"He who gathers in." An ancient Roman divinity, whose name is derived by some from conso, i.e. consulo,1 while others regard it as a contraction of conditus.2 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. 3 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 neighboring 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.4 Livy5 calls the god Neptunus Equestris. Hartung6 has pointed out reasons sufficient to show, that Consus must be regarded as an infernal divinity; this notion is implied in the tradition of his altar being found 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.
- Plutarch. Romulus, 14; Tertullian. De spectaculis, 5.
- Pseudo-Asconius in Cicero's Against Verres ii, 10.
- Dictionary of Antiquities s.v..
- Plutarch, l.c.; Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities ii, 30 ff.
- The History of Rome i, 9.
- Die Religion der Römer. Vol. 2, p. 87.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.