a festival celebrated at Rome in honour
of the god Consus, the protector of horses, identified by Livy (1.9
) and the Greeks (Dionys. A. R. 2.31
, and Plutarch, Quaest.
45) with Neptunus Equester, i. e. Poseidon Hippios, but
to be regarded rather as a god connected with the earth and agriculture
(Preller, Röm. Myth.
p. 420). His altar, at the
lower end of the Circus Maximus (Tac. Ann.
; Tertull. de Spectac.
5 and 8), was covered as a
rule with earth, which was cleared away only on the three yearly festivals
in his honour. On the nones of July the Pontifices sacrificed at this altar:
on the 21st of August the Flamen Quirinalis and the Vestal Virgins offered
the sacrifices, while the Pontifices presided at chariot and horse races in
the circus. This day was observed as a holiday for all horses and mules,
which had rest from work and were adorned with garlands (Dionys. A. R. 1.33
; Paul. p. 148); it was
probably intended to mark the end of harvest. A similar festival on the 15th
of December seems to have marked the close of seed-time (cf. Mommsen,
C. I. L.
i. p. 400). It was during the festival in August
that, according to the legend, the Sabine maidens were carried off by the
young Romans (Varro, L. L.
; Verg. A. 8.636
: cf. Schwegler,