Today seems a perfect time to repost this…

Something caught Jenny’s eye. She stopped and squinted into the brightly lit case as her classmates milled past her. Inside was what looked like a thin leather strap, discoloured black and desiccated by age. Had the object been intact it would have been as long as her forearm, but instead it lay broken in 4 unequal lengths. Curiosity piqued, her eyes scanned the caption card beside it.

FEBRUA
Leather (likely goat hide)  ~140 BC.
Found: Tiburi (now Tivoli), central Italy, 1855.

“Believed to be a flogging whip, intended for the purification and fertility rites of the festival of Lupercalia. Celebrated annually, beginning on the Ides (the 13th) and climaxing on the 15th of February, these purgative rituals held such significance in the Roman calendar that the month of Februarius was named after them. Although Lupercalia was a fertility rite, scholars believe its proximity to the contemporary St Valentine’s Day (the 14th) is purely coincidental.”

Jenny quivered. Recently, she’d become a reluctant expert on the subject of flogging. Only yesterday she’d neglected to do her Latin homework, and been kept behind after school to finish it. And the school rules were very clear, pupils who missed an assignment would find themselves completing it – whilst sitting on a sore spanked bottom…

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