Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, takes its name from the Roman god of war. Its distinctive red hue derives from an abundance of iron oxide covering its surface.
Mars has always captured people’s imagination, from ancient civilizations through to contemporary space exploration technology. Telescopes have brought it closer, while technology enables space travel. Thus its tale has become part of our unconscious cultural memory.
Mars was one of the most widely venerated deities during Roman history, serving as both a god of war and protector for Rome and its armies. Inspired by Greek deities Ares and Aresis, Mars took many of his myths from these figures while remaining more generous than their counterparts; often offering peace after victories were won and providing protection for both. Additionally, Romans often saw him as being responsible for protecting them both.
Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and had several full and half siblings, such as Mercury (messenger god of commerce and communication); Proserpina, Ceres’ child famously abducted by Pluto; Minerva (goddess of wisdom); as well as many war gods such as Mercury. Additionally, Mars was revered by women for both his primal masculinity and war god characteristics: Bellona and Nerio both goddesses linked with specific cults in early Rome sought him out; long term affair with Venus (Vulcan’s wife), giving birth to Cupid; as well as being responsible for founding Rome itself!
Romans believed in his powerful magic that made him especially useful during times of conflict or war, praying to him to protect their land while offering sacrifices of weapons and men as offerings to him. March is named for this god, with statues depicting him wearing full battle armor with spear and shield in hand adorning Roman streets today.
Roman myths surrounding Mars included tales that believed he possessed an extraordinary magical power that enabled women to become pregnant without relying on men – hence why Romans called him “Fernandum.” Juno asked Flora for assistance; Flora informed Juno of a special flower which could bring fertility; Juno then used Flora’s help in testing this power on a heifer, with successful results.
No matter if it was out of sheer lust or the need to perpetuate his lineage, some stories claim that Mars raped Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia while she slept and gave birth to twin boys who later became known as Romulus and Remus. Fearing they might threaten his rule over Alba Longa kingdom, Amulius sent them down the Tiber River in a basket.
Mars, with its red hue associated with war or fire, symbolizes violence for many cultures. Romans associated this hue with their god of war: Mars; it may have come from either Nergal in Babylonia, or from Ares in Greece who symbolizes both war and love, courage, fair play. Greeks added Ares into their pantheon and associated him with Aries astrological sign.
Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days provides one version of Mars’ origin myth. According to Hesiod, Chaos represented nothingness from which emerged Gaia (Earth), Eros (Love), six male divine beings called Titans–Coeus, Crius, Cronus Hyperion Iapetus Oceanus–who then gave rise to all other life on Earth.
Greek Mars tales often portray him in terms of a romantic love triangle. After falling for Minerva but being rejected, Mars turned to Anna Perenna for help; she duped him by dressing like Minerva. Later on Zeus cast Anna into twin roles called Castor and Pollux which can now be found within Gemini constellation.
Ancient Greek mythology often featured Mars and Venus’s affair as one of its primary themes. Vulcan, who was considered Vulcan’s Roman equivalent for Venus, took any cheating between husband and wife as an offense against himself; when Mercury saw Mars and Venus embracing in bed together and reported it, Vulcan did not immediately take revenge but instead created a net in his workshop that would catch both lovers when they next attempted sexual contact.
Greek culture had a lasting impact on Roman mythology, which ultimately evolved into classical astrology. Twelve signs are named for planets and stars associated with classical astrology – Mars is considered its ruler, while Aries represents his symbol: a ram. Aries is associated with Jason and the Argonauts legend from Greek mythology.
The Babylonians possessed an advanced understanding of astronomy and mathematics, studying astrological positions of stars and planets to predict eclipses and other astronomical events. Early observations also enabled them to calculate Mars’ orbit and year length.
Mythologically speaking, Mars was known as Nergal in their culture – a god associated with war and destruction. This may help explain its ominous reputation throughout history: To the Greeks it became Ares; while for Romans he represented agriculture and warfare. These associations continue today with red color associated with Mars as well as an arrow shape becoming associated with him.
As was true for Romans, Babylonians believed Mars to be home for life as well. Their belief stemmed from seeing dried canals when gazing upon it closely and its reddish glow that moved strangely through the sky; these speculations about life on Mars existed long before radio waves confirmed its existence and confirmed existence of earthly polar regions.
Science fiction stories centered around Mars as an inhabitable planet quickly followed, giving rise to voyages to and encounters with inhabitants that began appearing in the 1800s. Today, its mysterious allure remains strong.
Romans and Babylonians alike recognized Mars as male energy, suggesting there are both masculine and feminine energies on this planet that combine to give us our personal freedom and power. Mars can boost one’s ego; therefore it must be balanced out with Venus who provides love and compassion if Mars without Venus becomes destructive and violent force that must be contained through self-mastery and spiritual understanding of what truly matters in life.
Mars can have both positive and negative influences depending on how it’s used. When used to serve our souls and move us forward with consciousness, Mars can become an invaluable tool of awakening and development; when used instead for attachment, control, or repression it can quickly turn toxic.
Mars has often been associated with war and destruction. Yet ancient Egyptians saw another side to it; they considered it an advocate for life and prosperity.
One of the more enduring stories surrounding Mars involves an ill-fated love affair between him and Minerva, the Greek goddess of beauty. According to Ovid’s Fasti, Mars became deeply infatuated with Minerva but she steadfastly maintained her virginity; not one to be easily deterred, Mars sought help from Anna Perenna – goddess of time – who gave Mars a flower that made female creatures pregnant without male involvement – an effect which Juno then tested on barren heifers which instantly gave birth.
Alchemy represents the primal life force, or wolf energy, as being unformed and uncontrolled until transformed into its final manifestation: alchemical gold. This symbolises our need to shift away from aggressive behaviors towards conscious awareness; when Mars is used in service of our soul it helps release us from attachment to our egocentric desires while opening pathways towards spirit.
Ancient Egyptians revered Mars as both their god of war and peace and prosperity, evidenced by its depiction at Dandara temple with five mobile planets like Mars represented as hawk-like heads. Additionally, Egyptians considered Mars to be a sign of fertility and agriculture due to its color and movement across the sky.
At various points throughout history, Greeks and Romans adopted many Egyptian myths as their own. Although some modifications were made, the core story about the creation of the world and its gods remains the same. Egyptians believed in not only five planetary gods but also other divine beings such as Isis for fertility and childbirth; Nephthys was Set’s consort and mother to Horus; Anubis represented death, Thoth represented sacred writing and Hathor represented joy and love – these ancient gods remain present in hearts today as people continue to believe in them all these years later.