"Etruscan or medieval Lupa?" Top 5 Page for this destination Capitoline Museums - Musei Capitolini Tip by breughel

  Lupa Capitolina
by breughel

In a former tip about the bronze statues of this museum I wrote: The Roman she-wolf "Lupa Capitolina" is dated from the 6th century BC but the twins Romulus and Remus were added during the Renaissance.

In 2008 a study of Carbon 14 dating of the dirt and clay pieces from the statue indicated that the statue was cast in the 8th century A.D and might therefore be a copy of an Etruscan bronze!
This study has itself been criticized by both experts in Etruscan and Roman history but also by experts from the carbon-14 dating. It is a delicate method as pollution risks distorting the dating.
Since it's likely that the statue has been manhandled over the years, carbon dating tests could have no relevance regarding the time when it was created, explained archaeologist Nicoletta Pagliardi.
The age of the Lupa Capitolina statue is therefore still under discussion.

There is another question about the famous Lupa.
Any good tourist has learned that the foundation of Rome goes back to Romulus and Remus -precisely in 753 BC (!!!) according to Marcus Varron called "the most learned of the Romans" - and that they were children of the princess Rhea Sylvia and the god Mars himself. The princess Rhea was the daughter of the king Numitor of Alba.
Just like Moses the two babies were put in a basket and entrusted to the floods to escape death and were rescued by a she-wolf, the famous Lupa which became the symbol of Rome.
But in Latin the word Lupa has two significances: she-wolf and prostitute! In French the word "lupanar" derived from the latin "lupa" means brothel.

Now who saved our two cherubim's, a she-wolf or a prostitute?

Address: Piazza del Campidoglio 1
Phone: +39 060608
Website: http://www.museicapitolini.org

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  • Updated Jan 27, 2015
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Comments (1)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Interesting! I saw this statue in several towns in Romania

    • breughel's Profile Photo
      Feb 19, 2014 at 2:55 AM

      Yes there are a lot of copies. Even the one in the museum is probably a copy of an Etruscan statue.


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