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Mars

Mars in Roman mythology, the god of war and the most important Roman god after Jupiter. He was probably originally an agricultural god, and the month of March is named after him. His Greek equivalent is Ares. Legends of Mars include the story of his love for Venus, and the trap made for them by her husband Vulcan, and from early times this became a favourite subject for artists. The wolf and the woodpecker were regarded as sacred to Mars, and the field of Mars is another name for the Campus Martius of ancient Rome. The hill of Mars is the Areopagus (‘hill of Ares’) of ancient Athens.

Mars is the name given to a small reddish planet which is the fourth in order from the sun and is periodically visible to the naked eye. From its distinctive colour, which comes from its iron-rich minerals, it is known informally as the red planet. In astrological belief, the influence of the planet is associated with combative, aggressive, or masculine qualities.

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"Mars." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Mars (in Roman religion and mythology)

Mars, in Roman religion and mythology, god of war. In early Roman times he was a god of agriculture, but in later religion (when he was identified with the Greek Ares) he was primarily associated with war. Mars was the father of Romulus, the founder of the Roman nation, and, next to Jupiter, he enjoyed the highest position in Roman religion. The Salii, his priests, honored him by dancing in full armor in the Campus Martius, the site of his altar. Chariot races and the sacrifice of animals were primary features of the festivals held in his honor in March (named for him) and October. Mars was represented as an armed warrior. His attributes include the spear and shield, and the wolf and woodpecker were sacred to him. He was frequently associated with Bellona, the Roman goddess of war.

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"Mars (in Roman religion and mythology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mars-roman-religion-and-mythology

Mars

Mars

Mars was a major Roman deity, second only to Jupiter* in the Roman pantheon. He began as a protector of agriculture but later became the god of war, honored throughout the realm of the conquering Romans. The Romans admired Greek culture and absorbed Greek deities into their own. They came to identify their own war god, Mars, with the Greek war god, Ares, but Mars was a more dignified and popular figure.

According to legend, Juno, the queen of the gods, gave birth to Mars after being touched by a magic plant. He was originally associated with vegetation and fertility. As the Romans became increasingly warlike, Mars gradually developed into a god of war, but he never lost his connection with agriculture and the plant world entirely. The Romans honored him with festivals in his month, March, which occurs at a time of the year when new growth begins in the fields and military campaigns resume after a winter break.

Mars's high place of honor in the Roman pantheon comes in part from his role as an ancestor of Rome. According to the story of the founding of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus, twin boys born to a human priestess and raised by a wolf. Romulus later founded the city of Rome, and the Romans believed that Romulus's divine father would come to their aid in times of crisis or disaster. The wolf and the woodpecker, animals involved in the saving of the twins, were sacred to Mars. Picus, a Roman god who took the form of a woodpecker, was Mars's companion.

One story about Mars relates that the god's sacred shield had fallen from the sky in the time of the early Roman king Numa Pompilius. Believing that the shield was vital to the well-being of Rome, Numa had 11 identical shields made and hung all 12 of them in a shrine to confuse any thief who might try to steal Mars's shield. Numa also established an order of priests called the Salii to guard the shields. For many years, Roman priests continued to wear the old-fashioned armor and to perform ritual war dances during the March festivals of Mars.

deity god or goddess

pantheon all the gods of a particular culture

ritual ceremony that follows a set pattern

Soldiers throughout the empire offered sacrifices to Mars before and after battles. They also honored the goddess Bellona, who appeared as Mars's sister, wife, and daughter in various myths. The Campus Martius, a large field outside Rome where soldiers exercised, was sacred to Mars.

See also Ares; Roman Mythology; Romulus and Remus.

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Mars

Mars / märz/ 1. Roman Mythol. the god of war and the most important Roman god after Jupiter.The month of March is named after him. Greek equivalent Ares. 2. Astron. a small, reddish planet that is the fourth in order from the sun and is periodically visible to the naked eye.

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"Mars." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Mars

Mars Ancient Roman god of war, often depicted as an armed warrior; one of the three protector-deities of the city of Rome itself (with Jupiter and Quirinus). He was originally associated with agriculture but later took on his dominant military aspects; the wolf and woodpecker were sacred to him.

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