Amara Juliana Olivians Aquilla hails from the fictional country of Nova Roma (New Rome), a colony of the Roman Republic reportedly founded shortly after the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The colony is hidden in the Amazon Rainforests of modern Brazil and was ruled until recently by the immortal witch Selene. Amara is the daughter of Lucius Antonius Aquilla. He was presumably a member of the historical gens Antonia which claimed descent from Anton, son of Hercules. Growing up in Nova Roma, she has curly blonde hair, she wears a traditional white Roman toga. Caught up in a deadly power struggle between Selene and her father, Amara disguises herself as a Brazilian Indian, and first encounters the New Mutants. Amara discovers her powers when Selene throws her into a lava pool as a human sacrifice during the violent conflict. Amara re-emerges with super-human powers, demanding vengeance, and she battles Selene. She leaves Nova Roma in the company of the New Mutants, at her father's urging, to the outside world to be taught by Charles Xavier.