Ares (Mars)


Known as the God of War

ares-1024.jpg
http://www.yvg.com/wallpaper/ares-1024.jpg

Background Information

The God of War had a behavior of which not many mortals, and even the immortals, disliked. Many gods and goddesses fought but always with a reason but Ares was known to join battles for himself without first acknowledging the cause of the fight. He is described as murderous, bloodstained, curse of mortals and even a coward. The great war-loving god would run away whenever he got hurt. Ares had a small family of who fought with him whenever they decided to. The formidable family was formed by Ares, his sister Eris the goddess of discord, and his two sons Deimos and Phobos.

Relationships

Ares was not one of the most respected in Olympia. He constantly talked about battle and because of this, the other Gods thought of him as having a shallow attitude. His unpopularity was also due to his love for war and violence even when there was no reason. Ares was the son of the two gods Zeus and Hera; but even if he was their child, they were still disgusted with him. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was one of the only gods/goddesses who actually cared for him. Hades, the god of the Underworld, favored Ares because of his constant sending of fallen warriors to his kingdom.
http://web.uvic.ca/grs/bowman/myth/images/haifa/h52.jpg
http://web.uvic.ca/grs/bowman/myth/images/haifa/h52.jpg

The forbidden love of Ares and Aphrodite

Even though Ares had no wife, that didn’t mean that he was alone. It was said that Eros made him fall in love with Aphrodite. Aphrodite, the wife of Ares’ brother Hephaestus, often slept with Ares behind the back of Hephaestus. One day, the sun god Helios caught both Ares and Aphrodite enjoying themselves and so he quickly went to tell the god of blacksmith. Outraged by this story from Helios, Hephaestus decided to catch the two lovers in the act. With his skillful hands he creates a spider-web like net out of very thin metal and is able to ensnare Ares and Aphrodite. After capturing these two, Hephaestus then invited all the gods and goddesses to witness the couple. The goddesses did not go but the males on Olympia went and embarrassed Ares and Aphrodite. Afterwards, the two separated and fled to different parts of the world until events had died down.

Symbols

The main symbol of Ares was the spear. This was because he was the god of war and he loved war more than anything else. The vulture also represented Ares because of its nature of being very violent. The symbol of dog is another representation of Ares but it is often said that it is badly portrayed because Ares is not like a dog. Instead he is more of the opposite of a dog.

Worship and Temple

Thrace, Ares’ homeland, was one of the only places where Ares was worshiped. The Thracians were very warlike themselves, and Ares retreated to their land after being caught with Aphrodite.

Anecdotes

The Trojan War

At the sign of blood, one could always find Ares there to help create more. The Trojan War was a battle of which Ares could not resist. He fought on the side of the Trojans while Athena aided the Greeks. At first, Ares had decided to join his mother Hera and his half-sister Athena with the Greeks but soon, Aphrodite convinced him to join her and the Trojans. After he joined Aphrodite, Athena gets enraged and so she hurts and wounds him by aiding the hero Diomedes. After retreating to Olympia because of his wounds, Zeus talks to him and announces that he is his least favorite son (even though Ares was Zeus’ only legitimate son). In the end, the Trojans eventually lose and need to fall back.

The Aloadai Giants

The Aloadai Giants took giant mountains and piled them upon each other so that they could reach the great height of Olympus. The giants wanted to fight the gods and in while doing so, they kidnapped Ares and sealed him in a bronze jar. There Ares lay for 13 months until someone finally came to rescue him. Hermes, having been traveling around and was tired for the night, decided to stay in the small barn of which the jar was being kept. When Hermes settled down, he heard knocking noises that were coming from the jar and so he opened it and released Ares. When he was released, Ares returned to his normal self once again.

Fun Facts

  • Gave a "manly" spirit to his daughters, also known as the amazons
  • His throne is said to have been made of human skin
  • Even though he was the God of War, he still lost several battles

Contrast to Roman Equivalent

Ares Roman equivalent god, Mars, was a much more respected god than Ares. The Romans worshipped Mars with more confidence than the Greeks worshipped Ares. This is because Mars started off as the god of fertility and agriculture, and then changed to be the god of war as the Roman Empire expanded. He is said to be the father of Romulus, Romes legendary founder.

moz-screenshot.jpg
http://www.lutheransonline.com/lo/026/FSLO-1038442668-324026.jpg
http://www.lutheransonline.com/lo/026/FSLO-1038442668-324026.jpg

Sources

Atsma, Aaron. "Ares" Theoi Greek Mythology, Exploring Mythology in Classic Literature and Art. http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Ares.html

Stewart, Michael. "Ares", Greek Mythology: From the Iliad to the Fall of the Last Tyrant. http://messagenet.com/myths/bios/ares.html (November 14, 2005)
Roberts, Morgan. Myths of the World: Classical Deities and Heroes. New York: Michael Friedman Publishing Group Inc, 1995.

Gibson, Michael. Gods, Men and Monsters from the Greek Myths. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1977.

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. New York: Wamer Books Inc, 1942.