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Faunus

by Micha F. Lindemans
The god of wild nature and fertility, also regarded as the giver of oracles. He was later identified with the Greek Pan and also assumed some of Pan's characteristics such as the horns and hooves. As the protector of cattle he is also referred to as Lupercus ("he who wards off the wolf").

One particular tradition tells that Faunus was the king of Latium, and the son of Picus. After his death he was deified as Fatuus, and a small cult formed around his person in the sacred forest of Tibur (Tivoli). On February 15 (the founding date of his temple) his feast, the Lupercalia, was celebrated. Priests (called the Luperci) wearing goat skins walked through the streets of Rome and hit the spectators with belts made from goat skin. Another festival was the Faunalia, observed on December 5.

He is accompanied by the fauns, analogous to the Greek satyrs. His feminine counterpart is Fauna. The wolfskin, wreath, and a goblet are his attributes.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    fawn'-uhs

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