The “New Lupa” has Arrived in Cincinnati!

The Cincinnati chapter of the “Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America” has raised funds to replace the famous She-Wolf, which was stolen from Eden Park on June 16, 2022. A workshop connected to the University of Florence, Italy, has created a replica which was shipped to the United States and arrived in Cincinnati on Friday, August 25, 2023 (see the first three images below, taken by Joe Mastruserio, president of the Cincinnati lodge of OSDIA). The statue will be returned to Eden Park at a dedication ceremony on October 20, 2023, at 10:00 am.

The story of the Lupa (Latin for female wolf) is well-known and can be easily found on Wikipedia, so I won’t repeat it here, just to say that the statue that was stolen and vandalized after criminals had removed it from its base by cutting it off from the paws, leaving the twins and base intact, was originally gifted in 1931 (dedicated in 1932) by the City of Rome, Italy, under the fascist leader Benito Mussolini. He donated wolf statues also to other towns in the U.S. with some connection to Rome, however faint, such as a town in Georgia by the name of Rome. The Cincinnati “connection” was the name of the city and the Roman military leader Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. The statue was modeled after the so-called Capitoline Wolf thus named as the original is housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy (see the last image below). The date of the original statue is uncertain. Some scholars claim it to be Etruscan from the 5th-4th centuries BCE; others that it is early medieval from the 10th-11th centuries. Other dates have also been suggested. What seems clear is that the nursing twins are additions from the Renaissance (probably late 15th c.).

In connection with the dedication ceremony on October 20, a book exhibition devoted to the She-Wolf and Romulus and Remus will be on display in the Reading Room of the John Miller Burnam Classics Library at UC, featuring texts describing the story of the Wolf’s role in the Founding of ancient Rome, and original Roman coins, such as a silver denarius dating from the Roman Republic; other coins from the time of emperors Antoninus Pius and Constantine, representing the wolf nursing the twins. Interestingly, the depictions are of a wolf looking down at the twins, not at the viewer as in the Capitoline Wolf which, as I mentioned, did not originally include the twins. The relief of the Lupa and twins on the parapet of the façade of the Blegen Library building, housing the Burnam Classics Library, can be viewed at any time (see fourth image below).

As UC is a public university, the exhibition will be open to all. If you can, please attend both events, especially the dedication ceremony in Eden Park to convey the message that Cincinnatians will not allow theft or vandalism of their historic monuments and that we as law-abiding residents are reclaiming our parks as safe and clean spaces for families, wildlife, plant life — and for history!