Roman god of war, also the name of the bright red planet, late 14c., from Latin Mars (stem *Mawort-), the Roman god of war, of unknown origin, apparently from earlier Mavors, related to Oscan Mamers. According to Watkins the Latin word is from *Mawort- "name of an Italic deity who became the god of war at Rome ...." He also had agricultural attributes, and might ultimately have been a Spring-Dionysus. The planet was so named by the Romans, no doubt for its blood-like color. The Greeks also called the planet Pyroeis "the fiery."
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