Quirinus - encyclopedia reference
Quirinus (from Encyclopedia Britannica), a major Roman deity ranking close to Jupiter and Mars. Their flamines constituted the three major priests of Rome. His name is an adjective form and would seem to mean "he of the quirium," a word generally taken to signify the very ancient Sabine settlement which united with the Palitine community to form the original Rome. It has also be dirived , however, from coririum, meaning "assembly of men." That the Quirinal, traditional site of Sabine settlement was the seat of his cult there is no doubt, and the Sabine origin of the god is reflected in Ovid (Fasti II, 475). In spite of his importance rather little is known about Quirinus. He bears a similarity to Mars, and some believe that he is only another form of that deity. By the late republic he is identified completely with Romulus, a confusion perhaps originally suggested by Quirites. He had a festival, the Quirinalia, on Feb. 17; his temple on the Quirinal was one of the oldest in Rome. A cult partned Hora is spoken of, also minor deities, the Virites Quirini, of whom nothing else is known. Janus appears with the epithet Quirinus, but the relationship between the two is a matter of conjecture.