CAPITOLINE WOLF STATUE
The original statue called „Lupoa capitolina” is inside the Capitol Museum in Rome. Even if there are doubts regarding the age of that statue (for example it is well known that the twins were added during Rennaisance), initially considered to be 2500 years old, the image of the she-wolf breastfeeding Remus and Romulus was a very encountered in Antiquity. The legend of the Rome foundation says that the twins were born from the love of god Mars and the vestal priestess Rhea Silvia. Abandoned as a result of the cruelty of their uncle, they were saved and fed by a she-wolf. Reaching maturity, the two took their revenge. After that, Romulus killed Remus, founded Rome and became its first king. The foundation myth is equaly speaking about the base and the spirit of the Roman civilization, about sacrifice, suffering, revenge, conquest, founding and the whims of the gods.
The image of the she-wolf with the twins became in modern times, a symbol of Latinity: from the 20th century, many accurate copies in bronze were given by the Italian state as gifts for some cities or communities as a symbol of their Latin origins and inheritance. Afterwards, several Italian institutions and private persons made similar donations and some cities were endowed with such statues as a result of their own initiatives. Currently, wolrwide, there are around 70 modern copies of the she-wolf with the twins, from the United States of America to Japan and Australia, even if most of them are in Europe. If we take the countries, most of them are in Romania, 25, followed by USA with 10 pieces. Although the first „She-wolf” in Romania appeared in Bucharest in 1906, presently, most of them (22) are on the other side of the Carpathians, in Transylvania, where the Latin inheritance was a more important and more treated subject than in other historical parts of Romania. For example, in 1940, when the northern Ardeal (Northern Transylvania) was occupied by the Horthyst troops, the „She-wolves” in Targu Mures and Cluj were moved outside the occupied area becasue, taking in consideration theri symbolistics, they were risking destruction. A troubled history had the Chisinau statue as well: donated by Rome in 1921, it was melted by the Soviets because it was seen as a symbol of the Romanian imperialismand of the Italian fascism; a new replica was placed in 1991, it was damaged, dismounted, and replaced in 2009.
In Alba Iulia, the statue was donated in 1993 by the honorific consul of Italy for the counties of Alba, Hunedoara and Sibiu and, in 1993, it was placed in Alessandria Square (named like that after the conclusion of the fellowship of Alba Iulia with Alessandria, a city in northern Italy). If the statues of the „she-wolves” are the same all over the world, the bases are different. In Alba Iulia the solution of placing the statue on top of a column was chosen, just like the case of the copy in Rome on Capitol Hill. In 2009, as a response, the municipality of Alba Iulia gave the city of Alessandria a replica of the „She-wolf” which was placed in „Alba Iulia Square” in the Piemont city.
It is worth mentioning the fact that in Alba Iulia there was an image of the she-wolf with the twins for a very long time, during Middle Ages. So, David Frolich, travelling in Alba Iulia around 1630, noticed the fact that „In the gate of the city Romulus and Remus being fed by a she-wolf were carved in stone”; another traveller, Conrad Hiltebrandt, around 1660, was speaking about the gate „where on slab of stone mounted in the wall, Romulus and Remus being fed by a she-wolf were sculpted”. Most probably, the bas-relief was from Roman Castrum times, its praetorian gate being reused during Middle Ages as Saint George Gate. In the 18th century, during the construction of the Austrian Citadel, that gate was demolished and the image of the she-wolf dissapeared. Nevertheless there are chances that the mentioned bas-relief is the one inside the exhibition of the Union Museum, although its dimensions do not recommend it as such.
Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian
Translation made by: Ciprian Dobra, PR expert
Located in Alessandria Square, the Capitoline Wolf statue was named after a northern Italian city which is twinned with Alba Iulia. The monument was donated to the city in 1993 by the Honorary Consul of Italy in the Alba, Hunedoara and Sibiu counties.
Capitoline Wolf statues are similar all over the world, but their pedestals are generally different. The base used in Alba Iulia is a Roman column like the one used for the replica standing on Capitol Hill in Rome.
In 2009, the Municipality of Alba Iulia gifted the Italian city of Alessandria with a replica statue, which was seated in the „Square of Alba Iulia” of the Italian city in the region of Piedmont.
The she-wolf in Alba Iulia is depicted from a side view, her head turned toward the two infants, in accordance with representations from antiquity.
A proof of the link between the ancient Apulum and symbols of Rome is given by a representation of the mythical she-wolf suckling twins, Romulus and Remus. The bas-relief, exposed to the National Museum of the Union, is a testimony over millennia of the special status of the ancient Apulum in the Roman Empire.
Testimonies of foreign travellers also speak of a Capitoline Wolf stone carving, with the twins displayed on the eastern access gate into the medieval fortress. In the eighteenth century, along with the construction of the Alba Carolina Citadel, the medieval gate was demolished. The representation of the Lupa Capitoline was lost along with it; however, there is a chance the bas-relief is the same as the one displayed at the National Museum of the Union (though, its size suggests otherwise).
The original statue called Lupa Capitolina is exhibited at the Capitoline Museum in Rome.