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Lupa





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Lupa. - The she wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. On one of the coins (struck in each metal) of Antoninus Pius, we see the fabled cohabitation of Mars with Rhea Sylvia, the Vestal daughter of Numitor; and on another we see the fruits of that alleged connection in the birth of the twin brothers, and in their preservation by the popularly credited miracle of a savage animal performing the office of a mother to the exposed and deserted babes.

We see on a second brass of M. Aurelius the wolf in the cave on the banks of the Tiber, with the two sturdy infants imbibing nourishment at her pendent dugs - a representation consecrated on innumerable monuments, and held as a symbol indicating the origin of the Roman Commonwealth, especially of the Colonies: the whole is singularly illustrated by the following verses of Virgil:

Fecerat et viridi fetam Mavortis in antro
Procubuisse lupam : geminos huic ubera circum
Ludere pendentes pueros, et lambere matrem
Impavidos; illam tereti cervice reflexam
Mulcere alternos, et corpora fingere lingua.
AEn.
viii. 630.

The illustration, taken from a large brass of Antoninus Pius, exhibits above the cave a bird,

which has been usually considered to be an eagle. It may be so; but Ovide describes the woodpecker as officiating at the nursing of the infants.
Besides those of Antoninus Pius, the well-known type of the Lupa cum puerulis, occurs on coins of that Emperor's predecessors Tiberius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan, and Hadrian; and of his successors M. Aurelius, Commodus, Severus, Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus, Alex. Severus, Gordianus Pius, Philippus, Trebonianus Gallus, Valerianus, Gallienus, Aurelianus, Probus, Carausius, Maxentius, and Constantine the Great. The last-named exhibits the wolf sucking the twins; and, on some, two stars appear above the wolf, an emblem under which Castor and Pollux are generally represented. With the mint-masters of the Roman colonies this is a frequently recurring type.

- See Deultum.

- On a coin of Maxentius quoted by Vaillant, the same type is united to a singular epigraph, viz., AETERNA FELICITAS.

- On a family coin of Sextus Pompeius (having the helmeted head of Rome on its obverse, and for the legend of its reverse SEX. POMP. POSTVLVS.) we see the wolf standing before the fig-tree quietly devoting her teats to the mouths of Romulus and Remus.


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