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"The tradition goes on to say that after the floating cradle in which the boys had been exposed had been left by the retreating water on dry land, a thirsty she-wolf from the surrounding hills, attracted by the crying of the children, came to them, gave them her teats to suck and was so gentle towards them that the king's flock-master found her licking the boys with her tongue."

Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (I.4)

This bronze statue of a she-wolf was cast by the Etruscans about 480 BC and donated to the Roman people by Pope Sixtus IV. Early in the sixteenth century, the figures of the suckling twins Romulus and Remus were added to make the nursing wolf more faithful to the legendary tale.

Behind the She-Wolf are the Capitoline Fasti, which were placed inside its architectonic frame in 1586. The marble fragments were discovered in the sixteenth century and originally had decorated the inside wall of the Arch of Augustus, which was erected in 20 BC to honor his triumph over the Parthians. The Fasti records the consuls, tribunes, censors, and magistrates from the beginning of the Republic to the time of Augustus.