LUPERCUS

An ancient Italian divinity, who was worshipped by shepherds as the protector of their flocks against wolves, and at the same time as the promoter of the fertility among sheep, whence he was called Inuus or Ephialtês. On the north side of the Palatine hill there had been in ancient times a cave, the sanctuary of Lupercus, surrounded by a grove, containing an altar of the god and his figure clad in a goat-skin, just as his priests the Luperci (Dionys. i. 79; Justin. xliii. 1, 4; Liv. i. 5; Serv. ad Aen. vi. 776; Isidor. viii. 11, 103, &c.; Artemid. Oneir. ii. 42). The Romans sometimes identified Lupercus with the Arcadian Pan. The festival celebrated in honour of Lupercus and his priests was the Luperci.