♂ Ares (Mars, Nerigal)

Categories: Gods > The “Twelve” Gods
Gods > Cosmocrators (Planets)

1 Introduction

“I did not so much love Hadrian – let me say this with the gracious forgiveness of your filial piety – as I wished him, like Mars Gradivus, like Father Dis, to be propitiated and placated. Why? Because to love someone, there has to be a kind of trust and familiarity. Since I lacked trust, I did not dare to love him, as much as I revered him. But Antoninus I love, I adore like the Sun, like the day, like life, like (my) breath, and I feel that I am loved by him” (Fronto, Letters 2.1.1). This letter to the young Marcus Aurelius from his teacher in rhetoric, Marcus Fronto, in describing his attitude to the current emperor, Antoninus Pius, and the previous, Hadrian, also tells us quite a bit about the attitudes people in Greco-Roman society had to the gods. Life-giving gods, like the Sun himself, were worshipped with a trusting love. Those gods who might take life away, on the other hand, – such as Dis, the ruler of the dead, and Mars, the “warlike god” (Serv. auct. Aen. 2.355) – were worshipped with a different attitude, and sometimes with different kinds of ceremonies.

Now, to be clear, this was not an ironclad rule, and gods did not for the most part clearly fall into one or the other category. Even Jupiter, whose name was thought to mean ‘helping father’ (iuvans pater), sometimes required propitiation, and even baneful Mars was worshipped out of love. It will be the subject of this article to show how love and fear mingled in the worship of the latter god, whether under the name of Ares, Mars, Laran, or others.

2 The names of Mars

curse tablets?

„originally an agricultural god“??

John Lydus

brotoloige – blasphêm- ?

dii communes

Hermias 130, 189.27, 198.12
Proclus In Remp. 1.96, 2.221
Procl. In Tim. 1.483, 1.163
Olympiod. In Alc. 20
Porph. On Cult Statues

Orphic Hymn? ‚Homeric‘ Hymn. Latin hymn.