Mars Denique Victor Est

Another clear night, another starry-eyed blog! Mars, a planet close by our own, shines down a rust-coloured light. It was thought by the Mesopotamians to be Nergal, the god of the judgement of the dead. The Romans considered him as the god of war, but less famously as the god of agriculture. In a world in which your existence depended on a decent harvest, a violent god of death and destruction was as suitable a guardian of your bread supply as any. I saw a number of altars to Mars in the Chesters Museum at Hadrian’s Wall- grain-growing soldiers would naturally wish to keep him happy. He was believed to be the son of Jupiter, the lover of Venus and the father of the famous Roman heroes Romulus and Remus, Rome’s founders. This masculine persona is evidenced today by his symbol’s use to denote males, the circle with the pointing arrow, , thought to represent his shield and spear. Mars’ two moons are named Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread), from where we derive the words phobia and demon


The ancient Babylonian deity Marduk was associated with the planet Mars. Steven Buckardt links this deity to the Phoenician god, Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens. Baal was known as the storm god, called “He Who Rides on the Clouds.” Deuteronomy 33:26 makes it clear that it is not Baal, Marduk or Mars who rides the clouds, but 

There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky 

And Psalm 104:3:

[The LORD] Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind.

Mars’ mythical potential continued into modern times with the idea of Martian life. In 1901, Nikola Tesla, having witnessed mysterious radio noise remarked “The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another.” H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds first popularised the idea of a Martian invasion back in 1897, a theme which movie-makers and comic books have enjoyed developing ever since.

One day, a great cosmic force led by the warrior-God will come to the earth from the heavens. To them who rejected Him, He will be the furious God of war and judge of the dead, but to us who believe and look to His coming, He is precious. 

Image: ESA - European Space Agency & Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research for OSIRIS Team ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA [CC BY-SA 3.0-igo (