Thursday, October 15, 2009

Equus October

October 15, the Ides of October, was the date of the October Horse (Equus October) sacrifice. The Campus Martius was the site of a two-horse chariot race where the right-hand horse of the victorious pair was sacrificed with a spear on an altar to Mars. It was then decapitated and the head decorated with cakes before the residents of the Via Sacra and those of Suburra fought over the possession of it. It was nailed to the wall of the Regia if the Via Sacra people won. If the Suburranites won, it was displayed on the Turris Mamilia. The horse's tail, still dripping blood, was rushed to the Regia where the blood was scattered onto the sacred hearth and the Vestal Virgins kept some for use at the Parilia festival on April 21. By the late Roman Republic, this rite was regarded as a cleansing of the army at the end of the campaign season, but it may have had an agricultural origin, with the horse representing a corn spirit. Originally, they sacrificed a farm horse.


Blogger Eurodog said...

Not sure I feel confortable with all this, WW.

6:42 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

The Romans loved all that blood and gore, ED. I don't think they sacrificed dogs, though. Sorry to spoil your day!

9:48 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Charming people, the Romans.

7:28 pm  

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