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For the saint by the name ‘Lupercus’, see Marcellus of Tangier. Wolf head, 1-100 CE, bronze, Roman, Cleveland Museum of Art. Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lycaean Pan, assumed to be a Greek equivalent to Faunus, as instituted by Evander.
Arcadian culture-hero Evander, or to Romulus and Remus, erstwhile shepherds who had each established a group of followers. Luperci, under the supervision of the Flamen dialis, Jupiter’s chief priest. Palatine boundary, in an anticlockwise direction around the hill. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy. The Luperci completed their circuit of the Palatine, then returned to the Lupercal cave. The Februa was ancient and possibly Sabine.
Of its various rituals, the most important came to be those of the Lupercalia. Some authors claim that Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with the “Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” but researcher Oruch says that there is no written record of Gelasius ever intending a replacement of Lupercalia. Horace’s Ode III, 18 alludes to the Lupercalia. The Roman god Februus personified both the month and purification, but seems to postdate both. William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar begins during the Lupercalia. Mark Antony is instructed by Caesar to strike his wife Calpurnia, in the hope that she will be able to conceive.