Besides Jupiter, the most important Italian and Roman deity. It has been revered since ancient times throughout Italy, under various names: Mavors - by Latins, Mamers - by Oska and Sabinjan, Marisl - by Etruscans, Maurte - by Tusculum, and Marmar or Marmor - in the song of the priestly order of the Arval brothers. In the official cult, Mars is primarily the god of war (Mars Gradivus), but the rural population considered him a deity of agriculture and animal husbandry (Mars Pater). Therefore, all his holidays are in March and October, ie in the months that mark the beginning and end of agricultural work, but also the time of the beginning and end of war campaigns. As it rules the battlefield and fertile fields, prayers are offered to Mars to protect the earth from enemies and from all natural disasters. That is why Mars is a great god of general progress, both of fertile fields and cattle, and of the progress of the Roman people and state.
The oldest center of the Martian cult in Rome was located outside the city, on the Field of Mars. According to the legend, Numa already dedicated an altar (Ara Martis in campo) to Mars, where a ritual of consecration of weapons and a great purification ceremony (lustrum) were performed. The symbols of Mars are the sacred spear (hastae Martis) and the sacred shields (ancilia), and the animals dedicated to it are the wolf, the woodpecker and the bull. The cycle of his holidays begins at the end of the old and the beginning of the new year, with the consecration of horses - Equirria, on February 27 and March 14, war weapons - Quinquatrus, March 19, and battle trumpets - Tubilustrium, March 23. Two more March holidays are connected with them, celebrated on March 1 and 17 (agonium Martiale). In all these ceremonies, the priestly order of the Salians took part, whose members in warrior clothes performed games with weapons in the Martian part. The cycle of holidays in October begins on the day of Ida, with the sacrifice of horses (Equus October), and ends with the consecration of weapons (Armilustrium), also with the participation of the Sali people.
Until the time of Augustus, all the sanctuaries of Mars were located outside the city. It was erected in front of the Kapen Gate 338-337. year old temple of Mars, which housed his statue surrounded by wolves. On the Field of Mars, in 138 AD, another temple was built for him. In honor of Mars, Augustus erected two temples: one smaller, on the Capitol, in gratitude to Mars Ultor for punishing Caesar's assassins, and one large temple, in the center of the newly built Forum, which surpassed all other shrines in Rome in splendor. . There, Mars is revered along with Venus and is identified with the Greek god Ares.
In the old Italian cult, Mars was associated with the goddess Nerio, who was later considered his wife. Along with him is the goddess of war Belona, who personifies one of the most important functions of Mars. Later, under Greek influence, Mars was associated with Minerva and Venus in cult and myth. Accompanying Mars, as the terrifying god of war, are Horror (Pavor) and Fear (Pallor), as well as personifications of military virtues - Honor (Honoris) and Courage (Virtus).
Mars is in the myth of Juno's son, when she conceived thanks to a flower given to her by Flora, the goddess of flowers and spring. The connection of Mars with Ana Perena (an ancient Roman deity of obscure functions; probably the goddess of spring and longevity or the goddess of the beginning and end of the year) and Mamuri (that name was given to an old man wrapped in fur, when they banished white cane from Rome; this old man probably symbolizes the past agrarian year) certainly stems from the accidental coincidence of the Martian March holidays and Italian rituals in connection with New Year's customs. The role of Mars in the "holy spring" (ver sacrum) stems from the old Italian custom that one generation of young people leaves their hometown in early spring and starts looking for happiness elsewhere. These colonists are often led by Mars' sacred animals - the wolf or the woodpecker. The myth that Mars is the father of Romulus and Remus is probably based on that motive.
Mars is revered in all Roman provinces, especially in Gaul and Germany; in these areas various local deities were often called by the name of Mars.
In Roman art, Mars was most often depicted as the Greek Ares, mostly as a naked young man, with a helmet on his head and a spear and sword in his hands. Only Mars Avengers is presented as a mature bearded man, in a legionary uniform.
• Dragoslav Srejović - Aleksandrina Cermanović-Kuzmanović, Recnik grčke i rimske mitologije, drugo izdanje, Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, 1987