Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian.

Residence: Rome
Symbols: Spear and shield
Parents: Jupiter and Juno
Siblings: Apollo, Bacchus, Bellona, Diana, Hercules, Minerva, Vulcan
Consort: Nerio, Venus, Rhea Silvia, Bellona
Children: Romulus and Remus
Greek equivalent: Ares
Festivals: Agonalia, Armilustrium, Equirria, Equus Octobris, Mamuralia, Tubilustrium

0 Statue de Mars (Pyrrhus) - Musei Capitolini - MC0058 (2).JPG
The Statue of Mars from the Forum of Nerva, 2nd c. AD, Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy. (c) Jean-Paul Grandmont

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 (Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming respectively.

A nude statue of Mars in a garden setting, as depicted on a fresco from Pompeii. (c) Kleuske

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. 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.

Roman fresco of Mars and Venus from the House of Mars and Venus, Pompeii.

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.

Bronze statuette of Mars Balearicus. (c) Olaf Tausch
Roman fresco of Venus being seduced by Mars, Pompeii. (c) Sailko
A bronze Mars from Gaul.

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