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Where Did Mars Get Its Name?

  1. Jun 14, 2007 #1

    baywax

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    Of course, by now, you've seen the stories about Mar's past oceanic environment.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNe...613/mars_study_070613/20070613?hub=TopStories

    What I have noticed is that the word Mar as in the Spanish or Latin "Del Mar" (of the sea), means ocean. In other cases, Mars is associated with the god war and "Mar" has made its way into the word "Martial". But the name for the red planet is strikingly similar to the latin word for Ocean. And yesterday, as can be read in the above article, it was further confirmed that Mars had oceans at one point in her history. I realise that astrophysicists maintain the oceans must have been present "billions" of years ago. But, if the name of Mars actually describes her oceans, who named it? Who observed the oceans of Mars in our history or pre-history?

    If this sort of question belongs in History or Humanities or the trash, please feel free re-direct at your leasure.
     
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  3. Jun 14, 2007 #2

    Janus

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    Mars was named after the God of War due to its reddish appearance. Red is the color of blood.
     
  4. Jun 14, 2007 #3

    baywax

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    Thank you Janus. So, its just a coincidence that Mars or Mar means ocean in Latin? Is there anyway that Mars could have lost its oceans sometime during the last, say, 15,000 years? This would mean its name sake, oceans, would have been lost, but the name stuck. The red color could then have been attributed to war and blood in the same way the incongruent name "oceans" or "mars" would be attributed to the god of war.
     
  5. Jun 14, 2007 #4

    nrqed

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    As Janus mentioned, it was named after the God of war. It has nothing to do with the "sea" latin root (which gives "mer" or "marée" for "tides" in French). On the other hand, the "maria" of the Moon were labelled this way in reference to the fact that they look like "seas".
     
  6. Jun 14, 2007 #5

    baywax

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    Ah, thank you! And I thought I had something here.

    On the other hand, cool story about Mars:cool:
     
  7. Jun 14, 2007 #6

    russ_watters

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    That makes no logical sense whatsoever. The earliest known naming of Mars was 6,000 years ago, by the Babylonians, who named it the same way (different word, very similar meaning). You seem to be implying that it would have had an ocean that the Romans would have known about, giving it their namef for "sea". Then the ocean disappeared sometime in the last 1,500 (not 15,000) years, leaving the color red and the coincidentally similar Roman name.

    In any case, good historical record exists of this, so there is no need for such speculation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  8. Jun 14, 2007 #7

    baywax

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    Thanks Russ. It was an honest question that I've never been able to answer myself. The article you've dug up is fantastic in detail.

    I'll keep any further "martian' speculation off of PF.:wink:
     
  9. Jun 15, 2007 #8

    Chronos

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    It's all greek to me.
     
  10. Jun 15, 2007 #9

    baywax

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    Actually the word/name Mars was adopted by the Romans from the Chaldean word "Mar" which means "rebel".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaldean_Dynasty

    Chaldean language in old references may refer to the Urartian language


    The Chaldean language is "neo-Babylonian" It is also known as a Urartian language which in turn belongs to a family of languages (not necessarily related) called Agglutinative languages.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agglutinative_language

    Just a bit of follow up, thank you!
     
  11. Jun 15, 2007 #10

    D H

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    The Greeks called Mars Ares, of course. That name is retained in the name of a star with a similar color to Mars -- Antares (which means "not Ares", of course).
     
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