Celebrating the Lupercalia

Bill Thayer writes to say that he has located a 1921 thesis devoted to sifting the evidence for the ancient Roman festival of the Lupercalia.  He’s typed it in, and uploaded it to the web.  It can be found here.

If you are not familiar with Bill’s site, Lacus Curtius, it goes considerably further than the excellent transcriptions of translations of the Greek and Latin classics.  It also contains very useful secondary material, often with “Thayer’s notes” at the end, which are invariably erudite.

Apparently there are people who go around telling modern fairy-stories about the Lupercalia, often with an anti-Christian twist or imagined “orgies”.  This must be an American thing, for I have never encountered it.  If so, it is regrettable.

The lupercalia was abolished in the late 5th century, as we learn from a letter of Pope Gelasius, letter 100 in the Collectio Avellana.  I have had no luck in getting this translated; but I have just offered it to another reader, and perhaps this time it will be done!

4 Responses to “Celebrating the Lupercalia”


  1. Alex Poulos

    Hopefully you’ll have better luck this go around! In the future I’d love to do some (Greek or Latin) translation work, so long as the subject matter wasn’t too technical. I’m not sure how wide your network of potential translators is, but if you stumble across a text I’d be happy to take a look if you can’t find someone else.

  2. Roger Pearse

    At any one moment it’s usually one or two people. But I’m certainly willing. Are you better on Greek or Latin?

  3. Alex Poulos

    I’m both better in Greek and like it more. With Lent approaching, it seems like a good opportunity for some “alms.” If you can find a text you’re interested in of reasonable length, I’ll translate if for free for you to put here. That’ll give you a chance too to judge the quality of my translation.

  4. Roger Pearse

    Let’s discuss this offline. I will email you.



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