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Mars, old Roman deity, in importance second only come Jupiter. Small is well-known of his initial character, and also that character (chiefly indigenous the cult at Rome) is variously interpreted. The is clear the by historical times he had arisen into a god the war; in Roman literature he was protector the Rome, a nation proud in war.


Mars’s festivals at Rome developed in the spring and the fall—the beginning and also the end of both the farming and the armed forces seasons. The month the March, i m sorry was named after him, was especially filled v festivals completely or partly in his honour; the members that the ancient priesthood of the Salii, that were an especially associated v Jupiter, Mars, and also Quirinus, come out numerous times during the month come dance their ceremonial war dance in old-fashioned armour and chant a hymn come the gods. October to be also vital month because that Mars. In ~ the festival that the October equine on October 15, a two-horse chariot race was hosted in the Campus Martius, and also on October 19 the Armilustrium marked the purification the the arms of war and also their storage because that the winter. The god was invoked in the ancient hymn that the Arval Brothers, whose spiritual duties had actually as your object to store off enemies of every kinds from crops and also herds.

Until the time of Augustus, Mars had only two holy places at Rome: one remained in the Campus Martius, the working out ground the the army; the various other was outside the Porta Capena. Within the city there to be a sacrarium (“shrine,” or “sanctuary”) that Mars in the regia, originally the king’s house, in which the spiritual spears the Mars to be kept; top top the outbreak of war the consul had to shiver the spears saying, “Mars vigila” (“Mars, wake up up!”).

Under Augustus the prayer of Mars in ~ Rome got a new impetus; not only was he classic guardian that the army affairs the the roman inn state but, together Mars Ultor (“Mars the Avenger”), he became the an individual guardian the the emperor in his role as avenger of Caesar. His worship at time rivaled that of Capitoline Jupiter, and about ad 250 Mars ended up being the most prominent of the di militares (“military gods”) worshiped through the roman inn legions. In literature and also art that is hardly differentiated from the Greek Ares.

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There are several Roman myths around Mars. In one, Hera bore him, without Zeus, in ~ the touch of a magic herb provided her by Flora. In another, he to be the father of Romulus and Remus by Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin. Ovid, in Fasti, speak of Mars’s effort to seduce Minerva. In the just purely roman myth, that is tricked right into marrying the aged Anna Perenna.