Mars was generally viewed as the god of war, and was second only to Jupiter in the number of cults his worship attracted. In early Roman history he was a god of spring, growth in nature, and fertility, and the protector of cattle. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and according to some sources the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Ilia. Because he was the father of these legendary figures who founded Rome, the Romans called themselves sons of Mars.
Mars was frequently portrayed as a warrior in full battle armor, wearing a crested helmet and wearing a shield. His sacred animals are the wolf and the woodpecker, and he was accompanied by Fuga and Timor, the personifications of flight and fear. The month of March was named for him, a time when wars were either renewed or begun. His Greek equivalent was Ares.