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The Lupercalia

Excerpt from The Lupercalia I. New knowledge about the religion of the Mediterranean race offers a new basis for a study of the Lupercalia. The characteristic deity of the Mediterranean race was an earth-goddess, incarnate in all natural objects, the giver of life and of death, and worshipped by orgiastic rites. The characteristic deity of the Aryans was a sky-god, who was honored by a calm, rationalistic ceremonial. II. The ceremonial rites of the Lupercalia were complex and seemingly incoherent. The Romans had vague ideas about the presiding god, but regarded the purpose of the festival as (a) protection from evil, (b) productivity, and (c) purification. III. The wolf-deity, of the Greeks was Pelasgian; he represented the devouring power of the underworld, and was worshipped by rites of expiation. IV. The wolf-deities of Italy, among them Lupercus, were also dreaded chthonic powers, and had cults of the Mediterranean type. The Lupercalia originated among the Ligurians, and at first consisted of the sacrifice of a goat to Lupercus, a ceremonial tasting of the entrails, an expiatory flight by the priests, and a feast. It was an apotropaic ceremony designed to ward off evil.V. The goat-god of the Greeks was a Pelasgian fertility god. His fertilizing power was often appropriated by anthropomorphic gods. VI. In Italy the goat-god was also the giver of fertility, and originated among the Ligurians. Juno was closely associated with the goat, and some of her fertility rites were added by the Romans to the Lupercalia: the Luperci girded themselves with goat-skins and, as they ran about the Palatine, struck the women with goatskin thongs as a fertility charm. Henceforth the gift of fertility was one of the important purposes of the Lupercalia. VII. The dog-cults in Greece were Pelasgian, mainly of Thracian origin; and had especial potency for purification. VIII. The dog-cults of the Italians seem to have been borrowed from the Greeks of Southern Italy and Sicily. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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