Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome's founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who "founded" Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.
The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces.
The word Mārs (genitive Mārtis), which in Old Latin and poetic usage also appears as Māvors (Māvortis), is cognate with OscanMāmers (Māmertos). The oldest recorded Latin form, Mamart-, is likely of foreign origin. It has been explained as deriving from Maris, the name of an Etruscan child-god, though this is not universally agreed upon. Scholars have varying views on whether the two gods are related, and if so how. Latin adjectives from the name of Mars are martius and martialis, from which derive English "martial" (as in "martial arts" or "martial law") and personal names such as "Martin".