August 9 there would be a public sacrifice on the Quirinal hill in
honour of the divinity Sol Indiges. We know that Sol Indiges was
some form of the Sun god, but after that we are 'in the dark', so to
speak. According to Varro, the Sabine Titus Tatius established
(presumably on the Quirinal Hill) altars for various divinities
including Sol (as well as Ops, Flora, Vediovis, Saturn, Vulcan,
Summanus, Larundus, Terminus, Quirinus, Vortumnus, the Lares, and
Diana Lucina). Quintilian says there was a pulvinar (a couch)
dedicated to Sol near the Temple of Quirinus on the Quirinal, which
is probably connected to this ritual somehow.
regards to the epithet "Indiges", Scullard warns us of the
controversy associated with what it means: "the Indigetes have
been regarded as di minores (gods of limited function)", as
'native' (as opposed to foreign) gods, or as ancestral gods. That it
might refer to native or ancestral (in a national sense?) gods is
perhaps suggested by the list of divinities (mentioned above) in
which Sol is included. Servius, commenting on Virgil's Georgics
(1.48) doesn't appear to be sure himself. He tells us that dii
indigetes are divinities which were created from humans; in other
words, a sort of Roman/Italian equivalent to the Greek hero cult.
This certainly seems to be the case with the worship of Aeneas as "Pater
Indiges" at Lavinium, but obviously it doesn't quite work with
On Sol Indiges: H.H. Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the
Roman Republic (Ithaca, 1981), p 171.
the cult of Aeneas at Lanuvium: R. Ross Holloway, The
Archaeology of Early Rome and Latium (London, 1994), 135 ff.