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OCTO´BER EQUUS On the Ides of October in each year there was a race of bigae in the Campus Martius, after which the off-horse of the winning biga was sacrificed by the flamen Martialis at the altar of Mars: the tail was cut (offa penita, Arnob. 7.24: cf. Plaut. Mil. Glor. 3.1, 165; and curto equo, Prop. 5.1, 20) and, taken to the Regia, the blood from it sprinkled on the hearth of Vesta: the blood from the sacrificed horse was kept and stored up within the Regia, for future sacred rites [PARILIA]. For the head of the victim there was a struggle between the inhabitants of the Via Sacra and those of the Subura: if the former got it, it was fixed on the walls of the, Regia; it the latter, on the turris Mamilia in the Subura. This struggle, representing a competition between two halves of the old city, marks the festival as dating from the earliest beginning of Rome (Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, 1.53; Burn, Rome and Campagna, p. 38). Marquardt sees also in the struggle a form of lustration or expiation, comparing Lobeck, Aglaoph. 680. The horse was clearly the appropriate sacrifice to Mars (to whom also the Equiria were sacred), and the fact that the blood was reserved for another ancient lustral rite suggests that we have here the original purely Roman lustration. (See also Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung, 3.334 f.)


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