Why “Tiw”?

“Tiw” is the old English name for the god Mars; or, at least, Tiw was the equivalent in Norse mythology of the Roman god Mars.

Why not “Ares”?

Firstly, so many programs and vehicles have been named “Ares” now, in both scientific literature and fiction, that it’s painfully unoriginal. Secondly, what most people don’t know is that Mars and Ares were not the same gods.

Mars was originally the god of agriculture and springtime, and was considered one of the most important Roman gods, second only to Jupiter. Mars eventually became equated with war because the Romans would often march to war in March, the month named for Mars, which is when spring is beginning in the northern hemisphere (the vernal equinox is around March 21). It’s much easier to march cross-country in spring when the weather is nice, than in, say, winter! Most of the festivals celebrating and worshipping Mars occurred, unsurprisingly, in March. Of course, the soldiers marching off to war then would ask the god Mars to bless and guide them, and grant them victory – and thus, over time, Mars became thought of as the Roman war god. But this is not the true nature of Mars.

Personally, I like Mars the god of springtime and agriculture more than Mars the god of war!

Ares, on the other hand, was the Greek god of war and was considered brutal and vile, and was not a well-respected or loved god. Note that Phobos and Deimos (fear and panic) were consorts of Ares – not of Mars. So, just to be clear: Mars good and popular, Ares horrible and unpopular. Not the same. (This is also why I think “Phobos” and “Deimos” are terrible names for Mars’ moons.)

Although I would prefer not to use the name “Ares” for an H2M program or vehicle, the name “Ares” will always be linked with Mars whether we like it or not. It’s the root of the prefix “areo”, which can be substituted for the prefix “geo” to create Mars-equivalent words:

Earth Mars
geology areology
geography areography
geochemistry areochemistry
geosynchronous areosynchronous
geostationery areostationery

There are numerous equivalent names for Mars in other languages. However, why not use one that we use every day – or, at least, every week?

Yes – the word “Tuesday” means “Tiw’s day”. And “Tiw” means “Mars”.

The days of the week were originally named by astrologers for the 7 known planets. “Planet” simply meant “wanderer”, and referred to any astronomical object that did not maintain a fixed position like a star. This, therefore, included the Sun and Moon.

In most cultures, the planets were personified as gods.

Planet name (English) Latin equivalent Day of week (old Latin) Norse equivalent Day of week (English)
Sun Sol Dies Solis
(Sol’s day)
(Sun’s day)
Moon Luna Dies Lunae
(Luna’s day)
(Moon’s day)
Mars Dies Martis
(Mars’ day)
Tiw Tuesday
(Tiw’s day)
Mercury Dies Mercurii
(Mercury’s day)
Woden Wednesday
(Woden’s day)
Jupiter Jove Dies Jovis
(Jove’s day)
Thor Thursday
(Thor’s day)
Venus Dies Veneris
(Venus’ day)
Freya Friday
(Freya’s day)
Saturn Dies Saturni
(Saturn’s day)
(Saturn’s day)

The god “Tiw” (also known as “Tyr” or “Tiwaz”) was associated with law and heroic glory, and known for his great wisdom and courage. These are surely great attributes to bestow on our H2M program!

As a bonus, Tiw also has a rune. It’s slightly different from the well-known alchemical symbol for Mars, but, I think you’ll agree, it’s pretty symbolic of a space program:



I like to read, write, teach, travel, code, lift weights, play music, listen to music, make things out of wood, watch scifi movies, and play board games and computer games. My interests are broad, spanning science, engineering, architecture, technology, nutrition, environment, psychology, health, fitness, finance, business, and economics, but my main passions are spirituality, space settlement, and veganism. My ambition is to be a successful writer and speaker, and to create a company to produce awesome science fiction books, movies, and games that inspire people about the future. Eventually, I would also like to create vegan cafes and urban farms.

Posted in Space
3 comments on “Why “Tiw”?
  1. […] See: Why “Tiw”? if you’re curious about the name. […]


  2. chancwj says:

    This is a cool post.


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