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Lupercalia


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A Roman festival (15 February), conducted by the association (see sodales) of Luperci. It included odd rites: goats and a dog were sacrificed at the Lupercal (a cave at the foot of the Palatine where a she‐wolf (lupa) reared Romulus and Remus); the blood was smeared with a knife on the foreheads of two youths, and wiped with wool dipped in milk; then the Luperci, naked except for girdles from the skin of sacrificial goats, ran (probably) round the Palatine striking bystanders, esp. women, with goat‐skin thongs. The rite combined purificatory lustration and fertility magic. It was at the Lupercalia that Antony (Marcus Antonius ), consul and Lupercus, offered a royal diadem to Caesar (44 bc).

Subjects: Classical Studies — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).


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