Tuesday, June 26, 2012



THE CAPITOLINE WOLF, a bronze statue representing Ancient Rome's most famous symbol, was probably sculpted during the Middle Ages, some 17 centuries later than what has long been thought.

Researchers at the University of Salento, who carried out radiocarbon and thermoluminescence tests, believe the statue dates from around the 12th Century AD and not the 5th Century BC, the Italian newspaper  Corriere della Sera reported.

The statue, which is kept at Rome's Capitoline Musuems, depicts a she-wolf suckling human twins.

The pair represent Romulus and Remus, brothers who, according to legend, founded Rome in 753 BC.

Most experts believe the twins were added in the late 15th Century AD, probably by the sculptor Antonio Pollaiolo.

However, the she-wolf was thought to have been a much older work, possibly pillaged from the Etruscans by conquering Roman soldiers and then used as a symbol of the founding myth of their city.

Ancient Roman writers, such as Pliny the Elder and Cicero, mentioned a statue of a she-wolf suckling the twins which they said was very old and sacred to citizens of Rome. But experts have always doubted whether this was that particular statue or a much later copy, especially since it is in such relatively pristine condition. 

"Now the thesis is that it is medieval copy of an original Etruscan work," Rome's municipality supervisor for culture, Umberto Broccoli, said at a news conference.

Broccoli noted that 18th Century German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann had first attributed the statue to an Etruscan maker in the 5th Century BC.

Openly homosexual Winckelmann, a SAINT OF ANTINOUS, is called the father of modern archaeology and the father of art history. Winckelmann cited the sculpting of the wolf's fur as indicating it was in the Etruscan style, not the later Roman style.

"The scientific debate has lasted for centuries, at least from Winckelmann onwards, and it is my opinion that we will never have a definitive answer," Broccoli said.

However, the latest study had brought "much more clarity," Broccoli added.

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