Gods of the Month: Mars

Neptune's Dolphins


The month of March (Martius) is named for Mars. Besides being the God of War, He is also the Protector of the Fields and Crops. The Feriae Marti (Festival of Mars) includes besides the preparation for war, purification and rituals for planting and good harvests. This festival is important since Mars is the Father of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. (The Ancient Romans regarded themselves to be the “sons of Mars.”)

Starting March 1st, which is the birthday of Mars, the Salii (Leaping Priests) dance through the streets of Ancient Rome. Wearing the original military uniforms of Rome, the Salii beat their sacred shields (ancilia) and sang ancient hymns to Mars (Carmen Saliare). They repeated this two more times on March 8 and 24. Beating hides and skins, the Salii drove out pestilence and disease. They sent away the Old Man…

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