Rome's She-Wolf Younger Than Its City
2006-11-26 0:00

By Rossella Lorenzi |

The icon of Rome's foundation, the Capitoline she-wolf, was crafted in the Middle Ages, not the Antiquities, according to a research into the statue’s bronze-casting technique.

The discovery quashes the long-prevailing belief that the she-wolf was adopted as an icon by the earliest Romans as a symbol for their city.

Recalling the story of a she-wolf which fed Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, and his twin brother, Remus, after they had been thrown in a basket into the Tiber River, the statue has been always linked to the ancient world.

It was thought to be either the product of an Etruscan workshop in the 5th century B.C. or the masterpiece of the 6th century B.C. Etruscan sculptor Vulca of Veii.

It was believed that the Romans later adopted the wolf since her defiant stance and raised eyebrows seemed to reflect Rome’s liberation from the Etruscan rule.

On the contrary, scholars have long established that the bronze figures of Romulus and Remus were added in the Renaissance, in accordance to the legend of Rome’s foundation.

"Now incontestable proofs tell us that also the she-wolf is not a product of the Antiquities," Adriano La Regina, former Rome’s archaeological superintendent and professor of Etruscology at Rome's La Sapienza University, wrote in Italy’s daily "La Repubblica."

According to La Regina, analysis carried out by restorer Anna Maria Carruba during the 1997 restoration of the bronze statue showed that the she-wolf was cast as a single unit. This technique was typically used in the Middle Ages.

"Ancient bronzes differentiate from those made in the Middle Ages because they were cast in separate parts, and then brazed together," La Regina said

First used by the Greeks and then adopted by Etruscan and Roman artists, the technique basically consisted of brazing the separate joints using bronze as welding material.

The new dating of the Capitoline she-wolf was not revealed at the presentation of the restored statue in 2000. The Capitoline Museum, where the bronze is displayed, claims the artwork traces back to 480-470 B.C.

"Analysis and findings from the restoration were ignored," wrote La Regina.

Indeed, it might have not been easy for the Romans to accept that the archetypal symbol of Rome was cast in the relatively recent Middle Ages.

The she-wolf was one of the favored images of Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator, who considered himself the founder of the New Rome. He sent various copies of the bronze to American cities.

The Capitoline she-wolf was also used in the poster of the 1960 Rome Olympics and is one of the most popular items among souvenir sellers in Rome.

Gregory Warden, a professor of art history at Southern Methodist University who specializes in Etruscan bronzes, found the suggestion that the she-wolf may be medieval "intriguing." But, he does not consider the matter closed.

"While the statue is singular, and thus difficult to compare to other Etruscan statuary, I do not think that the technical argument is fully persuasive, since we have so little comparative evidence for large-scale bronze casting in the Etruscan world," he said. "We certainly cannot assume that Etruscan bronze-casting techniques would always have been identical to those of the Greeks."


Related Articles

Latest News from our Front Page

German Schoolchildren will Cook and Clean for “Refugees” as Part of Work Experience
2015-10-13 0:44
Schoolchildren from an undisclosed school in the city of Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, will spend a week doing housework for so-called “refugees”. Unknown Object. The idea was sold to parents at a parents’ meeting as a “practical internship“, but has sparked outrage online. A letter to the parents said their children will be going to “refugee” accommodations and will be making beds, sorting clothes, and ...
MTV: Saying "No Can Do" Or "Long Time No See" Is Racist
2015-10-12 23:04
Harmless terms have offensive origins, asserts Franchesca Ramsey According to MTV News, using the phrases “long time no see,” “peanut gallery” and “no can do” is offensive because the terms have “racist beginnings.” Host Franchesca Ramsey begins by claiming that the term “peanut gallery” is offensive because it was once the place where black people were “forced” to sit at the theater ...
Migrants Dump Garbage from Their Balconies at German Asylum Center
2015-10-12 23:35
German authorities expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers to arrive in Germany this year – up from 750,000 last month. So they can expect more of this– Migrants Dump Garbage from their Balconies : Augsburg Asylum Center, Germany In a recent poll, the number of “frightened” Germans jumped from 38% to 51% in three weeks. Muslim Statistics reported, via Religion of Peace: The latest ...
US Paradrops 50 Tons Of Ammo To Syrian Rebels
2015-10-12 22:32
As we noted over the weekend, the US has now thrown in the towel on the ill-fated (and that’s putting it lightly) strategy of training Syrian fighters and sending them into battle only to be captured and killed by other Syrian fighters who the US also trained.  The Pentagon’s effort to recruit 5,400 properly “vetted” anti-ISIS rebels by the end of ...
Migrant Crisis stand-up routine - Sam Hyde
2015-10-10 18:07
YouTube description: "Migrant" "Crisis" AKA Muslim Road Trip. Hundreds of thousands of astronauts, doctors, sciencemen, and peaceful clock inventors descend upon the countries with the most collective guilt and free stuff. This was pretty good man... I wasn't expecting this reaction from the same Boston college audience who so thoroughly disapproved of my 'Mike Brown' routine. I think the invasion of ...
More News »