Werewolf Fact of the Day

Werewolf Book 2e
ISBN: 9781578593675

What Roman festival was believed to keep away werewolves?

  • It was based on a coming-of-age rite for young hunters.
  • Though the festival was named after a wolf, it was a goat and a dog who were sacrificed.
  • It was believed the youths who took part in the ceremony had life-long protection from werewolves. protected


The exact meaning of Luperci remains in dispute. Lupus itself is not an authentic or original Latin word, but was borrowed from the Sabine dialect. Luperca or Lupa Romana, the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus may have given rise to secret fraternities known as the Luperci, who sacrificed she-goats at the entrances to their "wolves dens" and celebrated the Lupercali festival.

The annual Lupercali festival of the Romans was a perpetuation of the ancient blooding rites of the hunter in which the novice is smeared with the blood of his first kill. The god Lupercus, represented by a wolf, inspires men to act as wolves, to be thus as werewolves during the festival on February 15. A sacrificial slaying of a goat--representing the flocks that supported early humans in their attempts at establishing permanent or semi-permanent dwelling places--is followed by the sacrifice of a dog, the watchful protector of a flock that would be the first to be killed by attacking wolves.

When the blood of the she-goat and the dog are mixed, a bloodstained knife was dipped into the fluid, then drawn slowly across the foreheads of two noble-born children. Once the children had been "blooded," the blood is wiped off their foreheads with wool that has been dipped in milk. As they are being cleansed, they were expected to laugh, demonstrating their lack of fear of blood and their acknowledgment that they have received the magic of protection against wolves and werewolves.

Certain scholars believe this ritual of protection was derived from a much early version of the Lupercali in which the smearing of the blood on the forehead indicated that the recipient had been "wolf-blooded" and would now forever be a solitary outlaw, a lycanthrope.

From The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition by Brad Steiger, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R) Steiger's homage to the beast within provides meaty facts for the lycanthropic in all of us.

< Previous Fact Next Fact >

Dig deeper with these related titles:

Werewolf Book 2e The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition
by Brad Steiger

When Darkness Reigns and the Full Moon Glows, Terror Emerges to Stalk the Unsuspecting… Read More »

ISBN: 9781578593675
Vampire Book 3e The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead, Third Edition
by J. Gordon Melton, PhD

The Ultimate Collection of Vampire Facts and Fiction Death and immortality, sexual prowess and surrender, intimacy and... Read More »

ISBN: 9781578592814
Real Monsters Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside
by Brad Steiger

Beware! Monsters are Everywhere Monsters have been spotted everywhere, not just slithering under a child's bed or lurking in... Read More »

ISBN: 9781578592203
Unexplained! Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, 2nd Edition
by Jerome Clark

The truth is out there, but looking for it is the real fun. Now, countless X-philes and insatiable fans of the supernatural, occult, and UFOs can... Read More »

ISBN: 9781578590704
Real Zombies Real Zombies, the Living Dead, and Creatures of the Apocalypse
by Brad Steiger

The macabre secret history of the undead . . . Featuring 30 chilling stories of real life zombie encounters, this comprehensive and... Read More »

ISBN: 9781578592968
Real Vampires Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside
by Brad Steiger

Not only do vampires exist, they walk among us! Paranormal researcher extraordinaire, Brad Steiger, reveals that real vampires are not immortal, do... Read More »

ISBN: 9781578592555