Monday, January 24, 2011

Fertility God of Rome

Did you expect a part 2 from yesterday? Nah, not immediately. Soon? But for tonight let's talk about the main fertility god of Rome.

This fertility deity was the most widely worshiped God in Rome. He had many names, had 4 festivals in the first month of the Roman year and even has a day named after him. He predates Rome. He fathered Rome. Who else could I possibly be talking about but Mars.

The God of War was first a God of Fertility. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, lover of Love Herself, and the one called on in war. He is Gradivus, the strider, who precedes an army into battle. He is also the Avenger and the Protector. Before Rome, and his syncretization with the Greek Ares, Mars was a cthonic deity of Spring. His festivals are in March, he is called on to protect the herds of cattle and to fertilize the land. There ware ancient offerings to Mars Silvanus ("of the woods"). Check out our friends at Nova Roma for the text of the offering.

Who were his parents? Juno. Dad? I said Juno. Funny how she's been mentioned in posts this week. I need to stop writing at night because I'm tired and forget things more easily. Something was nagging me about why Juno was a Goddess of childbirth. Not just in general either. She was a Goddess of women for whom childbirth seemed impossible. It started with Minerva. Legend has it that Minerva sprang fully formed from the head of Jupiter. Wisdom and creativity personified. Think Juno would let that pass without evening the score? Not with her reputation.

Legend has it that Juno consulted the Goddess Flora about the matter. Flora plucked a specific flower and used to to impregnate Juno. The result was Mars. Born of the union of a Woman and a flower. Of course he was an earthy deity of fertility!

I want to keep going, especially since his animal was the wolf, but I must leave it for another post! I'll close with the following since we're talking about fertility deities: Happy Sementivae!

Sementivae, also known as Feriae Sementivae, is a Roman festival of sowing.  It is held in honor of Ceres (the goddess of agriculture) and Tellus (Mother Earth). The initial half of the event is a festival in honor of Tellus which runs from January 24 through January 26. The festival honoring Ceres occurs one week later, starting February 2. (From our friends at

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