Some might assume he wears a rusty red
Because his lust for restless, raging war
With blood has dyed his garments’ ev’ry thread,
And red he has become from skin to core.
But truly, Mars, despite his brutal fame,
For more than blood alone has felt some care.
His reddish hue was caused by rueful shame.
When Vulcan revealed the god’s affair,
The tender place inside his broken heart
Was touched whenever Ares gave a thought
To Venus and him being kept apart
Or to infamy that for Love he’d bought.
Though from the snare of Vulcan he’s released,
To blush the warring God has never ceased.
by Paul Burgess
[The story of the love affair between Mars/Ares and Venus/Aphrodite comes from mythology, and the idea that Mars is red because of guilt, grief, and shame (especially for making his lover infamous) come from the addled head of Paul Burgess.]
Further advice for surviving in the world of Classical Mythology, by Paul Burgess
If you’d prefer to not become a bear, Do not let Jove remove your underwear.
[Callisto’s “crime” was having a child after being raped by Jove. For this crime, Hera turned the girl into a bear. A moral we see throughout the classics is: Do not let one of the Universe’s most powerful entities rape you…]
To guarantee* a long and happy life,
Avoid the wrath of Jove’s* vindictive wife.
*While not exactly guaranteed, long lives were more likely to be enjoyed by those who did not provoke the wrath of Hera. *For whatever reason, Jove/Jupiter is best known by his Greek name “Zeus”.
[These epigrams might eventually add up to a survival guide for those trapped in the world of classical mythology].
P.S. While not the original source for most of these myths, Ovid’s Metamorphoses–my favorite work of poetry–is a fantastic read for those interested in the classics. I especially like Horace Gregory’s translation.