The Equirria was a festival of horse racing in honor of Mars believed to have been established by Romulus. The Equirria was held on February 27 and March 14 on the Campus Martius.
The day of the Equirria begins shortly after dawn with a sacrifice* at the Ara Martis in the Campus Martius, not far from the Porta Fontinalis in the Servian wall, west of the Via Latia, the altar where Romulus and Numa sacrificed. The pontifices are there and the Flamen Martialis. Silence is pronounced and the sacred flute plays to prevent an inauspicious sound from disturbing the caaerimonia. The Capitoline Triad is invoked with Quirinus by offerings of incense and libations of unmixed wine, prayers to Mars Himself addressed by the Flamen Quirinalis on half of the Senate and People of Rome, the Quirites. The victim, an ox, garlanded white white and scarlet woolen ribbons, his back covered with an elaborately embroidered and fringed dorsuale, is brought forward. The dorsuale is removed by attendants, then the Flamen Martialis pours a few drops of wine upon the ox's head, sprinkles the victim's back with mola salsa, and draws the bronze sacrificial blade down the ox's back. The Flamen Martialis commands the victimarius to strike, bringing the bronze poleaxe down upon the victim's head. Stunned, the ox goes to his knees, and another victimarius neatly cuts the victim's throat. Within moments the victim is dead. This victim is placed on his back, the belly opened quickly, and the haruspex inspects the internal organs (exta): the liver, the lungs, the biliary blister, peritoneum and heart. Each is normal, and the haruspex and Flamen Martialis pronounce the sacrifice to be litatio -- accepted by Mars Pater. These exta are reserved and skewered to be grilled before offering to Mars. The victimarii render the remainder of the ox in preparation for the epulum.
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