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Mars (God)

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Mars, the God of War
Mars God 001
Mars, the God of War (Centaur)

Real Name

Mars

First Appearance

Greek/Roman Mythology

Aliases

Ares

History

Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshiped by the Roman legions. His festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.

Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature. Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent. Mars' altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa himself, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars' worship was originally located outside the pomerium, or sacred boundary of Rome, Augustus brought the god into the center of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.

Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome's founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who "founded" Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces.

Centaur

Mars, the God of War, was so admiring of the German efforts during World War II that he created a being to work for them. Unfortunately for the Germans, Mars miscalculated the rotation of the Earth, so when Man of War came to life in Dayton, Ohio. Infused with American values, the Man of War rejected his "father's" ways and set out to fight the Nazis at home and abroad.

Craig Carter could summon also summon Ares and the other Twelve Olympians and other mythological figures to his aid with his magic ring.

This portrayal of Mars is more consistent with the Greek idea of Ares compared to others, such as the Lev Gleason version.

Fiction House

In the near future, Mars (Fiction House) had succeeded in destroying all of Earth's universities in an attempt to inflict a new dark age on humanity. However, Dr. Kort has preserved the world's knowledge and culture. To ensure that it would outlast him, he took two children, Mysta of the Moon and Nors, to his moon laboratory and educated them using a hypno-transmitter. Unfortunately, Mars possessed Nors, killing Dr. Kort and trying to kill Mysta as well. She saw through the ruse, however, and killed Nors in order to free him from Mars' control and banish the villain from the corporeal plane.

Frank Communale

Zeus ordered his daughter, Diana the Huntress, to travel from her home on Mount Olympus to protect Greece from the Nazis. He also asked his sons Hercules and Mars to aid the Allies.

Lev Gleason

Mars Lev Gleason

Mars (Lev Gleason)

On the planet Mars, the Roman god of war, also known as Mars, has grown disgusted with the Nazis who have turned war into a mindless slaughter. He sends his skilled and courageous son Dryas (aka Bombshell), who saved Mars and his ministers from being ambushed and slain by the fearful monster Koro, to Earth, knowing that it is a one-way trip. Bombshell's magical sword won't harm humans, but it will cut through almost anything else. He also possesses an indestructible golden shield. While we are supposed to believe that his father is a Roman god, the story reads as if this Mars is a king of a civilization on Mars.

Quality Comics

Mars was also an enemy of Merlin the Magician. They fought twice, with Ares aided the second time by Wotan, the father of Thor.

Golden Age Appearance

  • Yellowjacket #9
  • National Comics #1
  • Planet Comics #15-36
  • Boy Comics #3
  • Wham Comics #1
  • Liberty Scout Comics #2
  • Hercules #6,9,12

Footnotes


See Also

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