The Capitoline Wolf: The Infamous Symbol of Rome
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
The Capitoline Wolf: The symbol of Rome.
This bronze sculpture portrays a scene from the founding legend of Rome.
It depicts a she-wolf suckling the mythical twins Romulus and Remus, who were supposedly the founders of Rome.
The legend states that when their grandfather King Numitor was overthrown by his brother, the twins were thrown into the Tiber River when they were mere infants; but they were saved by a she-wolf who continued to care for them until a herdsman found them and raised them.
The image of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus has been replicated in different ways countless times since antiquity. Since antiquity, it has been, and still is, one of the most recognizable icons of ancient mythology, and of the eternal city of Rome.
Since 1471, this sculpture has been housed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Campidoglio (in the Capitoline Museums).
Go and see this larger than life-size sculpture, and notice the juxtaposition between the wolf’s tense pose and wide anxious eyes; and the carefree twins, who appear completely oblivious to their surroundings.
FUN FACT: The walls of the room that contains the Capitoline She-Wolf feature a collage of fragments of Consular and Triumphal Fasti, lists of triumphal victors and magistrates dating from the time of the republic to the Augustan Age.