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MAMURIUS 100.00%

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The mythical maker of the ancilia. (See ANCILE.)
 
ANCILE 100.00%
The small oval sacred shield, curved inwards on either side, which was said to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa. There being a prophecy that the stability of Rome was bound up with it, Numa had eleven others made exactly like it by a cunning workman, Mamurius Veturius, so that the right one should not be stolen. The care of these arms, which were sacred to Mars was entrusted to the Salii (q.v.), who had to carry them through the city once a year with peculiar ceremonies. At the conclusion of their songs Mamurius himself was invoked, and on March 14th they held a special feast, the Mamuralia, at which they sacrificed to him, beating on a hide with staves, probably to imitate a smith's hammering. It is likely that the name Mamurius conceals that of the god Mars (or Mamers) himself.
 
MARS 11.97%

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With Jupiter the principal deity of the inhabitants of Italy, and therefore honoured with particular reverence by the Latins and Romans from the very earliest times, especially as the latter regarded him as the father of Romulus, the founder of Rome. He was held to be the son of Juno, who bore him in consequence of touching a wonderful spring-flower, and the husband of Nerio or Nerlene, a goddess of strength. Through the emphasising of one of his attributes he gradually came to be considered as, above all, the god of war; for originally he is at the same time one of the mightiest gods of nature, who accords fertility and protection to fields and herds. The first month of the old Roman year was dedicated to him as the fertilizing god of spring; in the very ancient chant of the Arval brothers (q.v.), at the May-day festival of the Dea Dia, the help and protection of Mars were demanded. In earlier times he was also invoked at the hallowing of the fields (See AMBARVALIA), that he might bless the family, the field and the cattle, and keep off sickness, bad weather, and all else that did harm. (Cp. ROBIGUS.) In later times the names of Ceres and Bacchus were substituted for his on this particular occasion. At the festival on 15th October (see below) a horse was sacrificed to him to insure the fair growth of the seed that had been sown. As god of war he had the special name Gradixus, the strider, from the rapid march in battle 1 (Cp. QUIRINUS), and his symbols were the ravenous wolf, the prophetic and warlike woodpecker, and the lance. When war broke out, the general solemnly invoked his aid, by smiting his holy lance and the holy shields (ancilia -see ANCILE) with the cry, Mars, awake! (Mars vigila!) Many sacrifices were also offered to him during the campaign and before battle; and in his name military honours were conferred. The Field of Mars (Campus Martius) was dedicated to him as the patron god of warlike exercises; contests with battle-steeds, called Equirria, were there held in his honour on the 27th February, 14th March, and 15th October. On the last-mentioned day the horse on the right of the victorious team was sacrificed on his altar in the Field of Mars; it was known as the horse of October (October equus), and its blood was collected and preserved in the temple of Vesta, and used at the Palilia for purposes of purification. The cult of Mars was entrusted to a special priest, the flamen Martialis (see FLAMEN), and the college of the Salii (q.v.), which worshipped him more particularly as god of war. His principal festival was in March, the month sacred to him. As early as the time of king Tullus Hostilius, Pavor and Pallor, Fear and Pallor, are said to have been worshipped as his companions in the fight, in sanctuaries of their own. Augustus caused him to be honoured in a new form, as Mars Ultor (avenger of Caesar), in the magnificent temple in the Forum Augusti, consecrated B.C. 2, where statues of him and of Venus, as the two divine ancestors of the Julian family, were set up. In later times he was identified completely with the Greek Ares (q.v.).
 
SALII 9.34%
 
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