The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Capitoline Wolf

Capitoline she-wolf Musei Capitolini MC1181

The Capitoline wolf is a representation of the ancient legend of the founding of Rome. It is a bronze sculpture of the she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus, derived from the legend of the founding of Rome.  The Capitoline Wolf takes its name from its location, the statue is housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. The wolf is depicted in a watchful pose with alert ears and glaring eyes watching. The human twins sculpted in a completely different style, are absorbed by their suckling.

The She-wolf is the symbol of the city of Rome, it is one of the ancient symbols of Rome associated with its mythology and founding. It is a symbol which can be seen throughout Italy and the city of Rome.

Capitoline Wolf at Siena Duomo

Capitoline Wolf at Siena Duomo. By legend Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus.

The myth of Romulus and Remus states that before Rome was founded, when the grandfather of the twins, was overthrown by his brother, the brother ordered that the twins be cast into the Tiber River and to their death. They were rescued by a she-wolf who cared for them until a herdsman, found and raised them. Thus the she-wolf from the legend of the twins has been regarded as a symbol of Rome from ancient times.

When Romulus and Remus became adults, they took back their grandfather’s kingdom and establish a city, which became Rome. They later quarrelled and Romulus killed his brother Remus, thus beginning the history of Rome with a fratricide.

Cr 20-1-Reverse

Romulus and Remus. An early silver didrachm – 269–266 BC

This sculpture image was used on the poster for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and as the emblem for the games. The image has been used by sporting teams and academic institutions. This famous image can be found in paintings, sculptures and on signs, emblems, flags and building works.AS Roma logo (2013).svg

The Logo for A.S. Roma.

~~~

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                      Capitoline Wolf
  • Date:                     11th/12th century (wolf) and late 15th century (twins) BCE
  • Material:             Bronze
  • Dimensions:       75 cm × 114 cm (30 in × 45 in)
  • Museums:           Capitoline Museums

~~~

“As a rule, people worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can.” Julius Caesar

~~~

_________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit:1) See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  2) By Source, Fair use, Link 3) By Curtius (scanned from photo I took) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 4) By Petar Milošević (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons