Gods of the month:Faunus, Inuus, and the She-Wolf of Rome

Neptune's Dolphins


Next to Saturnalia, Lupercalia is one of the best known of Roman festivals. People focus on the young men who chase people on the street, with whips. Using goatskin whips (februa), they beat everyone they meet. Women who want children would seek them out to be whipped. These women believed that this act would make them fertile.

However, the Lupercalia is more than a drunken excuse for sexual intercourse. Faunus and Inuus, both Gods of Fertility, are invoked for not only the increase in children but also in herds.

This ancient and complex festival occurred during the time of honoring the Dead. The ritual started at the Lupercal Cave, where the She-Wolf, who nursed Romulus and Remus had lived. Sacrifices of goats and a dog by the luperci (“wolfman priests”) were made. Then two youths were clothed with goatskin and smeared with blood. After laughing, they chased everyone on the…

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