his nephews into the river, and after they grew old enough to leave their wolf-mother, they were fed by woodpeckers. This, of course, was long before they met their grandfather Numitor, slew their great-uncle, and set off to found their own city.

They stood upon a hill, Romulus upon the Palantine and Remus upon the Aventine, awaiting a sign from the gods as to who would be king of the new city. Remus saw six vultures above his hill; but Romulus saw twelve above his own hill, and the contest was over. Romulus founded the city of Rome, and when Remus leapt over its boundary in defiance, Romulus slew him.

This, of course, is pure mythology. No one really knows the exact origins of the Roman Empire. Be that as it may, there wasn’t an ancient Roman alive who didn’t know this story.

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