The original Latin form of Mark, of unknown derivation; it may possibly be connected with Mars, the name of the Roman god of war, or the adjective mas ‘male, virile’ (genitive maris). This was one of the very small number of Roman given names of the classical period. There were only about a dozen of these in general use, with perhaps another dozen confined to particular families. Marcus has been in use in the English-speaking world since the 16th century if not earlier; in the 20th century it enjoyed a considerable increase in popularity. As an African-American name it is sometimes bestowed in honour of the Black Consciousness leader Marcus Garvey (1887–1940).