Friday, July 11, 2008

Capitoline Wolf Dated to 13th Century


It's rather ironic that just before I left for lunch today I lovingly touched the reproduction of the Capitoline wolf that I have on my bookcase before walking out the door. I returned and read the article below. Oh well, I'm sure the original wolf was just as enchanting. Sadly, it was probably the victim of the metal "meltdowns" that were widespread in the Roman Empire during the Dark Ages.


"A statue symbolising the mythical origins and power of Rome, long thought to have been made around 500BC, has been found to date from the 1200s.

The statue depicts a she-wolf suckling Remus and his twin brother Romulus - who is said to have founded Rome.

The statue of the wolf was carbon-dated last year, but the test results have only now been made public.

The figures of Romulus and Remus have already been shown to be 15th Century additions to the statue.

In a front page article in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, Rome's former top heritage official, Professor Adriano La Regina, said about 20 tests were carried out on the she-wolf at the University of Salerno.

He said the results of the tests gave a very precise indication that the statue was manufactured in the 13th Century.

Damaged paw

Academics have been arguing about the origins of the statue - known as the Lupa Capitolina - since the 18th Century.

Until recently it was widely acknowledged that the statue was an Etruscan work dating from the 5th Century BC.

The Roman statesman, Cicero, who lived in the 1st Century BC, describes a statue of a she-wolf that was damaged by a lightning strike - the Lupa Capitolina has a damaged paw.

However, in 2006, an Italian art historian and restorer, Anna Maria Carruba, argued that the statue had been cast in a single piece using a wax mould - a technique unknown in the ancient world.

She suggested the damage to the Lupa Capitolina's paw was the result of a mistake in the moulding process."

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