Andrea Mantegna: "Mars, Venus, and Diana."
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Image courtesy of Corel Corporation.
Ares was the Greek god of war. He was identified with the Roman god, Mars. Ares 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.
Ares was also associated with agriculture and particularly with the laurel tree.
The month of March was sacred to him. March was very important since it was the
messenger of the rebirth of plant life and the season of wars and campaigns.
Ares was conceived by Juno after being lightly touched by Flora, the goddess of flowering and blossoming plants, with a magical herb. Juno had previously asked flora's help in order to upset her husband Jupiter, who had produced Minerva from his head without Juno's aid.
Mars was the father of the famous Roman heroes Romulus and Remus who founded the city
of Rome. For that reason, Mars was believed to come to the aid of Romans in times of
crisis. The two heroes were born after Mars had raped Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin.
Having lost her verginity, Rhea Silvia was condemned as a fallen priestess and
imprisoned. Years later, however, her twin sons released her from captivity.
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