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You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth. Ovid tells this story in the Fasti , his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year.

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. The consort of Mars was Nerio or Neriene, "Valor. Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars' power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity.

The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as "marriages. 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 and Aphrodite had been exposed to ridicule when her husband Hephaestus whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan caught them in the act by means of a magical snare.

Although not originally part of the Roman tradition, in BC Venus and Mars were presented as a complementary pair in the lectisternium , a public banquet at which images of 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, [21] 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. Virility as a kind of life force vis or virtue virtus is an essential characteristic of Mars.

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The priesthood of the Arval Brothers called on Mars to drive off "rust" lues , with its double meaning of wheat fungus and the red oxides that affect metal, a threat to both iron farm implements and weaponry. In the surviving text of their hymn , the Arval Brothers invoked Mars as ferus , "savage" or "feral" like a wild animal. Mars' 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 propitiated. It appears that Mars was originally a thunderer or storm deity, which explains some of his mixed traits in regards to fertility.

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.


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  • The woodpecker was revered by the Latin peoples , who abstained from eating its flesh. Mars' association with the wolf is familiar from what may be the most famous of Roman myths , the story of how a she-wolf lupa suckled his infant sons when they were exposed by order of King Amulius , who feared them because he had usurped the throne from their grandfather, Numitor. 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.

    In Roman Gaul , the goose was associated with the 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. Ancient Greek and Roman religion distinguished between animals that were sacred to a deity and those that were prescribed as the correct sacrificial offerings for the god.

    follow link 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 theirs to give. The two most distinctive animal sacrifices made to Mars were the suovetaurilia , a triple offering of a pig sus , ram ovis and bull taurus , [52] 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.

    The Romans thought that this altar had been established by the semi-legendary Numa Pompilius , the peace-loving successor of Romulus.

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    No temple was built at the altar, but from BC 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 purified with a suovetaurilia there. The main Temple of Mars Aedes Martis in the Republican period also lay outside the sacred boundary [ where? 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 Imperial period , but under the first emperor Augustus it underwent a major program of urban renewal, marked by monumental architecture. With its public gardens, the Campus became one of the most attractive places in the city to visit. Augustus chose the Campus Martius as the site of his new Temple to Mars Ultor [ clarification needed ] , a manifestation of Mars he cultivated as the avenger ultor of the 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 , the sign of war. A large statue of Mars was part of the short-lived Arch of Nero , which was built in 62 AD but dismantled after Nero 's suicide and disgrace damnatio memoriae. In Roman art , Mars is depicted as either bearded and mature, or young and clean-shaven. Even nude or seminude, he often wears a helmet or carries a spear as emblems of his warrior nature.

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    Mars was among the deities to appear on the earliest Roman coinage in the late 4th and early 3rd century BC. On the Altar of Peace Ara Pacis , built in the last years of the 1st century BC, Mars is a mature man with a "handsome, classicizing " face, and a short curly beard and moustache.

    His helmet is a plumed neo-Attic - type. He wears a military cloak paludamentum and a cuirass ornamented with a gorgoneion. Although the relief is somewhat damaged at this spot, he appears to hold a spear 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.