17 Mars, God Of War Facts: Roman Mythology Revealed For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Jan 29, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Jan 26, 2022
Edited by Lara Simpson
a father to Romulus and Remus

The Roman God, Mars, was a father to Romulus and Remus.

Mars is usually illustrated as a mature man or youthful man in Roman mythology. He may also be fully armored, with a spear, shield, chest plating, and plumed helmet.

Mars was both a god of war and an agricultural guardian in ancient Roman mythology and religion. The term Mars also appears in poetic usage and Old Latin as 'Mavortis' or 'Mavors,' similar to 'Mamers' in the Oscan language.

This noted military God in the army of Roman religion was born to Juno and Jupiter. The month of March was named after Mars, in which most of his festivals were held. These festivals were also held in October that ended the farming season and began the military campaigning season.

The God, Mars, is the equivalent to Ares, the Greek God. However, the dignity and character of the Roman God, Mars, is fundamentally different compared to the Greek God, Ares, who is usually treated with dislike and contempt in Greek literature.

The altar belonging to Mars, found in Campus Martius, a region in Rome named after him, was assumed to have been dedicated by the second Roman King, Numa. Mars' worship center was first found outside Rome's sacred boundary.

However, Augustus established the Mars Ultor Temple in his new forum, which focused on the Roman God of War, Mars in Roman religion.

Other Names Of Mars, God Of War

Other names of Mars of the Roman Mythology are Mavorte and Mavors. Mars, the Roman God, gave his name to the Roman calendar's third month, Martius. However, planet Mars is named after this Roman God, as per a few philosophical and allegorical writings. The God and the planet Mars are equipped with similar characteristics.

The name Mars, although elusive, was adapted from a few Italian deities. Mavors was a proto-Italic deity, and very little is known about this deity. Meris was another Etruscan deity who was usually shown as a newborn.

Mars had many names that represented his several personas. The deity celebrated for being on the battlefield was named 'Marching Mars' or 'Mars gradivus.' All soldiers and generals in war vowed to Mars gradivus and promised to fight fiercely.

As the 'Mars of the Quirites' or 'Mars Quirinus,' he was a celebrated defender of humans and bringer of peace with war. He was given the title of 'Mars the Father the Victorious' and 'Mars The Father', or Mars pater Victor and Mars pater, which was a high position among the Roman people and Roman religion.

He was also named 'Mars the Avenger' of Mars Ultor.

  • Mars was also referred to as 'Mars who was awesome' or 'Mars Augustus.' Roman emperors later used this for describing their great omnipotence.
  • Tuesday is named for the God of War or planet Mars in several languages.
  • Across provinces of the Roman Empire, Mars was included in many inscriptions and rarely in written texts.
  • Mars is usually invoked as a healer in Celtic settings. Also, Mars is associated with several Celtic deities.
  • Mars Augustus occurs in inscriptions across Empires like Saguntum, Hispania Baetica, and Emerita in Roman Spain.
  • Forum of Augustus holds the Temple of Mars Ultor, dedicated in the second century BCE, provided a place of honor for the God of War.
  • Father mars (Mars Pater) was the constant receiver of bull, ram, and pig sacrifice or sometimes bull sacrifice alone.
  • Mars was overthrown by his own sister, Minerva, as she had concentrated on different features of war compared to Mars.
  • Mars motivated soldiers towards bloodlust and courage in a battle, while Minerva encouraged the use of strategic and tactical thought needed against powerful forces like Epirus, Carthage, and Macedonia.

Symbol Of Mars, God Of War

The parents of the Roman God of War, Mars, Juno, and Jupiter, were the queen and king of the Roman Pantheon. Juno was a Roman champion and Goddess of family, women, home, and marriage.

Jupiter was the patron deity of Rome, lord of skies, and King of the Roman gods. Roman God of War, Mars' siblings were the Goddess of youth, Juventus; the God of forge and metalworking, Vulcan; and a goddess of war, Belona.

Ancient Romans not only illustrated Mars, God of War, as a mature man but also a clean-shaven young man in Roman art. He was portrayed on Roman coinage among other deities during the fourth and third century BCE.

Mars is displayed as a mature man with a curly mustache and beard and classicizing face on Ara Pacis or the Altar of Peace built in the late first century BCE.

He is often portrayed with paludamentum or military cape or cloak, helmet, and cuirass. He also seems to have a spear laurel wreath that symbolizes peace through military victory. The Forum of Nerva, where the Mars statue is located, is also identical. He is presented as an honorable ancestor of Romans.

  • The spear and the shield symbol are symbols for the male gender and the planet Mars.
  • The bear, wolf, and woodpecker were the most sacred wild animals to Mars, which inhabited the same woodlands and foothills as per Roman folklore.
  • As per Plutarch, the woodpecker or Picus was sacred to thGodGod as it is a spirited, courageous bird with such a strong beak that it could reach the innermost parts of a tree.
  • Picus Martius' beak had the strength to prevent harm, and it had magical charm to avert leech bites and bee stings.
  • The Latins also worshipped the woodpecker and stopped eating its meat.
  • The mythological woodpecker or Picus had the strength of augury, which he saved as he transformed into a woodpecker. It is also stated in a tradition that Mars was the father of Picus.
  • It is stated in the Roman myth that the she-wolf, or Lupa, nursed his twins when they were near the Tiber river. This is the association of Lupa and Mars. Also, Picus bought nourishment for the toddlers.
  • Other symbols depicted with Mars were a vulture, a burning torch, an owl, an eagle, and a dog.
  • The chariot that Mars, the Roman God, rode was drawn by horses breathing fire.
  • His horses were named Phobos, Konabos, Phlogios, and Aithon. Phobos translates to fear, Konabos to tumult, a loud, confusing noise, Phlogios to flame, and Aithon to red fire.
  • In honor of Mars, horse races were organized around February and March at the Campus Matius. It is said that Romulus started these races.
  • The goose or Roman Gaul was related to Mars' Celtic forms. Also, archaeologists discovered geese in graves with warriors. Goose was known to be a hostile animal as it is easily provoked.
Although Romans did base their myths about the Roman God, Mars, on the Greek God, Ares, the two gods are quite different.

Greek Equivalent Of Mars, God Of War

Roman God of War, Mars, was similar to the Greek God, Ares. This Greek God of War was the son of Hera and Zeus and is one of the 12 Olympians.

He is the Greek God of War and Courage. Greeks were conflicted with Ares. Although Ares personifies the physical courage needed to win a war, he can also symbolize bloodlust and brutality, contradicting the symbol of armored Athena, his sister, who had the responsibilities of generalship and military strategy.

His origin is Mycenaean, as per his name. However, some thought that his origin was likely Thracian deity due to his image of savagery.

Many Asia Minor and Greece cities held yearly festivals to detain and bind him as their savior. He was also an oracular deity in some parts of Asia Minor. It was said that Scythians ritually sacrificed one prisoner of war as an offering to the Greek God, who was similar to Ares.

Ares appeared for a limited amount in Greek mythology, and whenever he does appear, he is usually humiliated. In Peloponnese and mainland China, only a few regions have had a cult and temple of Ares. Compared to the Greek God, Ares, the Romans believed Mars was very important and had a dignified place in their religion.

  • Due to the materialistic culture of Sparta, Ares was highly revered by them.
  • On the eve of battle, the Spartan army sacrificed dogs to the Greek God, Ares, asking him to aid them in battle.
  • On Troezon, Crete, Therapne, Argos, Tegea, Athens, Megalopolis, Geronthrae, and Erythrae cult sites were established with temples.
  • Of all the cult sites, the Temple of Ares is the most famous, established in the northern part of Athen's Agora.
  • Ares' bird was a vulture, and his animal was a dog.
  • His daughters were warrior women called the Amazons, whose mother was Harmony, a peaceful nymph. With Aphrodite, he had a son named Dinlas. Cupid or Eros was also their son.
  • Ares was imprisoned for a lunar year by the twin giants, Ephialtes and Otus, who bound him with brass chains. Hermes later rescued Ares.
  • Eris, the Goddess of strife and discord, and the Goddess of youth, Hebe, were sisters of Ares.
  • It is believed that the destructive hands of Ares were active in the havoc caused by epidemics and plagues. Although Ares seems to appear in the Iliad with a fearful personification and impacts of war, his character is softened in the Odyssey.
  • Ares was usually depicted to be wearing a helmet and spear in art. Enyo and Enyaliu deities were also associated with the Greek God, Ares.

Significance Of Mars, God Of War, In Mythology

Mars, the Roman God of War, was one of the most significant Roman gods and so was revered by the Roman army. He was an important figure in the Roman pantheon.

In Rome, religion was the primary factor for Romans making sense of bad and good things in their lives. Romans believed that if bad things like battle loss or natural disasters occurred, then it meant that their gods and goddesses were not happy.

Romans then participated in sacrificial acts to keep Roman gods and goddesses happy. They also built temples and held festivals in the name of Roman gods and goddesses.

The twins born to Mars, Romulus and Remus, were the founders of Rome. It was believed that Mars aided Romans during war or conflict as he was the father of Romulus and Remus. Mars was also regarded as the second God in command after Jupiter in the early Roman state.

Before a battle, soldiers of the Roman Army prayed to Mars, believing he would fight on his side. They also believed that Mars was the decider of victory in any battle. They also believed that Mars aided soldiers to crush a rebellion and protect the Roman city from other invading armies.

  • During his early incarnations, Mars was the cattle protector and fertility god. His role gradually expanded to underworld and death and ended at war and battle as time went on.
  • Romulus and Remus were raised by a she-wolf. Romans referred to themselves as the sons of Mars.
  • The Roman soldiers studied and drilled at the Campus Matius, a training center to honor Mars.
  • The shield in the symbol of spear and shield was called Ancile. It was the most recognized and sacred symbol of Mars.
  • As per Legend, Ancile, the shield fell from heaven when Pompilius was the ruler. It is also said that it must remain in Rome for the city to stay safe.
  • To protect the shield, 11 copies were made, and priests were commissioned. During rituals, all 12 ancillae were used.
  • He was illustrated with bronze armor, and the spear that he carried usually was shown to have blood.
  • March is dedicated to Mars, with many festivals every year. Feriae Marti was held at the start of March's Kalends and would continue until March 24.
  • Salii were dancing priests who would perform detailed rituals in March with a sacred fast that would last for nine days.
  • The fast would break on March 25, and the celebration ended at the Hilaria celebration, where all priests would participate in the feast.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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