Roman Gods and Goddesses: Mars Facts

Here are some facts about Mars.

  • Mars was the Roman God of War and the most important Roman god after Jupiter.
  • The planet Mars, known as the Red Planet, was named after him.
  • He was also one of the most important military gods worshiped by the Roman army.
  • Most festivals honouring Mars were held in March, and the month was named for him.
  • Mars was one of the first gods to appear on Roman coins, in the late 4th century. He is usually shown carrying a helmet and spear to show his war-like nature.
  • The symbol for Mars is a circle with an arrow extending from it, pointing to the upper right. It is also the symbol for the male gender and for the planet Mars.
  • Mars was the son of the goddess Juno, the protector of the state.
  • The wife or companion of Mars was Nerine or Nerio who represented majesty, vitality and power.
  • The priests of the god Mars were called Salil and came from Rome’s noble families. The 12 Salil carried sacred shields between towns, accompanied by men playing trumpets.
  • A fierce goddess named Bellona was said to often accompany Mars, armed with a spear and a whip. A temple was built to her on Rome’s Campus Martius, a popular city meeting place.
  • There were several temples devoted to Mars throughout Rome. The main temple was built in 388 BC and was a popular meeting point for Roman soldiers who were departing throughout the Roman Empire.
  • The Romans held several festivals to honour the god Mars, most of them in March and October. Festivals featured singing hymns, displays of military might, and chariot races.
  • The goose, the woodpecker and the wolf were closely associated with Mars. The appearance of wolves in 295 BC at the battle of Sentium was taken as a sign of a Roman victory.

What next? Learn more about the Romans or discover more facts about Roman Gods and Goddesses.

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