Mars (mythology)
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In
ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widel ...
and
myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures. ...
, Mars ( la, Mārs, ) was the
god of war A war god in mythology associated with war, combat, or bloodshed. They occur commonly in both monotheism, monotheistic and polytheism, polytheistic religions. Unlike most gods and goddesses in polytheistic religions, monotheistic deities have ...
and also an
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guardian, a combination characteristic of early
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...
. He was the son of
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and
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, and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his
festivals A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festival ...
were held in March, the month named for him ( Latin ''Martius''), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming. Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the
Greek god The following is a list of gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel ...
Ares Ares (; grc, Ἄρης, ''Árēs'' ) is the List of Greek mythological figures, Greek god of courage and war god, war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. The Greeks were ambivalent toward him. He embodies the ph ...

Ares
,''Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia'',
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, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.
whose
myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures. ...
s were reinterpreted in
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and
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under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in
Greek literature Greek literature () dates back from the ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is literature written in the Ancient Greek language from the earliest texts until the time of the Byzantine Empire. The earliest surviving works of anci ...
. Mars's altar in the
Campus Martius 300px, The Pantheon, a landmark of the Campus Martius since ancient Rome. The Campus Martius (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally ...

Campus Martius
, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by
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Numa
, the peace-loving semi-legendary second
king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two different meanings of magistrate have often overlapped and ...
. Although the center of Mars's worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome ''(
pomerium The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan ...

pomerium
)'',
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
made the god a renewed focus of
Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are often distinguished from univer ...
by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum. Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father ''(pater)'' of the Roman people. In the mythic
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genealogy
and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of
Romulus and Remus 350px, Altar to Mars (divine father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus (their divine ancestress) depicting elements of their legend. Tiberinus, the Father of the Tiber and the infant twins being suckled by a she-wolf in the Ostia, now at the Na ...

Romulus and Remus
by his rape of
Rhea Silvia Rhea (or Rea) Silvia (), also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus 350px, Altar to Mars (divine father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus (their divine ancestress) depicting elements of their legend. Tiberinus, ...
. His love affair with
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...
symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome's founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus Venus is the second planet from the S ...
, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who "founded" Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.


Origin

The word ''Mārs'' (genitive ''Mārtis''), which in
Old Latin Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin ( la, prīsca Latīnitās, lit=the Latinity of the ancients) was the in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of . According to most current theories, it is descended from a common ; ...
and poetic usage also appears as ''Māvors'' (''Māvortis''), is cognate with
Oscan Oscan is an extinct Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and th ...
''Māmers'' (''Māmertos''). The oldest recorded Latin form, ''Mamart-,'' is likely of foreign origin''.''
Michiel de Vaan Michiel Arnoud Cor de Vaan (; born 1973) is a Dutch linguist and Indo-Europeanist. He taught comparative Indo-European linguistics, historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study o ...
, ''Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages'', Brill, 2008, p. 366.
It has been explained as deriving from '' Maris,'' the name of an Etruscan child-god, though this is not universally agreed upon. Scholars have varying views on whether the two gods are related, and if so how. Latin adjectives from the name of Mars are ''martius'' and ''martialis'', from which derive English "martial" (as in "martial arts" or "
martial law Martial law is the temporary imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied ter ...
") and personal names such as "Marcus", "Mark" and "Martin". Mars may ultimately be a thematic reflex of the
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
god
Perkwunos Perkwunos (Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed features have been derived by linguistic reconstruction from documented Indo-European languages. No di ...
, having originally a thunderer character.York, Michael. Romulus and Remus, Mars and Quirinus. Journal of Indo-European Studies 16:1 & 2 (Spring/Summer, 1988), 153–172.


Birth

Like Ares who was the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars is usually considered to be the son of
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
and
Juno Juno commonly refers to: *Juno (mythology), the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods *Juno (film), ''Juno'' (film), 2007 Juno may also refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Fictional characters *Juno, in the film ''Jenny, Juno'' *Jun ...
. However, in a version of his birth given by Ovid, he was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother's function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora (mythology), Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin ''flos'', plural ''flores'', a grammatical gender, masculine word) and tested it on a wikt:heifer, heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno's belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the Sea of Marmara, shore of Marmara for the birth.Ovid, ''Fasti (poem), Fasti'
5.229–260
/ref> Ovid tells this story in the ''Fasti (Ovid), Fasti'', his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a Lucina (goddess), goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars's month, which is also marked on a Chronography of 354, calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year. Ovid is the only source for the story. He may be presenting a literary myth of his own invention, or an otherwise unknown Ancient peoples of Italy, archaic Italic tradition; either way, in choosing to include the story, he emphasizes that Mars was connected to plant life and was not alienated from female nurture.


Consort

The wikt:consort, consort of Mars was Nerio or Neriene, "Valor." She represents the vital force ''(vis)'', power ''(potentia)'' and majesty ''(maiestas)'' of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine language, Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin ''virtus (virtue), virtus,'' "manly virtue" (from ''vir'', "man"). In the early 3rd century BCE, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Neriene were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Neriene came to be identified with Minerva. Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars's power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally grammatical gender, feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer Glossary of ancient Roman religion#invocatio, invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its Anthropotheism, anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as "marriages."


Venus and Mars

The union of Venus and Mars held greater appeal for poets and philosophers, and the couple were a frequent subject of art. In Greek myth, the adultery of
Ares Ares (; grc, Ἄρης, ''Árēs'' ) is the List of Greek mythological figures, Greek god of courage and war god, war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. The Greeks were ambivalent toward him. He embodies the ph ...

Ares
and Aphrodite had been exposed to ridicule when her husband Hephaestus (whose Roman equivalent was Vulcanus, Vulcan) caught them in the act by means of a magical snare. Although not originally part of the Roman tradition, in 217 BCE Venus and Mars were presented as a complementary pair in the ''lectisternium'', a public banquet at which images of Di Consentes, twelve major gods of the Roman state were presented on couches as if present and participating. Scenes of Venus and Mars in Roman art often ignore the adulterous implications of their union, and take pleasure in the good-looking couple attended by Cupid or multiple Loves ''(amores)''. Some scenes may imply marriage, and the relationship was romanticized in funerary or domestic art in which husbands and wives had themselves portrayed as the passionate divine couple. The uniting of deities representing Love and War lent itself to allegory, especially since the lovers were the parents of Concordia (mythology), Concordia. The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino notes that "only Venus dominates Mars, and he never dominates her". In ancient Roman and Renaissance art, Mars is often shown disarmed and relaxed, or even sleeping, but the extramarital nature of their affair can also suggest that this peace is impermanent.


Essential nature

Virility as a kind of life force ''(vis)'' or virtue ''(virtus)'' is an essential characteristic of Mars. As an agricultural guardian, he directs his energies toward creating conditions that allow crops to grow, which may include warding off hostile forces of nature. The priesthood of the Arval Brethren, Arval Brothers called on Mars to drive off "rust" ''(lues)'', with its double meaning of Wheat leaf rust, wheat fungus and the rust, red oxides that affect metal, a threat to both iron farm implements and weaponry. In the Carmen Arvale, surviving text of their hymn, the Arval Brothers invoked Mars as ''ferus'', "savage" or "feral" like a wild animal. Mars's potential for savagery is expressed in his obscure connections to the wild woodlands, and he may even have originated as a god of the wild, beyond the boundaries set by humans, and thus a force to be wikt:propitiate, propitiated. In his De Agri Cultura, book on farming, Cato the Elder, Cato invokes ''Mars (mythology)#Mars Silvanus, Mars Silvanus'' for a ritual to be carried out ''in silva'', in the woods, an uncultivated place that if not held within bounds can threaten to overtake the fields needed for crops. Mars's character as an agricultural god may derive solely from his role as a defender and protector, or may be inseparable from his warrior nature, as the leaping of his armed priests the Salii was meant to quicken the growth of crops. It appears that Mars was originally a thunderer or storm deity, which explains some of his mixed traits in regards to fertility. This role was later taken in the Roman pantheon by several other gods, such as Summanus or
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
.


Sacred animals

The wild animals most sacred to Mars were the woodpecker, the wolf, and the bear, which in the natural lore of the Romans were said always to inhabit the same foothills and woodlands. Plutarch notes that the woodpecker ''(picus)'' is sacred to Mars because "it is a courageous and spirited bird and has a beak so strong that it can overturn oaks by pecking them until it has reached the inmost part of the tree." As the beak of the ''picus Martius'' contained the god's power to ward off harm, it was carried as a amulet, magic charm to prevent bee stings and leech bites. The bird of Mars also guarded a woodland herb ''(paeonia (plant), paeonia)'' used for treatment of the Human gastrointestinal tract, digestive or Female reproductive system (human), female reproductive systems; those who sought to harvest it were advised to do so by night, lest the woodpecker jab out their eyes. The ''picus Martius'' seems to have been a particular species, but authorities differ on which one: perhaps ''Picus viridis'' or ''Dryocopus martius''. The woodpecker was revered by the Latins (Italic tribe), Latin peoples, who abstained from eating its flesh. It was one of the most important birds in Roman and Italic augury, the practice of reading the will of the gods through watching the sky for signs. The mythological figure named Picus had powers of augury that he retained when he was transformed into a woodpecker; in one tradition, Picus was the son of Mars. The Umbrian language, Umbrian cognate ''peiqu'' also means "woodpecker," and the Italic Picentes, Picenes were supposed to have derived their name from the ''picus'' who served as their guide animal during a ritual migration ''(ver sacrum)'' undertaken as a rite of Mars. In the territory of the Aequi, another Italic people, Mars had an oracle of great antiquity where the prophecies were supposed to be spoken by a woodpecker perched on a wooden column. Mars's association with the wolf is familiar from what may be the most famous of Roman mythology, Roman myths, the story of how a She-wolf (Roman mythology), she-wolf ''(lupa)'' suckled his infant sons when they were Infanticide#Greece and Rome, exposed by order of Amulius, King Amulius, who feared them because he had usurper, usurped the throne from their grandfather, Numitor. The woodpecker also brought nourishment to the twins. The wolf appears elsewhere in Roman art and literature in masculine form as the animal of Mars. A statue group that stood along the Appian Way showed Mars in the company of wolves. At the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BCE, the appearance of the wolf of Mars ''(Martius lupus)'' was a sign that Roman victory was to come. In Gallo-Roman culture, Roman Gaul, the goose was associated with the Mars (mythology)#Provincial epithets, Celtic forms of Mars, and archaeologists have found geese buried alongside warriors in graves. The goose was considered a bellicose animal because it is easily provoked to aggression.


Sacrificial animals

Religion in ancient Greece, Ancient Greek and Roman religion distinguished between animals that were sacred to a deity and those that were prescribed as the correct animal sacrifice, sacrificial offerings for the god. Wild animals might be viewed as already belonging to the god to whom they were sacred, or at least not owned by human beings and therefore not Do ut des, theirs to give. Since sacrificial meat was eaten at a banquet after the gods received their portion – mainly the entrails ''(exta)'' – it follows that the animals sacrificed were most often, though not always, domestic animals normally part of the Roman diet. Gods often received castrated male animals as sacrifices, and the goddesses female Glossary of ancient Roman religion#victima, victims; Mars, however, regularly received intact males. Mars did receive oxen under a few of his cult titles, such as Mars (mythology)#Mars Grabovius, Mars Grabovius, but the usual offering was the bull, singly, in multiples, or in combination with other animals. The two most distinctive animal sacrifices made to Mars were the ''suovetaurilia'', a triple offering of a pig ''(sus)'', ram ''(ovis)'' and bull ''(taurus)'', and the October Horse, the only horse sacrifice known to have been carried out in ancient Rome and a rare instance of a victim the Romans considered inedible.


Temples and topography in Rome

The earliest center in Rome for cultivating Mars as a deity was the Altar of Mars ''(Glossary of ancient Roman religion#ara, Ara Martis)'' in the
Campus Martius 300px, The Pantheon, a landmark of the Campus Martius since ancient Rome. The Campus Martius (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally ...

Campus Martius
("Field of Mars") outside the sacred boundary of Rome ''(
pomerium The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan ...

pomerium
)''. The Romans thought that this altar had been established by the semi-legendary Numa Pompilius, the peace-loving successor of Romulus. According to Roman tradition, the Campus Martius had been consecrated to Mars by their ancestors to serve as horse pasturage and an equestrian training ground for youths. During the Roman Republic (509–27 BCE), the Campus was a largely open expanse. No temple was built at the altar, but from 193 BCE a covered walkway connected it to the Porta Fontinalis, near the office and archives of the Roman censors. Newly elected censors placed their curule chairs by the altar, and when they had finished conducting the census, the citizens were collectively lustrum, purified with a suovetaurilia there. A frieze from the so-called Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, "Altar" of Domitius Ahenobarbus is thought to depict the census, and may show Mars himself standing by the altar as the procession of victims advances. The main Temple of Mars ''(Aedes (Roman), Aedes Martis)'' in the Republican period also lay outside the sacred boundary and was devoted to the god's warrior aspect. It was built to fulfill a vow ''(votum)'' made by a Titus Quinctia gens, Quinctius in 388 BCE during the Gallic siege of Rome. The founding day ''(Glossary of ancient Roman religion#dies natalis, dies natalis)'' was commemorated on June 1, and the temple is attested by several inscriptions and literary sources. The sculpture group of Mars and the wolves was displayed there. Soldiers sometimes assembled at the temple before heading off to war, and it was the point of departure for a major parade of Roman cavalry held annually on July 15. A temple to Mars in the Circus Flaminius was built around 133 BCE, funded by Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus from war booty. It housed a colossal statue of Mars and a nude Venus. The Campus Martius continued to provide venues for equestrian events such as chariot racing during the Roman Empire, Imperial period, but under the first emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
it underwent a major program of urban renewal, marked by monumental architecture. The Altar of Augustan Peace ''(Ara Pacis Augustae)'' was located there, as was the Obelisk of Montecitorio, imported from Roman Egypt, Egypt to form the pointer ''(gnomon)'' of the Solarium Augusti, a giant sundial. With its public gardens, the Campus became one of the most attractive places in the city to visit. Augustus made the centrepiece of his new forum a large Temple to Mars Ultor, a manifestation of Mars he cultivated as the avenger ''(ultor)'' of the assassination of Julius Caesar, murder of Julius Caesar and of the military disaster suffered at the Battle of Carrhae. When the legionary standards lost to the Parthians were recovered, they were housed in the new temple. The date of the temple's dedication on May 12 was aligned with the heliacal setting of the constellation Scorpio (constellation), Scorpio, the Astrological sign, sign of war. The date continued to be marked with ludi circenses, circus games as late as the mid-4th century AD. A large statue of Mars was part of the short-lived List of Roman triumphal arches, Arch of Nero, which was built in 62 CE but dismantled after Nero's suicide and disgrace ''(damnatio memoriae)''.


Iconography and symbol

In Roman art, Mars is depicted as either bearded and mature, or young and clean-shaven. Even Nude (art), nude or seminude, he often wears a helmet or carries a spear as emblems of his warrior nature. Mars was among the deities to appear on the earliest Roman coinage in the late 4th and early 3rd century BCE. On the Altar of Peace ''(Ara Pacis)'', built in the last years of the 1st century BCE, Mars is a mature man with a "handsome, Classicism, classicizing" face, and a short curly beard and moustache. His helmet is a plumed neo-Attic-Attic helmet, type. He wears a military cloak ''(paludamentum)'' and a muscle cuirass, cuirass ornamented with a gorgoneion. Although the relief is somewhat damaged at this spot, he appears to hold a spear laurel wreath, garlanded in laurel, symbolizing a peace that is won by military victory. The 1st-century statue of Mars found in the Forum of Nerva (pictured at top) is similar. In this guise, Mars is presented as the dignified ancestor of the Roman people. The panel of the ''Ara Pacis'' on which he appears would have faced the Campus Martius, reminding viewers that Mars was the god whose altar Numa established there, that is, the god of Rome's oldest civic and military institutions. Particularly in works of art influenced by ancient Greek art, the Greek tradition, Mars may be portrayed in a manner that resembles Ares, youthful, beardless, and often nude. In the Renaissance, Mars's nudity was thought to represent his lack of fear in facing danger.


The spear of Mars

The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune (mythology), Neptune the trident, and Saturn (mythology), Saturn the scythe or sickle. A Relics in classical antiquity, relic or fetishism, fetish called the spear of Mars was kept in a ''sacellum, sacrarium'' at the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome. The spear was said to move, tremble or vibrate at impending war or other danger to the state, as was reported to occur before the assassination of Julius Caesar. When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.


Priesthoods

The high priest of Mars in Roman public religion was the Flamen Martialis, who was one of the three major priests in the fifteen-member collegium, college of flamens. Mars was also served by the Salii, a twelve-member priesthood of patrician youths who dressed as archaic warriors and danced in procession around the city in March. Both priesthoods extend to the earliest periods of Roman history, and patrician (ancient Rome), patrician birth was required.


Festivals and rituals

The festivals of Mars cluster in his namesake month of March (Latin: ''Martius (month), Martius''), with a few observances in October, the beginning and end of the season for military campaigning and agriculture. Festivals with horse racing took place in the Campus Martius. Some festivals in March retained characteristics of new year festivals, since ''Martius'' was originally the first month of the Roman calendar. * February 27: Equirria, involving chariot racing, chariot or horse races; * March 1: Mars's ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#dies natalis, dies natalis'' ("birthday"), a ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#feria, feria'' also sacred to #Birth, his mother Juno; * March 14: a second Equirria, again with chariot races; * March 14 or 15: Mamuralia, a new year festival when a figure called Mamurius Veturius (perhaps the "old Mars" of the old year) is driven out; * March 17: an Agonalia#Agonium Martiale, Agonalia or ''Agonium Martiale'', an obscure type of observance held at other times for various deities; * March 23: Tubilustrium, a purification of the deploying army March 23; * October 15: the ritual of the October Horse, with a chariot race and Rome's only known horse sacrifice; * October 19: Armilustrium ("purification of arms"). Mars was also honored by chariot races at the Robigalia and Consualia, though these festivals are not primarily dedicated to him. From 217 BCE onward, Mars was among the gods honored at the lectisternium, a banquet given for deities who were present as images. Roman hymns ''(Glossary of ancient Roman religion#carmen, carmina)'' are rarely preserved, but Mars is invoked in two. The Arval Brothers, or "Brothers of the Fields," chanted a hymn to Mars while performing their three-step dance. The ''Carmen Saliare'' was sung by Mars's priests the Salii while they moved twelve sacred shields ''(ancilia)'' throughout the city in a procession. In the 1st century AD, Quintilian remarks that the language of the Salian hymn was so archaic that it was no longer fully understood.


Name and cult epithets

Mars gave his name to the third month in the Roman calendar, ''Martius (month), Martius'', from which English "March" derives. In the most ancient Roman calendar, ''Martius'' was the first month. The planet Mars was named for him, and in some allegorical and philosophical writings, the planet and the god are endowed with shared characteristics. In many languages, Tuesday is Week-day names#Planetary, named for the planet Mars or the god of war: In Latin, ''martis dies'' ("Mars's Day"), survived in Romance languages as ''marte'' (History of Portuguese, Portuguese), ''martes'' (History of Spanish, Spanish), ''mardi'' (History of French, French), ''martedi'' (History of Italian, Italian), ''marți'' (History of Romanian, Romanian), and ''dimarts'' (History of Catalan, Catalan). In Irish (Gaelic), the day is ''An Mháirt'', while in Albanian language, Albanian it is ''e Marta''. The English word ''Tuesday'' derives from Old English "Tiwesdæg" and means "Tiw's Day", ''Tiw'' being the Old English form of the Proto-Germanic war god *Tîwaz, or Týr in Norse.


In Roman religion

In Religion in ancient Rome, Classical Roman religion, Mars was invoked under several titles, and the first Roman emperor Augustus thoroughly integrated Mars into Imperial cult (ancient Rome), Imperial cult. The 4th-century Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus treats Mars as one of several classical Roman deities who remained "cultic realities" up to his own time. Mars, and specifically Mars Ultor, was among the gods who received sacrifices from Julian (emperor), Julian, the only emperor to reject Christianity after the conversion of Constantine I. In 363 AD, in preparation for the Battle of Ctesiphon (363), Siege of Ctesiphon, Julian sacrificed ten "very fine" bulls to Mars Ultor. The tenth bull violated ritual protocol by attempting to break free, and when killed and Glossary of ancient Roman religion#litatio, examined, produced Exta, ill omens, among the many that were read at the end of Julian's reign. As represented by Ammianus, Julian swore never to make sacrifice to Mars again—a vow kept with his death a month later.


Mars Gradivus

Gradivus was one of the gods by whom a general or soldiers might swear an oath to be valorous in battle. His temple outside the Porta Capena was where armies gathered. The archaic priesthood of Mars Gradivus was the ''Salii'', the "leaping priests" who danced ritually in armor as a prelude to war. His cult title is most often taken to mean "the Strider" or "the Marching God," from ''gradus'', "step, march." The poet Statius addresses him as "the most implacable of the gods," but Valerius Maximus concludes his Roman historiography, history by invoking Mars Gradivus as "author and support of the name 'Roman'": Gradivus is asked – along with Capitoline Jupiter and Vesta (mythology), Vesta, as the keeper of Rome's perpetual flame – to "guard, preserve, and protect" the state of Rome, the peace, and the ''princeps'' (the emperor Tiberius at the time). A source from Late Antiquity says that the wife of Gradivus was Mars (mythology)#Consort, Nereia, the daughter of Nereus, and that he loved her passionately.


Mars Quirinus

Mars Quirinus was the protector of the Quirites ("citizens" or "civilians") as divided into ''curiae'' (citizen assemblies), whose oaths were required to make a treaty. As a guarantor of treaties, Mars Quirinus is thus a god of peace: "When he rampages, Mars is called ''Gradivus'', but when he's at peace ''Quirinus''." The deified Romulus and Remus, Romulus was identified with Mars Quirinus. In the Capitoline Triad of
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
, Mars, and Quirinus, however, Mars and Quirinus were two separate deities, though not perhaps in origin. Each of the three had his own flamen (specialized priest), but the functions of the Flamen Martialis and Flamen Quirinalis are hard to distinguish.


Mars Grabovius

Mars is invoked as ''Grabovius'' in the Iguvine Tablets, bronze tablets written in Umbrian language, Umbrian that record ritual protocols for carrying out public ceremonies on behalf of the city and community of Gubbio, Iguvium. The same title is given to Jupiter and to the Umbrian deity Vofionus. This triad has been compared to the Archaic Triad, with Vofionus equivalent to Quirinus. Tables I and VI describe a complex ritual that took place at the three gates of the city. After the Glossary of ancient Roman religion#auspicia, auspices were taken, two groups of three Glossary of ancient Roman religion#victima, victims were sacrificed at each gate. Mars Grabovius received three oxen.


Mars Pater

"Father Mars" or "Mars the Father" is the form in which the god is invoked in the agricultural prayer of Cato, and he appears with this title in several other literary texts and inscriptions. ''Mars Pater'' is among the several gods invoked in the ritual of ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#devotio, devotio'', by means of which a general sacrificed himself and the lives of the enemy to secure a Roman victory. Father Mars is the regular recipient of the ''suovetaurilia'', the sacrifice of a pig ''(sus)'', ram ''(ovis)'' and bull ''(taurus)'', or often a bull alone. To ''Mars Pater'' other epithets were sometimes appended, such as ''Mars Pater Victor'' ("Father Mars the Victorious"), to whom the Roman army sacrificed a bull on March 1. Although ''pater'' and ''mater'' were fairly common as honorifics for a deity, any special claim for Mars as father of the Roman people lies in the mythic genealogy that makes him the divine father of
Romulus and Remus 350px, Altar to Mars (divine father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus (their divine ancestress) depicting elements of their legend. Tiberinus, the Father of the Tiber and the infant twins being suckled by a she-wolf in the Ostia, now at the Na ...

Romulus and Remus
.


Mars Silvanus

In the section of his farming book that offers recipes and medical preparations, Cato describes a ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#votum, votum'' to promote the health of cattle:
Make an offering to Mars Silvanus in the forest ''(in silva)'' during the daytime for each head of cattle: 3 pounds of meal, 4½ pounds of bacon, 4½ pounds of meat, and 3 pints of wine. You may place the wikt:viands, viands in one vessel, and the wine likewise in one vessel. Either a slave or a free man may make this offering. After the ceremony is over, consume the offering on the spot at once. A woman may not take part in this offering or see how it is performed. You may vow the vow every year if you wish.
That ''Mars Silvanus'' is a single entity has been doubted. Glossary of ancient Roman religion#invocatio, Invocations of deities are often list-like, asyndeton, without connecting words, and the phrase should perhaps be understood as "Mars and Silvanus". Women were explicitly excluded from some cult practices of Silvanus, but not necessarily of Mars. William Warde Fowler, however, thought that the wild Silvanus (mythology), god of the wood Silvanus may have been "an emanation or offshoot" of Mars.


Mars Ultor

Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
created the cult of "Mars the Avenger" to mark two occasions: his defeat of the Assassination of Julius Caesar, assassins of Caesar at Battle of Philippi, Philippi in 42 BCE, and the negotiated return of the Aquila (Roman), Roman battle standards that had been lost to the Parthian Empire, Parthians at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE. The god is depicted wearing a cuirass and helmet and standing in a "martial pose," leaning on a lance he holds in his right hand. He holds a shield in his left hand. The goddess Ultio, a divine personification of vengeance, had an altar and golden statue in his temple. The Temple of Mars Ultor, dedicated in 2 BCE in the center of the Forum of Augustus, gave the god a new place of honor. Some rituals previously conducted within the cult of Capitoline Jupiter were transferred to the new temple, which became the point of departure for Roman magistrate, magistrates as they left for military campaigns abroad. Augustus required the Roman senate, Senate to meet at the temple when deliberating questions of war and peace. The temple also became the site at which sacrifice was made to conclude the Sexuality in ancient Rome#Rites of passage, rite of passage of young men assuming the ''toga virilis'' ("man's toga") around age 14. On various Imperial cult (ancient Rome), Imperial holidays, Mars Ultor was the first god to receive a sacrifice, followed by the Genius (mythology), Genius of the emperor. An epigraphy, inscription from the 2nd century records a Glossary of ancient Roman religion#votum, vow to offer Mars Ultor a bull with gilded horns.


Mars Augustus

''Augustus'' or ''Augusta'' was appended far and wide, "on monuments great and small," to the name of gods or goddesses, including Mars. The honorific marks the affiliation of a deity with Imperial cult (ancient Rome), Imperial cult. In Hispania, many of the statues and dedications to Mars Augustus were presented by members of the priesthood or Sodales, sodality called the ''Sodales Augustales''. These vows ''(Glossary of ancient Roman religion#votum, vota)'' were usually fulfilled within a sanctuary of Imperial cult, or in a temple or precinct (''templum'') consecrated specifically to Mars. As with other deities invoked as ''Augustus'', altars to Mars Augustus might be set up to further the well-being (''salus'') of the emperor, but some inscriptions suggest personal devotion. An inscription in the Alps records the gratitude of a Slavery in ancient Rome, slave who dedicated a statue to Mars Augustus as ''conservator corporis sui'', the preserver of his own body, said to have been vowed ''ex iussu numinis ipsius'', "by the order of the ''numen'' himself". ''Mars Augustus'' appears in inscriptions at sites throughout the Empire, such as Hispania Baetica, Sagunto, Saguntum, and Emerita Augusta, Emerita (Lusitania) in Roman Spain; Leptis Magna (with a date of 6–7 AD) in present-day Libya; and Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, Sarmizegetusa in the Roman Dacia, province of Dacia.


Provincial epithets

In addition to his cult titles at Rome, Mars appears in a large number of epigraphy, inscriptions in the Roman province, provinces of the Roman Empire, and more rarely in literary texts, interpretatio romana, identified with a local deity by means of an epithet. Mars appears with great frequency in Gaul among the Continental Celts, as well as in Hispania, Roman Spain and Roman Britain, Britain. In Celtic settings, he is often invoked as a healer. The inscriptions indicate that Mars's ability to dispel the enemy on the battlefield was transferred to the sick person's struggle against illness; healing is expressed in terms of warding off and rescue.


Celtic Mars

Mars is identified with a number of Celtic deities, some of whom are not attested independently. *Mars Alator is attested in Roman Britain by an inscription found on an altar at South Shields, and a silver-gilt votive plaque that was part of the Barkway hoard from Hertfordshire. ''Alator'' has been interpreted variously as "Huntsman" or "Cherisher".Ross, Anne (1967). ''Pagan Celtic Britain''. Routledge & Kegan Paul. . *Mars appears in an inscription from modern-day Sablet, in the province of Gallia Narbonensis. ''Albiorix'' probably means "King of the Land" or "King of the World", with the first element related to the geographical name Albion and Middle Welsh ''elfydd,'' "world, land". *Mars Barrex is attested by a single dedicatory inscription found at Carlisle, Cumbria, Carlisle, England. ''Barrex'' or ''Barrecis'' probably means "Supreme One" (Gaulish language, Gaulish ''barro-'', "head"). *Mars Belatucadrus is named in five inscriptions in the area of Hadrian's Wall. The Celtic god Belatucadros, with various spellings, is attested independently in twenty additional inscriptions in northern England. *Mars Braciaca appears in a single votive inscription at Bakewell, Derbyshire. The Celtic epithet may refer to malt or beer, though intoxication in Greco-Roman religion is associated with Dionysus. A reference in Pliny suggests a connection to Mars's agricultural function, with the Gaulish word ''bracis'' referring to a type of wheat; a medieval Latin gloss (annotation), gloss says it was used to make beer. *Mars Camulus is found in five inscriptions scattered over a fairly wide geographical area. The Celtic god Camulus appears independently in one votive inscription from Rome. *Mars Cocidius is found in five inscriptions from northern England. About twenty dedications in all are known for the Celtic god Cocidius, mainly made by Roman military personnel, and confined to northwest Cumbria and along Hadrian's Wall. He is once identified with Silvanus. He is depicted on two votive plaques as a warrior bearing shield and spear, and on an altar as a huntsman accompanied by a dog and stag. *Mars Condatis occurs in three inscriptions from Roman Britain. The cult title is probably related to the place name Condate, often used in Gaul for settlements at the confluence of rivers. The Celtic god Condatis is thought to have functions pertaining to water and healing. *Mars Corotiacus is an equestrian Mars attested only on a votive from Martlesham in Suffolk. A bronze statuette depicts him as a cavalryman, armed and riding a horse which tramples a prostrate enemy beneath its hooves.Miranda J. Green. "Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend" (p. 142.) Thames and Hudson Ltd. 1997 *Mars Lenus, or more often Lenus Mars, had a major healing cult at the capital of the Treveri (present-day Trier). Among the votives are images of children offering doves. His consort Ancamna is also found with the Celtic god Smertrios. *Mars Loucetius. The Celtic god ''Loucetios'', Latinized as ''-ius'', appears in nine inscriptions in present-day Germany and France and one in Britain, and in three as ''Leucetius''. The Gaulish language, Gaulish and Brittonic languages, Brythonic wikt:theonym, theonyms likely derive from Proto-Celtic language, Proto-Celtic ''*louk(k)et-'', "bright, shining, flashing," hence also "lightning," alluding to either a Celtic commonplace metaphor between battles and thunderstorms (Old Irish ''torannchless'', the "thunder feat"), or the aura of a divinized hero (the ''lúan'' of Cú Chulainn). The name is given as an epithet of Mars. The consort of Mars Loucetius is Nemetona, whose name may be understood as pertaining either to "sacred privilege" or to the sacred grove ''(nemeton)'', and who is also identified with the goddess Victoria (mythology), Victoria. At the Roman Britain, Romano-British site in Bath, Somerset, Bath, a dedication to Mars Loucetius as part of this divine couple was made by a pilgrim who had come from the continental Treveri of Gallia Belgica to seek healing. * Mars Medocius Campesium appears on a bronze plaque at a Romano-Celtic temple at Camulodunum (modern Colchester; see Mars Camulus above). The dedication was made between 222 and 235 CE by a self-identified Caledonian, jointly honoring Mars and the ''Victoria'' (Victory) of Severus Alexander. A Celto-Latin name ''Medocius'' or ''Medocus'' is known, and a link between Mars's epithet and the Irish legendary surgeon Miach, Miodhach has been conjectured. ''Campesium'' may be an error for ''Campestrium'', "of the Campestres", the divinities who oversaw the parade ground, or "of the Compeses" may refer to a local place name or ethnonym. *Mars Mullo is invoked in two Armorican inscriptions pertaining to Imperial cult (ancient Rome), Imperial cult. The name of the Celtic god Mullo (god), Mullo, which appears in a few additional inscriptions, has been analyzed variously as "mule" and "hill, heap". *Mars Neton or Neto (deity), Neto was a Celtiberian god at Acci (modern Guadix). According to Macrobius, he wore a radiant crown like a sun god, because the passion to act with valor was a kind of heat. He may be connected to Irish Neit. *Mars Nodens has a possible connection to the Irish mythological figure Nuada Airgetlám. The Celtic god Nodens was also interpreted as equivalent to several other Roman gods, including Mercury (mythology), Mercury and Neptune. The name may have meant "catcher", hence a fisher or hunter. *Mars Ocelus had an altar dedicated by a junior army officer at Caerwent, and possibly a temple. He may be a local counterpart to Lenus. *Mars Olloudius was depicted in a relief from Roman Britain without armor, in the guise of a ''Genius (mythology), Genius'' carrying a double cornucopia and holding a libation bowl ''(patera)''. Olloudius is found also at Ollioules in southern Gaul. *Mars Rigisamus is found in two inscriptions, the earliest most likely the one at Avaricum (present-day Bourges, France) in the territory of the Bituriges Cubi, Bituriges. At the site of a Roman villa, villa at West Coker, Somerset, he received a bronze plaque ''votum''. The Gaulish element ''rig-'' (very common at the end of names as ''-rix''), found in later Celtic languages as ''rí'', is cognate with Latin ''rex'', "king" or more precisely "ruler". ''Rigisamus'' or ''Rigisamos'' is "supreme ruler" or "king of kings". *Mars Rigonemetis ("King of the Sacred Grove"). A dedication to Rigonemetis and the numen (spirit) of the Emperor inscribed on a stone was discovered at Nettleham (Lincolnshire) in 1961. Rigonemetis is only known from this site, and it seems he may have been a god belonging to the tribe of the Corieltauvi. *Mars Segomo. "Mars the Victorious" appears among the Celtic Sequani. * Mars Smertrius. At a site within the territory of the Treveri, Ancamna was the consort of Mars Smertrius. *Mars Teutates. A fusion of Mars with the Celtic god Teutates (Toutatis). *Mars Thincsus. A form of Mars invoked at Housesteads Roman Fort at Hadrian's Wall, where his name is linked with two goddesses called the Alaisiagae. Anne Ross associated Thincsus with a sculpture, also from the fort, which shows a god flanked by goddesses and accompanied by a goose – a frequent companion of war gods. *Mars Visucius. A fusion of Mars with the Celtic god Visucius. *Mars Vorocius. A Celtic healer-god invoked at the curative spring shrine at Vichy (Allier) as a curer of eye afflictions. On images, the god is depicted as a Celtic warrior.


"Mars Balearicus"

"Mars Balearicus" is a name used in modern scholarship for small bronze warrior figures from Majorca (one of the Balearic Islands) that are interpreted as representing the local Mars cult. These statuettes have been found within Talaiot, talayotic sanctuaries with extensive evidence of burnt offerings. "Mars" is fashioned as a lean, athletic nude lifting a lance and wearing a helmet, often conical; the genitals are perhaps semi-erect in some examples. Other bronzes at the sites represent the heads or horns of bulls, but the bones in the ash layers indicate that sheep, goats, and pigs were the sacrificial victims. Bronze horse-hooves were found in one sanctuary. Another site held an imported statue of Imhotep, the legendary Ancient Egyptian medicine, Egyptian physician. These sacred precincts were still in active use when the Roman occupation began in 123 BCE. They seem to have been astronomically oriented toward the rising or setting of the constellation Centaurus.Jaume García Rosselló, Joan Fornés Bisquerra, and Michael Hoskin, "Orientations of the Talayotic Sanctuaries of Mallorca," ''Journal of History of Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy Supplement'' 31 (2000), pp. 58–64 (especially note 10
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See also

* Cariocecus, an Iberian war god syncretised with Mars * Mars, the planet * Nergal, the Babylonian god associated with the planet Mars in astral theology * Planets in astrology#Mars * Týr, the Norse god of war


References


External links

*
c. 700 images of Mars
at the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database {{DEFAULTSORT:Mars (Mythology) Mars (mythology), Deities in the Aeneid Roman gods War gods Mythological rapists Tutelary deities Agricultural gods Animal gods She-wolf (Roman mythology) Martian deities Metamorphoses characters Umbri