Wolf And Twins - Enduring Emblems

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Oct 16, 2021.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    The famous She-Wolf and twins Romulus and Remus have been such endearing cultural and artistic icons that they've lasted thousands of years, and to the present day they are still immediately identifiable.

    The She-Wolf nursed the twins, and Romulus went on to found Rome. If Remus founded the city, would it have been called Reme?

    Anyways, you see the artistic type in bronze statuary:
    Fig 1: Capitoline Wolf. Wolf possibly Etruscan, twins and base alter Renaissance additions.

    In marble, both relief and freestanding:
    Fig 2: Marble relief of twins suckling.

    And mosaic, among other media:
    Fig 3: The world's happiest wolf.

    In coinage, the she-wolf and twins type existed virtually unchanged for centuries, being found on imperial Roman issues, provincial Roman issues, and even post-Roman issues.

    I think it is fair to say that the wolf and twins is possibly the single most common reverse type across ancient and post-ancient coinage.

    For the longest time, all I had were the extraordinarily common VRBS ROMA commemorative issues.
    Vrbs Roma RIC VII Alexandria 70A.JPG

    I just picked up this rather massive 32mm Antioch issue of Severus Alexander. The surfaces leave something to be desired, but I've been wanting a big wolf for a while now.

    I always found it interesting how the wolf variously switches stance from left facing to right facing, with no clear reasoning why.

    I do notice that the VRBS ROMA coin has the portrait and wolf both left-facing, and the SA has the portrait and wolf both right-facing...I'm sure that's a coincidence though.

    I'd love to see your wolf and twins coins, especially big provincial ones!
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  3. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    I enjoyed your post @hotwheelsearl

    My collection of Remus & Romulus/she-wolf coins is growing. Below are photographs of the two most recent I found in a lot of crusty ancients. At some point they will be tidied a bit.

    2021 0805 Roman   R&R She Wolf.png
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  4. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

  5. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    Lupa Capitolina,
    A coin from Constantine, and a modern medal from Italy.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer


    A.D. 309- 312
    Ӕ follis 26mm 6.5g
    IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG; laureate head right.
    SAECVLI FELICITAS AVG N; She-wolf standing left, suckling the twins.
    In ex. MOSTT
    RIC VI Ostia 52
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    One of my favorite RR types features wolf and twins

    Roman Republic AR denarius(19mm, 3.87 g, 9h), anonymous, circa 115 or 114 B.C., Rome mint. Helmeted head of Roma right with curl on left shoulder; below, ROMA; behind, X. Border of dots. / Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; at feet, beside pile of shields, helmet; before, she-wolf right, suckling twins; on either side, bird flying. Border of dots. Crawford 287/1
    Ex Andrew McCabe Collection, AM#13206-39, CNG e-Auction 443, 1 May 2019, lot 455, ex Roma V, 23 March 2013, lot 519, ex Mayflower (Herb Sukenik) Collection, Heritage 3019, 25 April 2012, lot 25924, ex George N. Polis M.D. Collection, Bowers & Merena, 10 June 1991, lot 74, ex Aurelia Collection, Owl, Ltd. & Thomas McKenna, November 1980, lot 72.
    FitzNigel, GinoLR, michas48 and 14 others like this.
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I've never really thought about the most common Roman coin reverse. For the Republic, it was probably the Dioscuri, or Victory (or some other deity) in a biga or quadriga. And then in the later Empire, there were all those incredibly common reverses listed on Tesorillo. like falling horsemen and soldiers with standards and Geniuses of the Roman people and so on. Overall, I have no idea.

    I have only three wolf & twins coins:

    Anonymous (Crawford 287/1):

    Anonymous denarius (Roma seated) combined image 1.jpg

    Philip I
    Philip I - Wolf jpg version.jpg

    Urbs Roma:

    COMBINED Constantine I VRBS ROMA.jpg

    Plus one she-wolf without twins (P. Satrienus) (Crawford 388/1b):

    NEW Satrienus - Mars-She-Wolf Denarius  COMBINED.jpg

    According to some authorities, the Satrienus is not intended to portray "the" wolf.

    Here is a photo I took in 2008 of the famous (and possibly Etruscan) statue in Rome, to which the twins were added during the Renaissance:

    DML photo Rome 2008 - Wolf and Romulus & Remus.jpg
  9. Antonius Britannia

    Antonius Britannia Well-Known Member

    Gorgeous examples all! @Victor_Clark That follis is really nice, great strike!
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

  11. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML , from my meagre experience, it seems like the wolf and twins is the most popular reverse that goes across multiple centuries, coin series, generations, and denominations. Most of the other incredibly popular reverses (such as FTR) seem to be rather isolated to their either geographic, or temporal time space.
    I wonder if there's a singular answer to that questions.

    @lordmarcovan , it's so darn hard to find those VRBS ROMA coins in anything other than pot metal. Yours is about the best I've ever seen, and appears to be a higher silver content alloy rather than a silvered coin.
  12. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Not as big as those Pisidian provincials, but not an VRBS ROMA either...

    Antoninus Pius Wolf Twins.jpg ANTONINUS PIUS
    AE As. 9.33g, 27.6mm. Rome mint, AD 140-143. RIC 734a. O: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP TR P COS III, laureate head right. R: IMPERATOR II, She-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus; boat in exergue, between S C.
  13. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I only have the city commemoratives wolf and twins.
    My first, bought before I was collecting ancient coins and I thought it was Greek \

    RIC VII Cyzicus 106
    Date Range: AD 332 - AD 335
    Obverse Legend: VRBS - ROMA
    Type: Bust of Roma, wearing plumed helmet, left
    Deity: Roma
    Reverse Type: She-wolf, standing left, suckling twins; above, two stars
    MintMark: -/-//•SMKA

    1.78 g 18 mm
    Struck under Constantine I. Arelate, AD 333. VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma to left, wearing imperial cloak / She-wolf standing to left, suckling Romulus and Remus; wreath flanked by two stars above, PCONST in exergue. RIC VII 373; LRBC 376.

    A barbarous

    Obv:– VRBS ROMA, Helmeted bust of Roma left
    Rev:– –, She wolf feeding Romulus and Remus, two stars above

    My favorite coin with a she wolf lacks the twins.


    Trajan AD 98-117. Rome
    Quadrans Æ
    20 mm., 3,01 g.
    RIC II Trajan 693
    Legend: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P Type: Head of Trajan, laureate, right
    Reverse Legend: S C
    Type: She-wolf walking right
  14. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    @kazuma78 just up and gave that to me one day (sans slab). Said it was the first ancient he ever bought. Which goes to show you how sharp his eye was, even going into the game. Anyone who’s seen his collection progress since will notice that it wasn’t a fluke.
    DonnaML, LaCointessa and Inspector43 like this.
  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Wolf and twins being a subset of mine (I have too many...), I can show a few of them

    Didrachm - c. 269-266 BC

    S. Pompeius Fostlus - 137 BC

    Gallienus - Antioch mint, AD 265-266

    Maxentius - Ostia mint, 3rd officina AD 309

    Urbs Roma - Lyon mint, 1st officina, ca. AD 332
    Die clash

  16. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins. Here’s my Flavian ‘wolf and twins’ coin.


    RIC 961, RSC 51.
    Rome Mint, 77-78 A.D.
    3,08 g, 18 mm
    Obv. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, right.
    Rev. COS V, She-wolf and twins left, boat below.

    According to a legend, the city of Rome was founded by twins, Romulus and Remus. A female wolf found the twins when they were abandoned and fed them with her own milk.
  17. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Rome under Theodoric, Ostrogothic Kingdom
    AE follis
    Obv: IMVIC-TA ROMA, Roma helmeted, facing right
    Rev: She-wolf standing left, suckling Romulus and Remus, XL (40) above, dot V dot in ex
    Mint: Rome
    Date: 496-528 AD
    Ref: BMC 24

  18. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Roman Renaissance in Progress Supporter

    wesome Lupa Capitolina, @hotwheelsearl :singing: !


  19. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    That top coin with the tiny she-wolf sucking the twins in the corner is so nice. I never saw a coin with suckling she-wolf like that before. I came to look at it again saw my 'like' was not reflected. I must have clicked 'like' twice! :-D
    DonnaML likes this.
  20. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    Hi Deacon Ray! The graphic you designed to showcase your she-wolf coin is outstanding (as always). The coin is pretty cool, too! The patina makes the coin look good enough to eat. Someone should make Hanukah gelt in ancient coin designs.
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  21. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    WUFF and TWINS

    RR Anon AR Denarius 115-114BCE Rome mint 19.52mm 3.82g ROMA X Seated r on shields spear birds she-wolf Romulus Remus Cr 287-1 S 164

    RR Sextus Pompeius 137 BCE AR Den She-Wolf Rom Rem S112 Cr 235-1a

    RR Anon AE Sextans 217-215 BCE She-Wolf Twins Eagle Syd 95 Cr 39-3 S 609 Scarce
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