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observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.The ancient cult of the Hirpi Sorani ("wolves of Soranus", from Sabine hirpus "wolf"), who practiced at Mt.Soracte, 45 km (28 mi) north of Rome, had elements in common with the Roman Lupercalia.The claim that Gelasius abolished the Lupercalia is frequently made but there is no evidence to support it.Some authors claim that Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with the "Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary," Other researchers have rejected this claim: they say there is no proof that the modern customs of Saint Valentine's Day originate from Lupercalia customs, and the claim seems to originate from misconceptions about festivities.) and thence to the modern month.The Romans themselves attributed the instigation of the Lupercalia to Evander, a culture hero from Arcadia who was credited with bringing the Olympic pantheon, Greek laws and alphabet to Italy, where he founded the city of Pallantium on the future site of Rome, 60 years before the Trojan War.
Lupercalia was celebrated in parts of Italy and Gaul; Luperci are attested by inscriptions at Velitrae, Praeneste, Nemausus (modern Nîmes) and elsewhere.
The Lupercal cave was restored or rebuilt by Augustus, and has been speculated as identical with a grotto discovered in 2007, 50 feet (15 m) below the remains of Augustus' residence; according to scholarly consensus, the grotto is a nymphaeum, not the Lupercal.
Despite the banning in 391 of all non-Christian cults and festivals, Lupercalia was celebrated by the nominally Christian populace on a regular basis, into the reign of the emperor Anastasius.
The name Lupercalia was believed in antiquity to evince some connection with the Ancient Greek festival of the Arcadian Lykaia, a wolf festival (Greek: It stood in the Lupercal, the cave where tradition held that Romulus and Remus were suckled by the she-wolf (Lupa).
The cave lay at the foot of the Palatine Hill, on which Romulus was thought to have founded Rome.
After the blood sacrifice, two Luperci approached the altar.