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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Consualia

In ancient Rome, the Consualia was held annually on August 21 in honor of Consus, the God of harvests, presaging a good harvest later in the month.

It was solemnised every year in the circus, by the symbolical ceremony of uncovering an altar dedicated to the god, which was buried in the earth. For Romulus, who was considered as the founder of the festival, was said to have discovered an altar in the earth on that spot. The solemnity took place August 21 and December 15, with horse and chariot races, and libations were poured into the flames which consumed the sacrifices.

In ancient Roman religion, the god Consus was the protector of grains and storage bins, which among the Romans were subterranean silos. Since the grain was stored in holes underneath the earth, Consus' altar was also placed beneath the earth (near the Circus Maximus).

One of the main events during this festival was a mule race (the mule was his sacred animal). During the festival horses and mules were garlanded with flowers, and given a rest from work. Also on this day, farm and dray horses were not permitted to work and attended the festivities.

Consus is closely connected with the fertility goddess Ops (Ops Consiva). Later he was also regarded as god of secret counsels as his name was also interpreted allegorically in relation to consilium which means council, assembly.

Note: Plutarch says that the Consualia took place on the 18th of August.
From: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities

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