Date(s) - 15/10/2021
On 15 October a two-horse chariot-race took place in the Campus Martius and the right-hand horse of the victorious pair was sacrificed by
the Flamen Martialis on an altar to Mars in the Campus: according to Timaeus it was a war-horse and was killed with a spear. The horse’s head was cut off and decorated with cakes.
The inhabitants of the Via Sacra then fought with those of Suburra for possession of this horse head trophy; the winner, if the Via Sacra team won, then nailed it to a wall of the Regia, but if the Suburra won, they fixed it to the Turris Mamilia. Meanwhile, the horse’s tail, was rushed to the Regia, where the blood was allowed to fall on the sacred hearth.
The Vestal Virgins kept some of this blood for use at the Parilia on 21 April.
This festival marks the close of the harvest season and petitions Mars to defend the fields and collected harvest over winter. Festus says, ‘that sacrifice was made for the success of the crops’.
A second purpose is to purify the army on its return from the summer campaign and linked with the Armilustrium on 19 October.