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Mars is the Roman god of war and also of agriculture. He was very important to the Romans because he was the father of Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome.

In the beginning Mars was seen as more of an agricultural or pastoral god, this still had relevance, even after he became more and more associated with war.

Mars was the son of Juno, Jupiter's wife. Jupiter had given rise to the goddess Minerva by birthing her through his head. Juno was jealous of this event, and asked the goddess Flora to help her in the task of creating a son. Flora, the goddess of blossoming plants touched Juno with magical herbs and created Mars in her womb.

Mars raped the vestal virgin Rhea Silvia while she slept, she gave birth to twins called Romulus and Remus. Rhea was imprisoned because of the sacred laws of her vows, and her sons were left in baskets on the river. They were brought up by wolves and eventually founded Rome.

Mars was often depicted riding a two-horse chariot, with a spear and a shield, both items with magical properties. His shield in particular was an important object and symbol for the Romans, according to legend one is said to have fallen from the sky to save the Romans during battle.

Sacred shields were kept in the temples of Mars and the one alleged to have fallen from the sky was reserved for the Forum, where it was said to guard Rome from attack.

Primarily Mars was invoked for battle and all things associated with war. For obvious reasons he was a favourite among soldiers in the Roman army.



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