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Oh, my dear! I’m afraid you've mistaken me for someone else! My name is Rhea Silvia. I was the mother to Romulus and Remus, thousands of years ago. But you’re so kind to think I look as young as the 1950s.

–Rhea Silvia to Annabeth Chase, in The Mark of Athena

Rhea Silvia (also known as Ilia) was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who later on founded the mightiest empire in decades: Rome.

History

She was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa, and descended from Aeneas. Numitor's younger brother Amulius seized the throne and killed Numitor's son, then forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the goddess Vesta. Since Vestal Virgins were sworn to celibacy for a period of thirty years, this would ensure the line of Numitor had no heirs.

However, when the war god Mars had discovered her in the forest he seduced her, which would later cause Rhea Silvia to give birth to the twins Romulus and Remus.

When Amulius learned of the birth he buried Rhea Silvia in the ground to suffocate and die, and ordered a servant to kill the twins. Nevertheless, the servant showed mercy and set them adrift on the Tiber River, which, overflowing, left the infants in a pool by the bank. There Lupa, who had just lost her own cubs, found them and cared for them. Tiberinus saved Rhea Silvia before she could die and married her.

Romulus and Remus went on to found Rome, overthrow Amulius, and reinstate Numitor as King of Alba Longa.

The Heroes of Olympus

The Mark of Athena

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Audrey Hepburn, who Rhea Silvia is said to look like.

Rhea Silvia and her husband Tibernius help Annabeth Chase to start off her quest for the Athena Parthenos in Rome, Italy. While driving to the starting point of the journey, Rhea talks about the vast history of Rome, telling Annabeth about how buildings have changed over the years and how her husband saved her children on the banks of his river.

Appearance

Not much is known about her appearance, but that she is mistaken for and repeatedly compared to Audrey Hepburn.

Trivia

  • She's one of the few mortals/legacies to have become a goddess after her death, another being Hersilia, wife of Romulus.
  • She shares her first name with Rhea, the wife of Kronos and mother of the Big Three. Like her namesake, Rhea Silvia bore famous sons who accomplished great mythological deeds.
The Heroes of Olympus
Core Series: The Lost Hero | The Son of Neptune | The Mark of Athena | The House of Hades | The Blood of Olympus
Main Characters: Jason Grace | Piper McLean | Leo Valdez | Percy Jackson | Frank Zhang | Hazel Levesque | Annabeth Chase | Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano | Nico di Angelo | Gleeson Hedge
Minor Characters: Rachel Elizabeth Dare | Thalia Grace | Octavian | Fleecy | Dakota | Ella | Tyson | Mrs. O'Leary | Arion | Hylla | Echo | Bob | Calypso
Olympian Gods: Zeus | Hera | Poseidon | Hades | Ares | Demeter | Athena | Apollo | Artemis | Hephaestus | Aphrodite | Hermes | Dionysus
Minor Gods: Achelous | Aeolus | Asclepius | Boreas | Keto | Khione | Thanatos | Iris | Hypnos | Hecate | Nemesis | Mithras | Notus | Triptolemus | Zephyros | Serapis | Kymopoleia | Nike | Phorcys
Roman Gods: Jupiter | Juno | Neptune | Pluto | Mars | Minerva | Ceres | Lupa | Bellona | Fortuna | Janus | Terminus | Vulcan | Mercury | Pomona | Aquilon | Hercules | Cupid | Auster | Favonius | Letus | Victoria | Orcus
Giants: Enceladus | Porphyrion | Polybotes | Alcyoneus | Ephialtes | Otis | Damasen | Clytius | Mimas | Orion | Hippolytus | Thoon | Periboia
Undead: Echo | Gray | Lityerses | Medea | Midas | Narcissus | Otrera | Phineas | Sciron
Primordial Gods: Gaea | Tartarus | Ourae | Nyx | Chaos | Ouranos | Akhlys | Erebos | Hemera | Elpis | Spes
Companion Books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians | Demigods and Monsters | The Ultimate Guide | The Demigod Files | The Demigod Diaries | The Son of Sobek | The Singer of Apollo | The Staff of Serapis | Percy Jackson's Greek Gods | Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes | The Crown of Ptolemy | Demigods & Magicians