Sandro Botticelli: "Venus and Mars." The painting shows Venus resting
contentedly. Little satyrs honk horns and play about
Mars, as he sleeps.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of the Trustees, The National Gallery, London.
Mars, the Roman god of war, was also known to the Greeks as Ares
. Mars was
associated with agriculture, particularly with the laurel tree. Originally,
Mars was closely identified with the pastoral deity Silvanus.
The month of March was named after him and considered the month of wars.
Mars was conceived by the goddess Juno. Juno was annoyed that her husband Jupiter had produced Minerva from his head without her aid. She asked the help
of Flora, the goddess of flowering and blossoming plants to create a new god.
Juno with a magical herb and impregnated Juno with Mars.
Mars married a minor
goddess called Nerio (strength). As the god of war, Mars was driven by rage
and a strong desire for violence. He enjoyed the great noise of battle, and
he loved bloody warfare. Conflict and mindless killing was how he liked to
spend the day. Mars was said to have raped Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin,
while she drew water at a spring in his sacred grove. As a result, Rhea
Silvia had twin sons, Romulus and Remus.
When their birth became known, Rhea Silvia was imprisoned and condemned as a fallen priestess. Years later, when Romulus and Remus became adults, they released their mother from captivity. The city of Rome was founded by the two sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars. It was believed Mars would help Romans in times of crisis.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
In Roman mythology, Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology) was the king of heaven and Earth and of all the Olympian gods. He was also known as the god of justice. He was named king of the gods in the special...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more