Inferior ministers, for Mars, repair
His broken axletrees and blunted war,
And send him forth again with furbish'd arms
To wake the lazy war with trumpets' loud alarms
-- the Iliad, block 8
Mars was the Roman god of war. He started off as the god of spring, youth, cattle, and nature. When the Romans came into contact with the Greeks, he became the god of death and eventually war.
Mars was said to be faithful, valorous, honorable, noble, and benevolent, though he also took a savage pleasure from bloodshed. The hoards slaughtered on the battlefield were said to fill Mars with a twisted excitement. As such, Mars was more like the Norse god Tyr than his Greek counterpart Ares.
The red planet known as Mars, located fourth from the sun, drew its name from the god of war due to its blood-like color.
The most ancient forms of the name Mars were Maurs, Marmar, and Marvor, which were eventually contracted to Mars.
The name came from the Sanskrit mar, and the Verdic martus. Some of his surnames included Gradivas ("he who precedes"), Pater ("the Father"), Silvanus ("he of the forest"), and Ultor ("the avenger").
Mars' symbol is a circle with an arrow coming diagonally out of it, ,which is also a symbol for the male gender. In American Hobo Signs, it means "go this way." With the circle filled in, , it is a military sign for grenade or mortar.
Mars was said to be the father of Romulus and Remus, the mythic founders of Rome. Thus many Romans styled themselves "sons of Mars," Martians, in a manner of speaking.
Animals sacred to Mars were the vulture, an animal often found in the battlefield; the wolf, like the she-wolf that raised Romulus and Remus; and the...