"In her wide-ranging exploration Bettany Hughes discovers a much more complex figure…This is a god to whom we no longer pray yet whose presence we will never escape"

The Mail on Sunday

‘Hughes is a warm and authoritative presenter, always utterly engaged and at home amongst fallen columns and bright blue skies.’

The Financial Times

‘…there are few TV historians more fascinating than Bettany Hughes’

The Daily Mail

Bettany Hughes investigates the enduring relationship between warfare and worship, by following the trail of Mars, from Rome and Carthage to the present-day. 

Travelling to Jordan, she then tells the story of one of the bloodiest episodes in Crusader history and examines how the Christian notion of Holy War played out in practice, with Mars still very much a presence. She then tracks how the figure of Mars was used by artists such as Botticelli and Rubens to examine the inevitability of war, and whether peace might not proffer a better option. Following the World Wars, the red scare, and contemporary conflict in the Middle East, Bettany considers how Mars’s dominion has been sustained and asks whether the benefits of war still outweigh the horrors.