Legendary Rivals: Collegiality and Ambition in the Tales of Early Rome


Author: Jaclyn Neel
In Legendary Rivals Jaclyn Neel argues for a new interpretation of the foundation myths of Rome. Instead of a negative portrayal of the city’s early history, these tales offer a didactic paradigm of the correct way to engage in competition.
Accounts from the triumviral period stress the dysfunctional nature of the city’s foundation to capture the memory of Rome’s civil wars. Republican evidence suggests a different emphasis. Through diachronic analyses of the tales of Romulus and Remus, Amulius and Numitor, Brutus and Collatinus, and Camillus and Manlius Capitolinus, Neel shows that Romans of the Republic and early Principate would have seen these stories as examples of competition that pushed the bounds of propriety.

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Jaclyn Neel, PhD (2012) University of Toronto, is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at York University. She has published in Classical Quarterly (forthcoming 2015) and Vetus Testamentum (2012).
"Legendary Rivals is a new and interesting account with a focus on contemporary elite contexts driving the selection and manipulation of myths in Rome", Jeremy Armstrong, Bryn mawr Classical Review 2015.11.23.

"Neel’s work contains several further valuable remarks and detailed analyses for the careful reader. By following the changes that the story of Romulus and Remus underwent through the centuries, she definitely encourages us to rethink the antique view on the foundation of Rome, the sharing of power and rivalry." Levente Takács, Ancient History Bulletin 2015.12.31.
This volume will be of interest to specialists in Republican history, early Rome, and Roman historiography. It is also accessible for non-specialists with interests in myth and historical memory.