CONSUS

An ancient Roman divinity, whose name is derived by some from conso, i. e. consulo (Plut. Rom. 14; Tertull. de Spect. 5), while others regard it as a contraction of conditus. (Pseudo-Ascon. in Cic. Verr. ii. 10.) All we know about the nature of this divinity is limited to what may be inferred from the etymology of the name, and from the rites and ceremonies which were observed at his festival, the Consualia. (Dict. of Ant. s. v.) With regard to the former, some call him the god of secret deliberations, and others the hidden or mysterious god, that is, a god of the lower regions. The story about the introduction of his worship throws no light upon the question, since both explanations are equally in accordance with it. When after the building of Rome the Romans had no women, it is said, and when their suit to obtain them from the neighbouring tribes was rejected, Romulus spread a report, that he had found the altar of an unknown god buried under the earth. The god was called Consus, and Romulus vowed sacrifices and a festival to him, if he succeeded in the plan he devised to obtain wives for his Romans. (Plut.l. c.; Dionys. ii. 30, &c.) Livy (i. 9) calls the god Neptunus Equestris. Hartung (Die Relig. d. Röm. ii. p. 87) has pointed out reasons sufficient to shew, that Consus must be regarded as an infernal divinity; this notion is implied in the tradition of his altar being lound under the earth, and also in the fact that mules and horses, which were under the especial protection of the infernal divinities, were used in the races at the Consualia, and were treated with especial care and solemnity on that occasion.