Ade – “Pomerivm”

Day 2 of 7 Days of Roman Founders. Last time we provided an overview of the myth of Romulus & Remus, and Manilla Road’s reception thereof. Today we move into more extreme territory, to the folk-infused Italian death metal of Ade, natives of the city of Rome itself. The band’s entire concept is devoted to brining to life their ancestors’ history, and so it is fitting that “Pomerivm” open their debut album with the city’s legendary foundation. Indeed, Prooemium Sanguine translates to “beginning by blood.”

The “pomerium” is the name of the sacred boundary of the city, within which nobody can carry weapons lest they offend the gods, symbolizing the city’s inviolability to hostile attacks. It is the very boundary that Romulus traced with his plough after winning the augury contest to rule the city, and the very boundary over which Remus blasphemously leapt which sealed his fate, slain by his brother’s own hand. When Romulus struck Remus, the historian Livy reports that he said “sic deinde quicumque alius transiliet moenia mea,” which means “thus it shall be for anyone else hereafter who leaps over my walls!” Ade begin the song with these words, but then flash backward in the story, noting that before Rome’s city of marble stood, there were only barbaric forests. They then fast forward to the augury contest.

Divination by the flight of birds was a ritual designed to discern the will of the gods, yet Ade place little faith in this institution. Nothing determines the flight patterns of vultures except the vultures themselves, and even they are completely oblivious to the fact that they are being observed for such purposes. It’s left entirely to chance which brother sees more birds. Even their father Mars, one of the gods whose will the brothers’ would discern, watches for the result of the contest as though he himself didn’t know which of his sons would win! The vultures must choose. The fate of so great a city and empire as that of Rome depended on such blind, random chance. Perhaps this is only fair: they were twins, after all. Why not roll the dice?

Yet Mars did seem prescient of one thing, that with the triumph of one brother must come the death of the other (there can by only one!), a sacrifice to sanction the reign of Rome’s first king. When Remus leapt over the pomerium, he sealed his fate as that blood offering to consecrate the city’s walls, and to become the line of blood that separates a barbarous past from a civilized future. Though this may be chauvinistic, it does acknowledge that blood is the price of civilization, that Rome’s bringing of culture to the world amounted to the violent extirpation of other cultures, much as Romulus, though equal to his twin brother, killed him.

Sic deinde quicumque alius transiliet moenia mea

All this started with two brothers
in a place where time was stuck
this marble didn’t see any light yet
there was nothing but woods

Vultures flew in a sky once pure
unconscious they where going to decide
the world whole destiny, the path of civility
the line of blood dividing past and future

Sons of the Tiber, sons of the wolf
owners of this world
Sons of the Tiber, sons of the wolf
owners of this world

Mars looked from up high
pointed a finger and said
“Only one will survive
he’ll be the king of my reign”

Now the vultures have to choose,
the who will see them first
but Mars can’t give a reign
without a drop of blood

Weaker one crossed Pomerium
insult to Gods and his brother
Mars is ready to receive a sacrifice
the blood will baptize this empire

His same blood on his hands
the same colour of sunset
while the vultures fly in a red sky
Mars laughs in a silent cry

Sic deinde cuicumque alius transiliet moenia mea

Mars is ready to receive a sacrifice
the blood will baptize this empire

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