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.
Being god of war and destruction, he was little appreciated by the Greeks, seeing only brutality and revenge in him. It is even said that his parents, Zeus and Hera hated him.
Ares – The God of War
Ares goes into battle and sows the carnage in which he passes and he rejoices in the blood, inhabited by a warlike fury. Its name comes from the Greek word anaïrês which means “the killer”.
His sister Eris, goddess of Discord, or Enyo, the goddess of war, bloodshed, and violence accompanies him in combat.
He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship. They have a secret relationship, and had two twins, Deimos (Terror) and Phobos (Fear). His two children are his companions in war.
The most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband’s device.
He 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.
He is often portrayed with his helmet, his armor and a shield and a sword, notably on the statue of the Villa Museum near Tivoli. The animals dedicated to Ares are the vulture and the dog.
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.
Some illustrations of Arès:
(1) Statue representing Ares as a warrior, with his helmet and shield.
(2) Bronze statue of the Louvre representing Mars seated. Directed by Luigi VALADIER in the 18th century.
(3) Drawing of Ares wearing his armor.