Quirinus, the god of the Roman state

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Quirinus is an archaic Roman state deity in mythology and religion. Quirinus, sometimes known as Janus Quirinus, was a nickname for Janus in Augustan Rome.

Quirinus was represented as a bearded man wearing both military and religious garb in ancient Roman art. He was, however, seldom ever shown in subsequent Roman art. The Quirinalia, which was celebrated on February 17, was his primary event. One of the three patrician flamines maiores (“major flamens”) who presided over the Pontifex Maximus was the priest of Quirinus, the Flamen Quirinalis.

Quirinus was included in the Archaic Triad (the original Capitoline Triad), together with Mars (then an agriculture deity), and Jupiter because of his early significance.

Related article: Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Rome

Quirinus, however, lost some of his significance through time and was not a part of the later, more well-known triumvirate (he and Mars had been replaced by Juno and Minerva). Varro makes reference to the Capitolium Vetus, a former temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva atop the Quirinal, where Martial makes a contrast between the “old Jupiter” and the “new Jupiter”.

Most likely, Quirinus was originally a Sabine war god. On the Collis Quirinalis Quirinal Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, the Sabines, who had a town close to the future location of Rome, built an altar to Quirinus. The cult of Quirinus was included into the early Roman religious beliefs when the Romans first arrived in the region. Before the subsequent effects of classical Greek civilization, this took place.

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