Fast Facts: Ares
- Pronunciation: AIR-ees
- Origin: Greek
- Role: God
- Parents: Zeus and Hera
- Children: Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia
- Symbols: Spear, Helmet
- Other Name: Mars
Who Is Ares?
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to his sister the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.
In The Romans
The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable.
Ares is no doubt a formidable warrior, but his fierceness and poorly controlled impetuosity do not protect him from injury or defeat.
During the Trojan War, Ares fought on the side of the Trojans, while he had promised his mother and Athena to second the Greeks; but he played an unglamorous part. Assisted by Athena, Diomedes seriously wounded him, which the god complained to Zeus. Later, he tried again to join the battle, despite the ban on Zeus, but Athena stopped him by insulting him.
Ares is the tutelary god of the Amazons; he had confided to their queen, Hyppolity, his belt symbol of power. Heracles came to fetch her later in her ninth work. Ares participated in their wars and led them in their campaigns against Phrygians, Lycians, Athenians and other Anatolian kingdoms. In return they founded many temples in his honor.
The birds of Ares (Ornithes Areioi) were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons’ shrine of the god on a coastal island in the Black Sea.
Ares is associated with a few different symbols. He is associated with two animals. The boar is said to represent his violent nature while his association with dogs could be linked to sacrifices made to him of the animal.
He is also represented by his helmet and spear, both tributes to his many battles.