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Myths about the Roman God Mars

Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

Myths about the Roman God Mars
Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno. He was held in high veneration among the Romans, both on account of his being the father of Romulus, their founder, and because of their own genius, which always inclined them to war. Numa, though otherwise a pacific prince, having, during a great pestilence, implored the favor of the gods, received a small brass buckler, called ancile from heaven, which the nymph Egeria advised him to keep with the utmost care, as the fate of the people and empire depended upon it.

To secure so valuable a pledge, Numa caused eleven others of the same form to be made, and entrusted the preservation of these to an order of priests, which he constituted for the purpose, called Salii, or priests of Mars, in whose temple the twelve ancilia were deposited.

The fiercest and most ravenous creatures were consecrated to Mars: the horse, for his vigor; the wolf, for his rapacity and quickness of sight; the dog, for his vigilance; and he delighted in the cock and the vulture. He was the reputed enemy of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and arts, because in time of war they are trampled on, without respect, as well as learning and justice.

Ancient monuments represent this deity as of unusual stature, armed with a helmet, shield, and spear, sometimes naked, sometimes in a military habit; sometimes with a beard, and sometimes without. He is often described riding in a chariot, drawn by furious horses, completely armed, and extending his spear with one hand, while, with the other, he grasps a sword imbued with blood. Sometimes Bellona, the goddess of war, (whether she be his sister, wife or daughter, is uncertain,) is represented as driving his chariot, and inciting the horses with a bloody whip. Sometimes Discord is exhibited as preceding his chariot, while Clamor, Fear, Terror, with Fame, full of eyes, ears, and tongues, appear in his train.

Mars the God of War
Roman Colosseum
Roman Gods

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