Common Errors (11): The Capitoline Wolf

15 May 2009
Investigating the Capitoline Wolf

Investigating the Capitoline Wolf

The bronze she-wolf in the Capitoline Museums in Rome is one of the best-known symbols of the eternal city. Pictures of it can be seen on many places, it is the logo of A.S. Roma, and has been parodied too often to be funny. She figures in all books on early Roman and Etruscan art, where we read that the famous statue was made in the sixth or fifth century BCE.

This illustrates how dangerous it can be to date works of art stylistically, because the lupa romana is much younger. It had already been observed that casting technique was Medieval, and this was confirmed in 2007, when metallurgists published a report in which they announced that thermoluminescence dating suggested that the Capitoline wolf dates back to the Early Middle Ages.

Literature

Adriano La Regina, “La lupa del Campidoglio è medievale; la prova è nel test al carbonio“, in: La Repubblica, 9 July 2008.

<Overview of Common Errors>


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