The Lupa Romana in the Roman provinces

Rissanen, Mika (2014) The Lupa Romana in the Roman provinces. Acta Archaeologica, 65 (2). pp. 335-360. ISSN 0001-5210


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The she-wolf with the twins, Romulus and Remus, was identified as a symbol of Rome by both the Romans themselves and nations under the Roman rule. In this essay I will discuss the Lupa Romana in Roman provincial art. I will present various visual representations of the she-wolf both in the public use and in objects related to private life, and analyze the she-wolf’s symbolic meaning.The Lupa Romana was an iconic scene that was not used randomly in provincial art. It represented in the first place the idea of romanitas, being Roman. In some cases the use of the symbol could have been in consequence of instructions from Rome itself or from provincial authorities that depended on Rome, but in most cases the motif was used by the inhabitants of the provinces themselves. It can be seen as an expression of loyalty to Rome and the emperor, but at the same time the message could have been directed to other members of the community, too. As romanitas was associated with higher social status, the she-wolf motif in the decoration of one’s house or gravestone could be seen as self-aggrandizement.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History / történeti segédtudományok > CC Archaeology / régészet
Depositing User: László Sallai-Tóth
Date Deposited: 02 May 2017 10:07
Last Modified: 02 May 2017 10:07

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