Mars (mythology)

Pater of the people, Guardian of soldiers and farmers, God of War, Destruction and Masculinity
0 Statue de Mars (Pyrrhus) - Musei Capitolini - MC0058 (2).JPG
The Statue of Mars from the Forum of Nerva, 2nd century AD, based on an Augustan-era original that in turn used a Hellenistic Greek model of the 4th century BC. Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy.[1]
SymbolThe spear of Mars ♂ (Spear and shield iconography)
Personal information
ConsortNerio and others like Rhea Silvia, Venus, Bellona
ChildrenRomulus and Remus
ParentsJupiter and Juno
SiblingsVulcan, Minerva, Hercules, Bellona, Apollo, Diana, Bacchus, etc.
Greek equivalentAres
Etruscan equivalentpossibly Maris

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars (Latin: Mārs, [maːrs]) was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome.[2] He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals 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 Ares,[3] whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art 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.[4] Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom, as a guardian of the Roman people, had no Greek equivalent. Mars' altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars' worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.[5]

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.[6] In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome's founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who "founded" Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces.

Mars may ultimately be a reflex of the Proto-Indo-European god Perkwunos, having originally a thunderer character.[7] At least etymological Etruscan predecessors are present in Maris,[8] though this is not universally agreed upon.[9]


Like Ares who was the son of Zeus and Hera,[10] Mars is usually considered to be the son of Jupiter and Juno. 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 on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a 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 shore of Marmara for the birth.[11]

Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar.[11] It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars' month, which is also marked on a 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.[12] Ovid is the only source for the story. He may be presenting a literary myth of his own invention, or an otherwise unknown 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.[13]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mars (mitologie)
Alemannisch: Mars
azərbaycanca: Mars (mifologiya)
বাংলা: মার্স
беларуская: Марс (міфалогія)
български: Марс (бог)
Boarisch: Mars (God)
བོད་ཡིག: མ་ཨེར་སི།
brezhoneg: Meurzh (doue)
čeština: Mars (mytologie)
dansk: Mars (gud)
eesti: Mars
Ελληνικά: Μαρς
Esperanto: Marso (dio)
galego: Marte (deus)
한국어: 마르스
हिन्दी: मार्स
Bahasa Indonesia: Mars (mitologi)
interlingua: Marte (deo)
íslenska: Mars (guð)
kernowek: Meurth (duw)
Latina: Mars (deus)
Limburgs: Mars (god)
Lingua Franca Nova: Marte (dio)
magyar: Mars (isten)
македонски: Марс (митологија)
मराठी: मार्स
Bahasa Melayu: Mars
Nederlands: Mars (mythologie)
日本語: マールス
norsk: Mars (gud)
norsk nynorsk: Guden Mars
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮਾਰਸ
português: Marte (mitologia)
Ripoarisch: Mars (Jott)
română: Marte (zeu)
Simple English: Mars (mythology)
slovenčina: Mars (boh)
slovenščina: Mars (mitologija)
српски / srpski: Марс (бог)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mars (mitologija)
ไทย: มาส์
Türkçe: Mars (mitoloji)
українська: Марс (міфологія)
Tiếng Việt: Mars (thần thoại)
West-Vlams: Mars (god)
吴语: 玛尔斯
粵語: 瑪斯
中文: 玛尔斯