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Equus October

(15 October)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman relief showing Achilles
Roman relief showing Achilles wielding a spear in a chariot, behind which the body of Hector is dragged. | Author: Johann Jaritz | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Austria

The Roman Equus October ritual took place on October 15th in honor of the god of war Mars. This ritual ended the season of agricultural work and military campaigns. The rite took place during one of the three chariot races in honor of Mars (called Equirria).

Two-horse teams (bigae) competed on the track in Field of Mars (Campus Martius). The horse, belonging to the victorious chariot, on the right side was pierced with a spear and sacrificed. The horse’s head (caput) and tail (cauda) were cut off and used separately for each stage of the ceremony. Scientists believe that many aspects of the rite were adopted from the Etruscan.

Sources
  • Jaczynowska Maria, Religie świata rzymskiego, Warszawa 1987
  • Zieliński Tadeusz, Religia Rzeczypospolitej Rzymskiej

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