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Faunus was a Roman god similar to Pan.


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 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.

Roman Myth

In Roman mythology, Pan's counterpart aunus was known as the father of Bona Dea (Fauna, his feminine side) and Latinus by the nymph Marica (who was also sometimes Faunus’s mother).

Justin Martyr identified him as Lupercus (he who wards off the wolf), the protector of cattle, but his identification is not supported by any earlier classical sources.

Faunus was a Latin king, son of Picus and Canens. He was then revered as the god Fatuus after his death, worshipped in a sacred forest outside what is now Tivoli, Italy, but had been known since Etruscan times as Tibur, the seat of the Tiburtine Sibyl.

He was associated with wolf skins, wreaths and goblets.

His festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple, February 14, was called the Lupercalia. His priests (Luperci) wore goat-skins and hit onlookers with goat-skin belts. The Faunalia was another festival in Faunus' honor; it took place on December 5.

In Dionysiaca by Nonnos, Faunus Phaunos accompanied Dionysus when the latter campaigned against the Indians.


  • Walter Burkert, 1985. Greek Religion (Harvard University Press)
  • Karl Kerenyi, 1951. The Gods of the Greeks (Thames & hudson)
  • Ruck, Carl A.P. and Danny Staples, 1994. The World of Classical Myth. (Carolina Academic Press)

See also