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Consus

From Academic Kids

In Roman mythology, the god Consus oversaw the storing of grain underneath the ground. His altar was also placed beneath the ground near the Circus Maximus in Rome. The altar was unearthed only during the Consualia, his festival which took place on August 21 and December 15. Mule or horse races were the main event of the festival because the mule and the horse were Consus' sacred animals.

Consus also became a god associated with secret conferences, perhaps due to a common misinterpretation of his name. Consus' name has no certain etymology down to the present time. This name seems to be Etruscan or Sabine in origin. It seems that Consus' name is really related to the one of Ops as Consivia (or Consiva), itself related to "crops, seeding" (Latin conserere ("to sow"); see Ops; Opalia).

However, the Latins (Romans) associated Consus' name with consilium ("councils, synagogues, assemblies; place where councils assemble"). This word should not be confused with "counsel" ("advice"). It in fact expresses the idea of "sitting together" (consentes), "being together" (con-sum) or perhaps "called together, conclaimed" (con-calare).

As such, it seems that Consus was a member of the council of the Di Consentes ("Council of the Gods") formed by six gods and six goddesses which assembled in order to assist Jupiter in taking the great decisions such as destroying the Troy or Atlantis with a Flood, etc.. This tradition is due to the Etruscans, but is also widely attested in Greece as well, for instance, in Homer. It has to do with the Twelve Olympians of the Greek myths, and their twelve gods are the same as the ones of the Romans.

The connection of Consus with these secret councils is attested by Servius (En. 8:636): Consus autem deus est consiliorum ("Consus is however the god of councils"). But Consus' connection with agriculture and the netherworld is also very well attested. In his honor, and the one of Ops, the Consualia (or Opalia) were held every Aug. 21 and Dec. 15, as already stated, these being the epochs respectively of the seeding and the reaping of crops. According to Varro (L. I. 6:20), Consualia dicta a Consus ("The Consualia are so named after Consus"). The god, represented by a corn seed -- for he was the protector of grains and (subterranean) storage bins (silos) -- possessed an altar in a semi-subterranean temple in the Circus Maximus. This temple or altar was buried in order to show that such councils and assemblies should be kept secret from the wide public.

During the Consualia, the god's altar was retrieved from its subterranean grave in the circus Maximus, and equestrian races were held in his honor. Horses and mules were crowned with chaplets of flowers, and forbidden to work. Consus was often called Neptunus Equestris ("Equestrian Neptune"). So, his connection with the Greek Poseidon (Neptune) can hardly be denied. Poseidon was also associated with horses and horse racing, a connection which is reminiscent of Atlantis (founded by Poseidon) and its magnificent hippodromes described by Plato in his Critias. According to tradition, it was in the course of the Consualia and its horse races that the Romans kidnapped the Sabine women which they married in order to found their own nation.de:Consus it:Conso nl:Consus

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