The Lupa Capitolina (Capitoline Wolf), symbol of the city of Rome, is a sculpture of a wolf breast-feeding two infants, Remus and Romulus, and is associated with the legend of the founding of Rome. According to the legend, the twins’ grandfather was Numitor, the rightful king of Alba, but he was deposed by his brother Amulius, who killed Numitor’s sons and caused daughter Rhea to flee. Rhea got pregnant, some say by Mars, God of War, some say by Hercules, and gave birth to twins, Romulus and Remus. Amulius attempted to kill the infants, having them thrown in the river Tiber. They were discovered by a she-wolf, who saved them and suckled them. They were then found by a shepherd and his wife who raised them. When the grown men discovered their past and legacy, they killed Amulius, restored Numitor to the throne of Alba and decided to found their own city. They wandered until they came to the river Tiber and then chose different locations and quarreled over which was the best, resulting in Remus being killed by Romulus who went ahead to found his city. One problem arose, the city only consisted of men and thus could not be populated. Romulus decided to hold games in honour of God Consus (protector of grain) and invited the people from the Sabine communities. During the games, Romulus ordered that the Sabine women be abducted. The women later married the Romans and gave birth to children, thus populating the city of Rome.
The original sculpture is thought to have been created in the 5th century BC, initially consisting of the wolf only, though research shows that it may have been cast in the 11th or 12th century AD. The infants were added in the 15th century AD. It is made of bronze and can be seen in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. Copies of the Lupa Capitolina can be seen elsewhere, both inside and outside of Italy.