87 Sylvia

This minor planet is named after Rhea Silvia (or Rea Silvia, or Ilia), a woman from Roman myth. She carried royal blood, descended from Aeneas, but was forced to become a Vestal virgin so as to destroy the bloodline. She later gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus, who according to myth were fathered by Mars.

This minor planet is not named after Sylvie Petiaux-Hugo Flammarion, the first wife of astronomer Camille Flammarion, as some sources attest.

The symbol of this minor planet derives from the root of the Latin name "Sylvia," meaning "woman of the forest." The symbol is a tree glyph, consisting of a vertical line with three closely-spaced carats on it representing tree branches, over a female cross.

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This minor planet, quite appropriately, has two moons, each named after one of Rhea Silvia's twin children. They were almost killed as babies, but the river god Tiberinus rescued them. Then they were suckled by a she-wolf. I don't know why the wolf would do that, but the Romans were totally crazy about this idea, so there it is.

Sylvia 87 I Romulus is named after the twin that was the founder and namesake of Rome. The symbol of this minor planet satellite is an inverted triangle, as in the symbol for a wolf head, over a short Sylvian tree.


Sylvia 87 II Remus is named after the other twin, the one that Romulus killed in a dispute over which of the seven hills to build the city on. Seems like kind of a dumb reason to kill your twin brother with whom who you shared a wolf tit, but consider that we could have been living in the universe where the Reman Empire rose to power. Close one! Anyway, the symbol of this satellite is a Sylvian tree over a triangular wolf's head — an interchange of the elements of Romulus' symbol, with the lowered head representing his failure and defeat.

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