Quirinus was one of the five main Roman gods. Together with Jupiter and Mars, they constituted the trinity of the highest gods of the Roman state. He was the god of the armed Romans, the so-called quirites. The name comes from the word “spear” (quiris).
Initially, he was the god of the Sabines, who lived near what is now Rome, and he was identified with war. Then a legend arose related to Quirinus (he was also called that), according to which he was king Romulus himself, who after his death ascended to heaven. The legend led to the emergence of a new cult of Quirinus as the protector of Rome.
His sanctuary was on Quirinal Hill. Two bushes grew in front of the temple, which symbolized the patricians and plebeians and the fights between these two states. A special priest – flamen Quirinalis was in charge of his cult.
It was introduced into the Roman pantheon by Numa Pompilius. There he became the chief god alongside Jupiter and Mars. There he reigned until the Tarquins replaced Mars and Quirinus with Juno and Minerva.
The festival in honour of Quirinus, called Quirinalia, was celebrated on February 17, each year.