|Symbol||The spear of Mars ♂ (Spear and shield iconography)|
|Parents||Jupiter and Juno|
|Siblings||Vulcan, Minerva, Hercules, Bellona, Apollo, Diana, Bacchus, etc.|
|Consort||Nerio and others like Rhea Silvia, Venus, Bellona|
|Children||Romulus and Remus, Cupid|
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars (Latin : Mārs, pronounced [maːrs] ) was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was the son of 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 (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.
Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares,whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature. Mars' altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars' worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.
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.
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.
The word Mārs (genitive Mārtis),which in Old Latin and poetic usage also appears as Māvors (Māvortis), is cognate with Oscan Māmers (Māmertos). The oldest recorded Latin form, Mamart-, is likely of foreign origin. It has been explained as deriving from Maris, the name of an Etruscan child-god, though this is not universally agreed upon. Scholars have varying views on whether the two gods are related, and if so how. Latin adjectives from the name of Mars are martius and martialis, from which derive English "martial" (as in "martial arts" or "martial law") and personal names such as "Martin".
Mars may ultimately be a thematic reflex of the Proto-Indo-European god Perkwunos, having originally a thunderer character.
| Religion in|
|Practices and beliefs|
Like Ares who was the son of Zeus and Hera,Mars is usually considered to be the son of Jupiter and Juno. However, in a version of his birth given by Ovid, he was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother's function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same. Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno's belly, and impregnated her. 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.It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars' month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year. Ovid is the only source for the story. 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." She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars.Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, "manly virtue" (from vir, "man"). In the early 3rd century BCE, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Neriene were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Neriene came to be identified with Minerva.
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 217 BCE 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,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.[ citation needed ] The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino notes that "only Venus dominates Mars, and he never dominates her". In ancient Roman and Renaissance art, Mars is often shown disarmed and relaxed, or even sleeping, but the extramarital nature of their affair can also suggest that this peace is impermanent.
Virility as a kind of life force (vis) or virtue (virtus) is an essential characteristic of Mars.As an agricultural guardian, he directs his energies toward creating conditions that allow crops to grow, which may include warding off hostile forces of nature.
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.In his book on farming, Cato invokes Mars Silvanus for a ritual to be carried out in silva, in the woods, an uncultivated place that if not held within bounds can threaten to overtake the fields needed for crops. Mars' character as an agricultural god may derive solely from his role as a defender and protector, or may be inseparable from his warrior nature, as the leaping of his armed priests the Salii was meant to quicken the growth of crops.
It appears that Mars was originally a thunderer or storm deity, which explains some of his mixed traits in regards to fertility.This role was later taken in the Roman pantheon by several other gods, such as Summanus or Jupiter.
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."As the beak of the picus Martius contained the god's power to ward off harm, it was carried as a magic charm to prevent bee stings and leech bites. The bird of Mars also guarded a woodland herb (paeonia) used for treatment of the digestive or female reproductive systems; those who sought to harvest it were advised to do so by night, lest the woodpecker jab out their eyes. The picus Martius seems to have been a particular species, but authorities differ on which one: perhaps Picus viridis or Dryocopus martius .
The woodpecker was revered by the Latin peoples, who abstained from eating its flesh.It was one of the most important birds in Roman and Italic augury, the practice of reading the will of the gods through watching the sky for signs. The mythological figure named Picus had powers of augury that he retained when he was transformed into a woodpecker; in one tradition, Picus was the son of Mars. The Umbrian cognate peiqu also means "woodpecker," and the Italic Picenes were supposed to have derived their name from the picus who served as their guide animal during a ritual migration (ver sacrum) undertaken as a rite of Mars. In the territory of the Aequi, another Italic people, Mars had an oracle of great antiquity where the prophecies were supposed to be spoken by a woodpecker perched on a wooden column.
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 woodpecker also brought nourishment to the twins.
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.At the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BCE, the appearance of the wolf of Mars (Martius lupus) was a sign that Roman victory was to come.
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. 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. Since sacrificial meat was eaten at a banquet after the gods received their portion – mainly the entrails (exta) – it follows that the animals sacrificed were most often, though not always, domestic animals normally part of the Roman diet. Gods often received castrated male animals as sacrifices, and the goddesses female victims; Mars, however, regularly received intact males. Mars did receive oxen under a few of his cult titles, such as Mars Grabovius, but the usual offering was the bull, singly, in multiples, or in combination with other animals.[ citation needed ]
The two most distinctive animal sacrifices made to Mars were the suovetaurilia , a triple offering of a pig (sus), ram (ovis) and bull (taurus),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 earliest center in Rome for cultivating Mars as a deity was the Altar of Mars (Ara Martis) in the Campus Martius ("Field of Mars") outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium). The Romans thought that this altar had been established by the semi-legendary Numa Pompilius, the peace-loving successor of Romulus.According to Roman tradition, the Campus Martius had been consecrated to Mars by their ancestors to serve as horse pasturage and an equestrian training ground for youths. During the Roman Republic (509–27 BCE), the Campus was a largely open expanse. No temple was built at the altar, but from 193 BCE 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. A frieze from the so-called "Altar" of Domitius Ahenobarbus is thought to depict the census, and may show Mars himself standing by the altar as the procession of victims advances.
The main Temple of Mars (Aedes Martis) in the Republican period also lay outside the sacred boundary[ where? ] and was devoted to the god's warrior aspect. It was built to fulfill a vow (votum) made by a Titus Quinctius in 388 BCE during the Gallic siege of Rome. The founding day (dies natalis) was commemorated on June 1, and the temple is attested by several inscriptions and literary sources. The sculpture group of Mars and the wolves was displayed there. Soldiers sometimes assembled at the temple before heading off to war, and it was the point of departure for a major parade of Roman cavalry held annually on July 15.
A temple to Mars in the Circus Flaminius was built around 133 BCE, funded by Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus from war booty. 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. The Altar of Augustan Peace (Ara Pacis Augustae) was located there, as was the Obelisk of Montecitorio, imported from Egypt to form the pointer (gnomon) of the Solarium Augusti, a giant sundial. 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. The date continued to be marked with circus games as late as the mid-4th century AD.
A large statue of Mars was part of the short-lived Arch of Nero, which was built in 62 CE 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. Mars was among the deities to appear on the earliest Roman coinage in the late 4th and early 3rd century BCE.
On the Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis), built in the last years of the 1st century BCE, 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. In this guise, Mars is presented as the dignified ancestor of the Roman people. The panel of the Ara Pacis on which he appears would have faced the Campus Martius, reminding viewers that Mars was the god whose altar Numa established there, that is, the god of Rome's oldest civic and military institutions.
Particularly in works of art influenced by the Greek tradition, Mars may be portrayed in a manner that resembles Ares, youthful, beardless, and often nude.In the Renaissance, Mars' nudity was thought to represent his lack of fear in facing danger.
The spear is the instrument of Mars in the same way that Jupiter wields the lightning bolt, Neptune the trident, and Saturn the scythe or sickle.A relic or fetish called the spear of Mars was kept in a sacrarium at the Regia, the former residence of the Kings of Rome. The spear was said to move, tremble or vibrate at impending war or other danger to the state, as was reported to occur before the assassination of Julius Caesar. When Mars is pictured as a peace-bringer, his spear is wreathed with laurel or other vegetation, as on the Ara Pacis or a coin of Aemilianus.
The high priest of Mars in Roman public religion was the Flamen Martialis, who was one of the three major priests in the fifteen-member college of flamens. Mars was also served by the Salii, a twelve-member priesthood of patrician youths who dressed as archaic warriors and danced in procession around the city in March. Both priesthoods extend to the earliest periods of Roman history, and patrician birth was required.
The festivals of Mars cluster in his namesake month of March (Latin: Martius ), with a few observances in October, the beginning and end of the season for military campaigning and agriculture. Festivals with horse racing took place in the Campus Martius. Some festivals in March retained characteristics of new year festivals, since Martius was originally the first month of the Roman calendar.[ citation needed ]
Mars was also honored by chariot races at the Robigalia and Consualia, though these festivals are not primarily dedicated to him. From 217 BCE onward, Mars was among the gods honored at the lectisternium, a banquet given for deities who were present as images.[ citation needed ]
Roman hymns (carmina) are rarely preserved, but Mars is invoked in two. The Arval Brothers, or "Brothers of the Fields," chanted a hymn to Mars while performing their three-step dance.The Carmen Saliare was sung by Mars' priests the Salii while they moved twelve sacred shields (ancilia) throughout the city in a procession. In the 1st century AD, Quintilian remarks that the language of the Salian hymn was so archaic that it was no longer fully understood.
Mars gave his name to the third month in the Roman calendar, Martius , from which English "March" derives. In the most ancient Roman calendar, Martius was the first month. The planet Mars was named for him, and in some allegorical and philosophical writings, the planet and the god are endowed with shared characteristics.In many languages, Tuesday is named for the planet Mars or the god of war: In Latin, martis dies ("Mars's Day"), survived in Romance languages as martes (Spanish), mardi (French), martedi (Italian), marţi (Romanian), and dimarts (Catalan). In Irish (Gaelic), the day is An Mháirt, while in Albanian it is e Marta. The English word Tuesday derives from Old English "Tiwesdæg" and means "Tiw's Day", Tiw being the Old English form of the Proto-Germanic war god *Tîwaz, or Týr in Norse.
In Classical Roman religion, Mars was invoked under several titles, and the first Roman emperor Augustus thoroughly integrated Mars into Imperial cult. The 4th-century Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus treats Mars as one of several classical Roman deities who remained "cultic realities" up to his own time.Mars, and specifically Mars Ultor, was among the gods who received sacrifices from Julian, the only emperor to reject Christianity after the conversion of Constantine I. In 363 AD, in preparation for the Siege of Ctesiphon, Julian sacrificed ten "very fine" bulls to Mars Ultor. The tenth bull violated ritual protocol by attempting to break free, and when killed and examined, produced ill omens, among the many that were read at the end of Julian's reign. As represented by Ammianus, Julian swore never to make sacrifice to Mars again—a vow kept with his death a month later.
Gradivus was one of the gods by whom a general or soldiers might swear an oath to be valorous in battle.His temple outside the Porta Capena was where armies gathered. The archaic priesthood of Mars Gradivus was the Salii , the "leaping priests" who danced ritually in armor as a prelude to war. His cult title is most often taken to mean "the Strider" or "the Marching God," from gradus, "step, march."
The poet Statius addresses him as "the most implacable of the gods,"but Valerius Maximus concludes his history by invoking Mars Gradivus as "author and support of the name 'Roman'": Gradivus is asked – along with Capitoline Jupiter and Vesta, as the keeper of Rome's perpetual flame – to "guard, preserve, and protect" the state of Rome, the peace, and the princeps (the emperor Tiberius at the time).
A source from Late Antiquity says that the wife of Gradivus was Nereia, the daughter of Nereus, and that he loved her passionately.
Mars Quirinus was the protector of the Quirites ("citizens" or "civilians") as divided into curiae (citizen assemblies), whose oaths were required to make a treaty.As a guarantor of treaties, Mars Quirinus is thus a god of peace: "When he rampages, Mars is called Gradivus, but when he's at peace Quirinus."
The deified Romulus was identified with Mars Quirinus. In the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus, however, Mars and Quirinus were two separate deities, though not perhaps in origin. Each of the three had his own flamen (specialized priest), but the functions of the Flamen Martialis and Flamen Quirinalis are hard to distinguish.
Mars is invoked as Grabovius in the Iguvine Tablets, bronze tablets written in Umbrian that record ritual protocols for carrying out public ceremonies on behalf of the city and community of Iguvium. The same title is given to Jupiter and to the Umbrian deity Vofionus. This triad has been compared to the Archaic Triad, with Vofionus equivalent to Quirinus.Tables I and VI describe a complex ritual that took place at the three gates of the city. After the auspices were taken, two groups of three victims were sacrificed at each gate. Mars Grabovius received three oxen.
"Father Mars" or "Mars the Father" is the form in which the god is invoked in the agricultural prayer of Cato,and he appears with this title in several other literary texts and inscriptions. Mars Pater is among the several gods invoked in the ritual of devotio , by means of which a general sacrificed himself and the lives of the enemy to secure a Roman victory.
Father Mars is the regular recipient of the suovetaurilia , the sacrifice of a pig (sus), ram (ovis) and bull (taurus), or often a bull alone.To Mars Pater other epithets were sometimes appended, such as Mars Pater Victor ("Father Mars the Victorious"), to whom the Roman army sacrificed a bull on March 1.
Although pater and mater were fairly common as honorifics for a deity,any special claim for Mars as father of the Roman people lies in the mythic genealogy that makes him the divine father of Romulus and Remus.
In the section of his farming book that offers recipes and medical preparations, Cato describes a votum to promote the health of cattle:
Make an offering to Mars Silvanus in the forest (in silva) during the daytime for each head of cattle: 3 pounds of meal, 4½ pounds of bacon, 4½ pounds of meat, and 3 pints of wine. You may place the viands in one vessel, and the wine likewise in one vessel. Either a slave or a free man may make this offering. After the ceremony is over, consume the offering on the spot at once. A woman may not take part in this offering or see how it is performed. You may vow the vow every year if you wish.
That Mars Silvanus is a single entity has been doubted. Invocations of deities are often list-like, without connecting words, and the phrase should perhaps be understood as "Mars and Silvanus".Women were explicitly excluded from some cult practices of Silvanus, but not necessarily of Mars. William Warde Fowler, however, thought that the wild god of the wood Silvanus may have been "an emanation or offshoot" of Mars.
Augustus created the cult of "Mars the Avenger" to mark two occasions: his defeat of the assassins of Caesar at Philippi in 42 BCE, and the negotiated return of the Roman battle standards that had been lost to the Parthians at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE.The god is depicted wearing a cuirass and helmet and standing in a "martial pose," leaning on a lance he holds in his right hand. He holds a shield in his left hand. The goddess Ultio, a divine personification of vengeance, had an altar and golden statue in his temple.
The Temple of Mars Ultor, dedicated in 2 BCE in the center of the Forum of Augustus, gave the god a new place of honor.Some rituals previously conducted within the cult of Capitoline Jupiter were transferred to the new temple, which became the point of departure for magistrates as they left for military campaigns abroad. Augustus required the Senate to meet at the temple when deliberating questions of war and peace. The temple also became the site at which sacrifice was made to conclude the rite of passage of young men assuming the toga virilis ("man's toga") around age 14.
On various Imperial holidays, Mars Ultor was the first god to receive a sacrifice, followed by the Genius of the emperor.An inscription from the 2nd century records a vow to offer Mars Ultor a bull with gilded horns.
Augustus or Augusta was appended far and wide, "on monuments great and small,"to the name of gods or goddesses, including Mars. The honorific marks the affiliation of a deity with Imperial cult. In Hispania, many of the statues and dedications to Mars Augustus were presented by members of the priesthood or sodality called the Sodales Augustales . These vows (vota) were usually fulfilled within a sanctuary of Imperial cult, or in a temple or precinct ( templum ) consecrated specifically to Mars. As with other deities invoked as Augustus, altars to Mars Augustus might be set up to further the well-being ( salus ) of the emperor, but some inscriptions suggest personal devotion. An inscription in the Alps records the gratitude of a slave who dedicated a statue to Mars Augustus as conservator corporis sui, the preserver of his own body, said to have been vowed ex iussu numinis ipsius, "by the order of the numen himself".
Mars Augustus appears in inscriptions at sites throughout the Empire, such as Hispania Baetica, Saguntum,and Emerita (Lusitania) in Roman Spain; Leptis Magna (with a date of 6–7 AD) in present-day Libya; and Sarmizegetusa in the province of Dacia.
In addition to his cult titles at Rome, Mars appears in a large number of inscriptions in the provinces of the Roman Empire, and more rarely in literary texts, identified with a local deity by means of an epithet. Mars appears with great frequency in Gaul among the Continental Celts, as well as in Roman Spain and Britain. In Celtic settings, he is often invoked as a healer.The inscriptions indicate that Mars' ability to dispel the enemy on the battlefield was transferred to the sick person's struggle against illness; healing is expressed in terms of warding off and rescue.
Mars is identified with a number of Celtic deities, some of whom are not attested independently.
"Mars Balearicus" is a name used in modern scholarship for small bronze warrior figures from Majorca (one of the Balearic Islands) that are interpreted as representing the local Mars cult.These statuettes have been found within talayotic sanctuaries with extensive evidence of burnt offerings. "Mars" is fashioned as a lean, athletic nude lifting a lance and wearing a helmet, often conical; the genitals are perhaps semi-erect in some examples.
Other bronzes at the sites represent the heads or horns of bulls, but the bones in the ash layers indicate that sheep, goats, and pigs were the sacrificial victims. Bronze horse-hooves were found in one sanctuary. Another site held an imported statue of Imhotep, the legendary Egyptian physician. These sacred precincts were still in active use when the Roman occupation began in 123 BCE. They seem to have been astronomically oriented toward the rising or setting of the constellation Centaurus.
Mercury is a major god in Roman religion and mythology, being one of the 12 Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld. He was considered the son of Maia, who was a daughter of the Titan Atlas, and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx, mercari, and merces (wages); another possible connection is the Proto-Indo-European root merĝ- for "boundary, border" and Greek οὖρος, as the "keeper of boundaries," referring to his role as bridge between the upper and lower worlds. In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms; both gods share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand. Similar to his Greek equivalent Hermes, he was awarded the caduceus by Apollo who handed him a magic wand, which later turned into the caduceus.
Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice.
Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of the forest, he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields. The similarly named Etruscan deity Selvans may be a borrowing of Silvanus, or not even related in origin.
In ancient Roman religion, the diiNovensiles or Novensides are collective deities of obscure significance found in inscriptions, prayer formulary, and both ancient and early-Christian literary texts.
In ancient Roman religion, Sancus was a god of trust (fides), honesty, and oaths. His cult, one of the most ancient amongst the Romans, probably derived from Umbrian influences.
Grannus was a Celtic deity of classical antiquity. Based on the etymology of his name, Grannus may have been associated with spas, thermal springs, and the sun; having bushy hair, beard and/or eyebrows; or having a connection with the concept of shining/gleaming. He was regularly identified with Apollo as Apollo Grannus. He was frequently worshipped in conjunction with Sirona, and sometimes with Mars and other deities.
Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety (pietas) in maintaining good relations with the gods. The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists.
Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of Roman religious life during both the Republican and Imperial eras, and one of the primary features of the Roman calendar. Feriae were either public (publicae) or private (privatae). State holidays were celebrated by the Roman people and received public funding. Games (ludi), such as the Ludi Apollinares, were not technically feriae, but the days on which they were celebrated were dies festi, holidays in the modern sense of days off work. Although feriae were paid for by the state, ludi were often funded by wealthy individuals. Feriae privatae were holidays celebrated in honor of private individuals or by families. This article deals only with public holidays, including rites celebrated by the state priests of Rome at temples, as well as celebrations by neighborhoods, families, and friends held simultaneously throughout Rome.
A flamen was a priest of the ancient Roman religion who was assigned to one of fifteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic. The most important three were the flamines maiores, who served the important Roman gods Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. The remaining twelve were the flamines minores. Two of the minores cultivated deities whose names are now unknown; among the others are deities about whom little is known other than the name. During the Imperial era, the cult of a deified emperor (divus) also had a flamen.
The Campus Martius was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about 2 square kilometres in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome. The IV rione of Rome, Campo Marzio, which covers a smaller section of the original area, bears the same name.
The Robigalia was a festival in ancient Roman religion held April 25, named for the god Robigus. Its main ritual was a dog sacrifice to protect grain fields from disease. Games (ludi) in the form of "major and minor" races were held. The Robigalia was one of several agricultural festivals in April to celebrate and vitalize the growing season, but the darker sacrificial elements of these occasions are also fraught with anxiety about crop failure and the dependence on divine favor to avert it.
Caelus or Coelus was a primal god of the sky in Roman myth and theology, iconography, and literature. The deity's name usually appears in masculine grammatical form when he is conceived of as a male generative force, but the neuter form Caelum is also found as a divine personification.
Interpretatio graeca or "interpretation by means of Greek [models]" is a discourse used to interpret or attempt to understand the mythology and religion of other cultures; a comparative methodology using ancient Greek religious concepts and practices, deities, and myths, equivalencies, and shared characteristics.
Vulcan is the god of fire including the fire of volcanoes, deserts, metalworking, and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. He is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.
Illyrian mythology includes the reconstructed religious beliefs and practices of the Illyrian peoples, a group of tribes who spoke the Illyrian languages and inhabited part of the western Balkans before the 8th century BC until the 7th century AD. The sources available are very tenuous. It consists largely of personal and place names, and a few glosses from Classical sources. Still insufficiently studied, the most numerous traces of religious practices of the pre-Roman era are those relating to religious symbolism. Symbols are depicted in every variety of ornament and reveal that the chief object of the prehistoric cult of the Illyrians was the sun, worshipped in a widespread and complex religious system. Illyrian deities were mentioned in inscriptions on statues, monuments, and coins of the Roman period, and some interpreted by Ancient writers through comparative religion. To these can be added a larger body of inscriptions from the south-eastern Italian region of Apulia written in the Messapian language, which is generally considered to be Illyrian, although this has been debated as mostly speculative. There appears to be no single most prominent god for all the Illyrian tribes, and a number of deities evidently appear only in specific regions.
The Trigarium was an equestrian training ground in the northwest corner of the Campus Martius in ancient Rome. Its name was taken from the triga, a three-horse chariot.
In ancient Roman religion, the October Horse was an animal sacrifice to Mars carried out on October 15, coinciding with the end of the agricultural and military campaigning season. The rite took place during one of three horse-racing festivals held in honor of Mars, the others being the two Equirria on February 27 and March 14.
Fortuna Redux was a form of the goddess Fortuna in the Roman Empire who oversaw a return, as from a long or perilous journey. Her attributes were Fortuna's typical cornucopia, with her specific function represented by a rudder or steering oar sometimes in conjunction with a globe.
In the religion of the Roman Empire, the Silvanae are nymphs or goddesses associated with the woodland god Silvanus. They are attested by inscriptions mainly in Pannonia, with a little more than a third of the evidence scattered in the rest of the Western Roman Empire. Elsewhere, and in Latin literature, Silvanus is accompanied by nymphs. Silvanae may be a regional preference in naming, not a form of cultic devotion distinct from the Nymphs of Silvanus. Like similar nature deities, Silvanus himself is found sometimes conceived of as plural (Silvani), and Silvani/Silvanae form a male-female complement characteristic of the Roman conception of deity.