Capitoline She Wolf Dating Followup

… I can only imagine what sort search engine hits I’m going to get from that headline … In any event, t’other day we mentioned that the coverage of the redating of the Capitoline wolf really didn’t satisfy in terms of presenting anything new (and the lack of coverage in English didn’t help me in that regard). Now, Rosella Lorenzi’s coverage for fills in the gaps … the bit that matters:

[…] Using accelerator mass spectrometry, the researchers extracted, analyzed and radiocarbon dated organic samples from the casting process. The results revealed with an accuracy by 95,4 percent that the sculpture was crafted between the 11th and 12th century AD.

“The new thesis is that it is a medieval copy of an original Etruscan work,” Rome’s municipality supervisor for culture, Umberto Broccoli, said.

He remarked that the Etruscan attribution was first made by 18th-century German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann on the basis of how the wolf’s fur was represented. […]

So it does appear that there was some additional tech work and not just fudging with the numbers. Somewhat disappointing to learn, I suppose, but the ‘new thesis’ seems reasonable (even if it is sort of a ‘scholarly compromise’). That said, we still anxiously await to hear whether the Chimera of Arezzo will fall into the same category …

UVa Update

As the threat to Classics at UVa slowly fades away, Jon Mikalson (William R. Kenan, Jr.
Professor of Classics at UVa) sends along a letter from the Dean that is worth putting on the record in all this kerfuffle:

It is troubling to hear that inaccurate assertions made in recent news
reports have resulted in unwarranted speculation about the future of our
Classics and German departments. Let me assure you that I am unaware of
any suggestion from the Board of Visitors or any credible source that
any of our departments or programs should be reduced or eliminated.

I never thought I have to say something so obvious, but now I am forced
to say it: the Classics program is not only a center of excellence in
the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, it is highly
sustainable financially. It is a magnet for major research and teaching
grants. German language and literature is and will remain a vital part
of the education we offer to undergraduate and graduate students.

Please let me know what else I can do to help put this disturbing rumor
to rest, and I would appreciate your distributing this message to your


MeredithMeredith Jung-En Woo, Dean
College and Graduate School of Arts and Science
University of Virginia

Classical Words of the Day


On the Greek side:

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vi kalendas quinctilias

ante diem vi kalendas quinctilias

ludi Taurei quinquennales (day 2) — horse races held every five years to appease the divinities of the underworld

23 B.C. (and several years after) — the emperor Augustus is given tribunicia potestas

4 A.D. — the emperor Augustus adopts Tiberius (son of his wife Livia) and Agrippa Postumus (son of Augustus’ daughter Julia and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa)

221 A.D. — the emperor Elagabalus adopts the future emperor Severus Alexander and gives him the rank of Caesar (?)

363 A.D. — death of the emperor Julian