Or Larentia, a mythical woman who occurs in the stories in early Roman history. Macrobius (Sat. i. 10), with whom Plutarch (Quaest. Romn. 35; Romul. 5) agrees in the main points, relates the following tradition about her. In the reign of Ancus Marcius a servant (aedituus) of the temple of Hercules invited during the holidays the god to a game of dice, promising that if he should lose the game, he would treat the god with a repast and a beautiful woman. When the god had conquered the servant, the latter shut up Acca Laurentia, then the most beautiful and most notorious woman, together with a well stored table in the temple of Hercules, who, when she left the sanctuary, advised her to try to gain the affection of the first wealthy man she should meet. She succeeded in making Carutius, an Etruscan, or as Plutarch calls him, Tarrutius, love and marry her.
After his death she inherited his large property, which, when she herself died, she left to the Roman people. Ancus, in gratitude for this, allowed her to be buried in the Velabrum, and instituted an annual festival, the Larentalia, at which sacrifices were offered to the Lares. (Comp. Varr. Ling. Lat. v. p. 85, ed. Bip.)
According to others (Macer, Macrob. l. c.; Fasti By Ovid iii. 55, &c.; Plin. H. N. xviii. 2), Acca Laurentia was the wife of the shepherd Faustulus and the nurse of Romulus and Remus after they had been taken from the she-wolf. Plutarch indeed states, that this Laurentia was altogether a different being from the one occurring in the reign of Ancus; but other writers, such as Macer, relate their stories as belonging to the same being. (Comp. Gell. vi. 7.) According to Massurius Sabinus in Gellius (l. c.) she was the mother of twelve sons, and when one of them died, Romulus steped into his place, and adopted in conjunction with the remaining eleven the name of fratres arvales. (Comp. Plin. l. c.) According to other accounts again she was not the wife of Faustulus, but a prostitute who from her mode of life was called >lupa by the shepherds, and who left the property she gained in that way to the Roman people. (Valer. Ant. ap. Gell. l. c.; Livy, i. 4.)
Whatever may be thought of the contradictory statements respecting Acca Laurentia, thus much seems clear, that she was of Etruscan origin, and connected with the worship of the Lares, from which her name Larentia itself seems to be derived. This appears further from the number of her sons, which answers to that of the twelve country Lares, and from the circumstance that the day sacred to her was followed by one sacred to the Lares. (Macrob. Sat. l. c.)From Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
From Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans By Plutarch
Others think that the first rise of this fable came from the childrenís nurse, through the ambiguity of her name; for the Latins not only called wolves lupae, but also women of loose life; and such an one was the wife of Faustulus, who nurtured these children, Acca Larentia by name. To her the Romans offer sacrifices, and in the month of April the priest of Mars makes libations there; it is called the Larentian Feast. They honor also another Larentia, for the following reason: the keeper of Herculesís temple having, it seems, little else to do, proposed to his deity a game at dice, laying down that, if he himself won, he would have something valuable of the god; but if he were beaten, he would spread him a noble table, and procure him a fair ladyís company. Upon these terms, throwing first for the god and then for himself, he found himself beaten. Wishing to pay his stakes honorably, and holding himself bound by what he had said, he both provided the deity a good supper, and, giving money to Larentia, then in her beauty, though not publicly known, gave her a feast in the temple, where he had also laid a bed, and after supper locked her in, as if the god were really to come to her. And indeed, it is said, the deity did truly visit her, and commanded her in the morning to walk to the market-place, and, whatever man see met first, to salute him, and make him her friend.
She met one named Tarrutius, who was a man advanced in years, fairly rich without children, and had always lived a single life. He received Larentia, and loved her well, and at his death left her sole heir of all his large and fair possessions, most of which she, in her last will and testament, bequeathed to the people. It was reported of her, being now celebrated and esteemed the mistress of a god, that she suddenly disappeared near the place where the first Larentia lay buried; the spot is at this day called Velabrum, because, the river frequently overflowing, they went over in ferry-boats somewhere hereabouts to the forum, the Latin word for ferrying being velatura. Others derive the name from velum, a sail; because the exhibitors of public shows used to hang the road that leads from the forum to the Circus Maximus with sails, beginning at this spot. Upon these accounts the second Larentia is honored at Rome.