In his book entitled Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Jérôme Carcopino describes the sacrifice of the October Horse, the winner of an annual horse-race held in the Forum on October 15.
The flamen of Mars sacrificed the luckless race-horse immediately after it had won the victory. Its blood was collected in two vessels, and the contents of one were straightway poured over the hearth of the Regia --the traditional palace of Numa and home of the Pontifex Maximus-- while the other was sent to the Vestals who kept it in reserve for the year's lustrations. As for the horse's head, which had been severed by the knife of the sacrificing priest, the dwellers by the Sacred Way and the inhabitants of the Subura fought savagely to decide which of their respective quarters should have the honour of exhibiting on the wall of one of its buildings the trophy of the "October Horse".

Winner by a Head

Horse of October's a
Term to describe a most
Horrible rite;
Hapless, the winner of
Contest is sacrificed--
Gross, grisly sight.

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