Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

Ares, the god of war or, more accurately, the spirit of conflict, is a god of Greek mythology. He was never as popular as his Roman counterpart, Mars, and his devotion in Greece was not as widespread. He was a symbol for the heinous nature of war and slaughter. Ares has been one of the Olympian deities since at least Homer’s time, when he was established as the son of Zeus, the main god, and Hera, his consort; nevertheless, his fellow gods and even his parents disliked him (Iliad, Book V, 889 ff.). Nonetheless, his sister Eris (Strife) and sons Phobos and Deimos (by Aphrodite) joined him into war (Panic and Rout).

Two lesser battle gods were also affiliated with him: Enyalius, who’s really nearly identical to Ares himself, and Enyo, a female counterpart.

Ares was mostly worshipped in northern Greece, and his cult had so many intriguing local elements despite lacking the social, moral, and theological connotations associated with great deities. Blood sacrifices were offered to him from among the war prisoners in Sparta, at least in the long term. In particular, a nocturnal offering of hounds was made to him as Enyalius—an unique sacrificial victim that could imply a chthonic (infernal) deity.

In fact, a nighttime sacrifice of hounds was offered to him as Enyalius—an unique sacrificial victim that could imply a chthonic (infernal) deity. No women were allowed in the holy grove during his festival at Geronthrae in Laconia, but he was honored as Gynaikothoinas (“Entertainer of Women”) in Tegea in a special female’s sacrifices. He built a monastery at the foot of the Areopagus (“Ares’ Hill”) in Athens.

Ares has a small amount of mythology surrounding him. He was identified with Aphrodite from the beginning; in fact, Aphrodite was recognized regionally (for example, at Sparta) as a war goddess, which was probably an early aspect of her personality. Aphrodite was sometimes Ares’ lawful bride, and with her he procreated Deimos, Phobos (who joined him into battle), Harmonia, and Eros, god of love, as first related by Simonides in the 6th century BCE.

He fathered Alcippe by Aglauros, Cecrops’ child. At least 3 of Heracles’ opponents were his sons: Cycnus, Lycaon, and Diomedes of Thrace. Ares is generally depicted as a classic equipped warrior on vases. The Parthenon frieze depicts a group of Olympians, among whom Ares has been tentatively recognized in unwarlike clothing. He is also seen on Pergamum’s huge altar frieze.

By Anthony

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