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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 11:51 UK

Famed Roman statue 'not ancient'

Lupa Capitolina
Romulus and Remus are said to have been suckled by a she-wolf

A statue symbolising the mythical origins and power of Rome, long thought to have been made around 500BC, has been found to date from the 1200s.

The statue depicts a she-wolf suckling Remus and his twin brother Romulus - who is said to have founded Rome.

The statue of the wolf was carbon-dated last year, but the test results have only now been made public.

The figures of Romulus and Remus have already been shown to be 15th Century additions to the statue.

In a front page article in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, Rome's former top heritage official, Professor Adriano La Regina, said about 20 tests were carried out on the she-wolf at the University of Salerno.

He said the results of the tests gave a very precise indication that the statue was manufactured in the 13th Century.

Damaged paw

Academics have been arguing about the origins of the statue - known as the Lupa Capitolina - since the 18th Century.

Until recently it was widely acknowledged that the statue was an Etruscan work dating from the 5th Century BC.

The Roman statesman, Cicero, who lived in the 1st Century BC, describes a statue of a she-wolf that was damaged by a lightning strike - the Lupa Capitolina has a damaged paw.

However, in 2006, an Italian art historian and restorer, Anna Maria Carruba, argued that the statue had been cast in a single piece using a wax mould - a technique unknown in the ancient world.

She suggested the damage to the Lupa Capitolina's paw was the result of a mistake in the moulding process.

The statue is among the most important works on display at the Capitoline museums in Rome.

The Lupa Capitolina is the emblem of the Serie A football club, Roma, and was the symbol used for the 1960 Rome Olympics.


SEE ALSO
Digging into the myths of Rome
22 Nov 07 |  Europe
'Mythical Roman cave' unearthed
20 Nov 07 |  Europe

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