Practices and beliefsPriesthoodsOther deities
Janus · Quirinus · Saturn ·
Hercules · Faunus · Priapus
Liber · Bona Dea · Ops
Chthonic deities: Proserpina ·
Dis Pater · Orcus · Di Manes
Domestic and local deities:
Lares · Di Penates · Genius
Hellenistic deities: Sol Invictus · Magna Mater · Isis · Mithras
Divus Julius · Divus Augustus
See also List of Roman deitiesRelated topics
In ancient Roman religion, the god Consus was the protector of grains and (subterranean) storage bins (silos), and as such was represented by a grain seed.
His altar was placed beneath the ground (or, according to other sources, simply covered with earth, which was swept off at his festival) near the Circus Maximus in Rome. The altar was unearthed only during the Consualia, his festival which took place on August 21 (and another one on December 15). Mule or horse races were the main event of the festival because the mule and the horse were Consus' sacred animals. Horses and mules were crowned with chaplets of flowers, and forbidden to work.
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 and Opiconsivia). According to Varro (L. I. 6:20), Consualia dicta a Consus ("The Consualia are so named after Consus").
Consus also became a god associated with secret conferences, perhaps due to a common misinterpretation of his name. 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). 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").
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 making great decisions such as destroying 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.
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.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.