March (Martius) Posted by kunthra on Mar 18, 2009 in Latin Language
March (Martius) is the month devoted to Mars, the god of war. If you know anything about the Ancient Romans, you’ll know that they revered Mars and held month long celebrations to honor Mars. Mars was the epitome of valor and courage. He’s one of the more macho gods. He’s known as the god who was able to bed the goddess of love, Venus (and Venus’s husband Vulcan wasn’t too happy about that!) I guess you could say that Ancient Rome was a blood lusty empire. Many of the fasti or celebrations in honor of Mars emphasize qualities that pertain to war or blood. It’s actually not too surprising that the Ancient Romans had a penchant for blood. I suppose you’d need to have such a mindset to conquer and govern vast nations.
Anyway, Feriae Maris is the name of the celebration in honor of Mars’s birthday. The priests (salii) carry shields (ancilia) and beat a sword on the shield in a procession around the city of Rome. This ceremony is called Tubilustrium. Tubilustrium was a ceremony commonly performed to pump the soldiers up for war.
Before the soldiers were sent to war, the priests (salii) would slaughter a lamb to Mars as a sacrificial offering. I think it’s quite fitting considering that this is the god of war. I don’t personally like blood and war, but yes, they do go together. On this note, have an enjoyable March (Martius). Well, sort of, in a non violent way (I hope).