Archive for November 2010

Mars–the Ancient Roman god of War   33 comments


There are many myths and legends referencing Roman history extolling the virtues held in particularly high regard by the Romans: duty, self-sacrifice, honour, bravery, and truthfulness. These were also characterised in Roman gods, minus the very human weaknesses and vices displayed by the Greek gods, from which most of the Roman gods were poached. Names were changed such as for the twelve Olympian Gods and Goddesses who ruled the universe from atop Greece’s Mount Olympus.

Mars is the ancient mythological Roman God of War (Mars Gradivus), (Ares in Greek myth, Tyr in Norse myth) Depicted as a fearless warrior he was the god of war, murder and bloodshed. He was also the god of spring, god of agriculture, and protector of cattle. mars

Mars, the son of Juno and a magical flower was the Roman god of fertility and vegetation. Roman soldiers offered sacrifices to Mars before and after combat and it was said he appeared on the battlefield with the warrior goddess Bellona. Mars unlike his Greek parallel, the god Ares, was hold in higher regard than any of the other Roman gods, partly because of the importance of military achievement in the republic and the Roman Empire, conquering Northern Africa and much of Europe and the Middle East. Mars ranked second only to Jupiter, probably because his twin sons Romulus and Remus by Princess Rhea Sylvia were said to have founded Rome. Consequently the Roman people called themselves the Sons of Mars. Together with Jupiter and war god, Sabine Quirinius, he was one of the three great guardians of Rome. mars2

Mars is portrayed as a full battle armoured warrior, sporting a crested helmet and carrying a shield. The planet Mars and the male gender are both represented by ♂, which also represented Mars’ shield and spear. The wolf and the woodpecker are sacred to Mars and he is accompanied by Fuga and Timor, portraying flight and fear. (Phobos and Diemos in Greek mythology –moons of the planet Mars).

The month March originates from Roman month Martius is named after Mars. The Romans honoured him with festivals throughout March, when new growth begins in the fields and military conflicts restarted. March 1, saw the celebration the Feriae Marti (“Festivals of Mars”). On March 14, the annual horse race of the Equirria was held, on the army’s and athlete’s training ground, the Campus Martius (“Field of Mars”). On March 23, the Tubilustrium was celebrated by purifying weapons and war-trumpets. October 19, was the Armilustrium festival celebrated in Mars’ honour, when the weapons of the soldiers were cleansed and stored.

In the Regia on the Roman Forum, the hastae Martiae (“lances of Mars”) were kept in a small chamber. If Rome was heading into conflict, the warlords shook their lances fiercely while repeating the words Mars vigila (“Awaken, Mars!”).

Structures such as statues and temples, associated with Roman gods and myths can be found far from the ancient capital Roman mythology’s influence extending farther and lasting longer than the Roman Empire. In Britain an old mosaic displays the she-wolf feeding Romulus and Remus. It is a reminder of the days when Rome ruled Britain and a mark of how far Roman mythology spread.

Posted November 26, 2010 by europasicewolf in Mythology and Symbolism

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Lest We Forget….   20 comments


REMEMBER…World War I and World War II ~ and all who have answered the call of their countries.

‘They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

We will remember them.’

“World War I and World War II changed the shape of Europe and the lives of countless millions of its people. Both civilian and armed forces suffered grievously, with survivors badly scarred, physically and emotionally.

Today we continue to live out the long term effects of these human catastrophes. It is left to us to learn what happened in these awful conflicts and to learn from what happened – and then to remember.”





remembrance_day2_jpg“The silent tears from big, brawny sunburnt men, old and young, always made a small skinny kid (me) wonder what on earth these men and woman went through. In those days, we still also had many surviving gladiators left from World War 1 including some of my older relatives. What was this about, I wondered?

Tears, gently laid flowers, messages to uncles, fathers, grandparents and great grandparents, enormous reverence and impermeable sadness. At last I knew exactly what this was about.

It was not about glorifying war. It was about family. It was about mateship, bravery and kindness. It was about remembering above all, what is good about humanity.

Our parents and ancestors, as young men and woman so many years ago, answered the call of our countries, not the call from our politicians. They did not know, nor particularly care, about the political correctness of having a choice of going to battle – or who they were to fight. They fought for what they believed in, and history, with its 20/20 hindsight, focuses us on the horrific futility and utter waste that war brings. So many incredibly brave young men and woman, answering in so many ways, and in so many lands, the call to arms. A quiet determination to do their job – whatever it took.



                                         When You Go HomeRememberence Day

This was about remembrance of friendship and family, and a celebration of all the enduring things that are good and noble about the human spirit.

Our future – and our past – is about our young people. In all of history it is they that have always borne the brunt of war.”

‘They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

We will remember them.

Lest we forget…’

Posted November 13, 2010 by europasicewolf in Uncategorized

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Marine Ecosystems   30 comments


Coral Reefs and Climatic Change

CoralReef  bonaire-flower-coral

Corals themselves are tiny animals which belong to the group cnidaria (the “c” is silent)which also include hydras, jellyfish, and sea anemones. Corals are not mobile but stay fixed in one place. They feed by reaching out with tentacles to catch prey such as small fish and planktonic animals. Corals live in colonies consisting of many individuals, each of which is called polyp.

It was believed in the Middle Ages that sea fish were created to balance with the stars in the sky and were consequently equally numerous.



  • Corals are amongst the oldest eco systems on Earth and the largest living structure on the planet.
  • They cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface but are home to 25% of all marine life
  • They protect our shorelines from erosion
  • Provide food and livelihoods for 500 million+ people
  • Used in treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases and ulcers
  • Corals porous limestone skeletons have been used for human bone grafts
  • 1/3 of our corals are now threatened with extinction. At present destruction rates 70% of the world’s coral reefs will be destroyed by 2050


Rising Temperatures (Global Warming)

  • This puts strain on corals which then eject the algae (zooxanthellae) that live in their soft tissue, providing nutrients and energy for photosynthesis. Algae also give corals their bright rainbows of colours. Without algae the coral becomes bleached and open to disease.


Atmospheric CO2 (Ocean Acidification)

  • Oceans become increasingly acidic as they absorb Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. Coral reefs have limestone foundations and the acidity is responsible for them dissolving, which has a critical affect on a corals ability to grow.

coral-cavernous-star  coral-reefs-decline-worldwide 

With the exception of amphibians corals are at higher risk of extinction than all the terrestrial animals groups…they are also the most sensitive to climatic changes.

Destruction of their habitats, overfishing, ocean warming, increased risk of acidification and millions of tonnes of nutrient run-off all play a part in this situation.


Global Dead Zones

Regions of coastal seawater that have been deprived of oxygen as a result of fertilisers and sewage overspill, consequently, can no longer support life. Twice as many such zones have developed since 1960. Coupled with rising Carbon Dioxide levels not only shallow-water marine life, but also numerous deep-sea species will also suffer and die.

 global_dead_zones  bleached_coral

  • SWEDEN – cyanobacteria is blooming resulting in the Baltic Sea becoming a deadly, toxic brown sludge.
  • HAWAII – Massive stacks of fetid, contaminated green-brown algae dumped on the ocean coasts.
  • FLORIDA – Red tides of toxic algal are killing of hundreds of marine mammals….
  • CARIBBEAN – 80% of reefs are suffocated by algae…..


Climate change, coupled with ocean warming, is likely to result in a global collapse of coral reefs within the next few decades. There is clear census of scientific opinion that it is essential to reduce greenhouse gases if coral reefs are to survive.