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Ares, God of war in ancient Greece.

The Power of Ares: Greek God of War, Lust, and Protection

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Ares is one of the most popular gods of the Greek pantheon. He is also one of the earliest documented deities, known from the texts much older than the Iliad. This deity is primarily known as a bloody god of war who was thought to help soldiers on the battlefield.

Thousands of helmets unearthed in the lands which were dominated by the ancient Greeks once belonged to men who followed his cult. However, it seems that Ares was called upon not only for war , but also to aid individuals with their personal battles. Moreover, he was believed to be a father of the famous fighting women known as the Amazons, and his daughter Hippolyta was the Amazon queen.

Ares was a Hero in Homeric Tales

Ares is usually presented as an impressive man in full armor and a helmet. He often carries a shield and a spear. However, there are also examples of artwork where he appears on a chariot which is pulled by fire-breathing horses.

Ares, aka Mars, god of war, armed with his feather helmet and spear sitting on a golden winged serpent chariot. ( martacobos /Adobe Stock)

Ares must have been a very important deity when Homer (or writers known as Homer) created the famous Iliad, Odyssey, and other texts. Although he may not appear to be the best candidate for a popular deity at first, his quick temper and aggressive personality were once viewed with admiration and not just fear.

 

 

Average people were scared of Ares, but it was a feeling connected with deep respect as well. He was the one his followers looked to for support during the scariest battles. The army which was cared for by Ares could be an unbreakable machine and was thought to always come out of their battles victorious . Ares appeared in Hesiod’s writings as a contrast to Athena. He believed Ares was brutal and inspired soldiers to bloody actions. Athena, on the other hand, was apparently responsible for strategy.

The Ares and Aphrodite Affair

But before you judge Ares as the worst deity of ancient Greece, it is necessary to remember the love affair between the god of war with the goddess of love – Aphrodite. Sometimes this relationship is described as similar to the concept of yin and yang. Ares is often depicted with his children with Aphrodite - Phobos (Fear) and Deimos (Terror), and with his sister Eris (Strife).

‘Mars Disarmed by Venus and The Three Graces’ (1824) by Jacques-Louis David. ( Public Domain )

The Homeric Hymn 8 to Ares, dated to the period between the 7th and 4th centuries BC, says:

"Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmed, doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory, ally of Themis, stern governor of the rebellious, leader of righteous men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third firmament of heaven; hear me, helper of men, giver of dauntless youth! Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the ways of blood-curdling strife. Rather, O blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death."

Ares. Copy of the Severian period after a Greek bronze original by Alkamenes dated 420 BC. From the sacred area in Largo Argentina, 1925.

Ares. Copy of the Severian period after a Greek bronze original by Alkamenes dated 420 BC. From the sacred area in Largo Argentina, 1925. ( Public Domain )

Ares was one of Hera and Zeus’s sons and his power was well-known. He may have also been an icon of an attractive man in ancient Greece because he had a few children with different lovers. His main attributes were courage and strength in war, but his handsomeness bought him even more popularity. For example, Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus when she got a crush on Ares.

Theirs was a mad romance and it caused Ares to be banished from Mount Olympus and punished like a naughty child by his powerful parents. Apart from having a weakness for women, Ares was also seen as a protector for mistreated women. For instance, he murdered Halirrhothios, a son of Poseidon, who raped his daughter Alkippe. From this story, there are some suggestions that women may have asked him to punish men who treated them badly.

Athena VS Ares

Ares is presented as a very radical personality and an individual that got things done. He was admired by the famous Spartan warriors. One of the most popular myths about Ares tells of his fight with Hercules . It had to be a very inspiring tale for the warriors, whose restrictive way of living made them an extremely dangerous army.

He also appeared in Homer’s Iliad. In this, he supports the Trojans. In some moments, he fights arm in arm with Hektor, but the plot shows the Trojans’ competitors in a more positive light, so Ares is called ''the hateful', ''the curse of men'' or ''the man killer.”

Homer depicted him as a weak god who was beaten by Athena . According to the ancient writer, the goddess supported the Acheans and she knocked him out with a large rock. When he got wounded during the fight with Diomedes, who was supported by Athena, his scream of pain was said to be louder than 10,000 men.

‘The Combat of Ares and Athena’ (1771) by Jacque-Louis David.

The Combat of Ares and Athena’ (1771) by Jacque-Louis David. ( Public Domain )

Ares in Today’s World

Nowadays Ares is one of the most popular ancient deities. He appears in many movies, books, and works of art related to ancient history. During the Renaissance, he was also a very popular motif in artwork. His symbols became the spear and helmet and he was often depicted with a dog. With time, he was dethroned by the Roman god Mars , who became the iconic deity of Neoclassical works.

More recently, Ares was honored by NASA who named a ship after him. Moreover, he is a patron of the multi-sport club in Greece called Aris Thessaloniki.

A modern representation of Ares.

A modern representation of Ares. ( CC BY NC ND 2.0 )

Top Image: Ares, God of war. Source: Геннадий Кучин /Adobe Stock

By Natalia Klimczak

References:

Z. Kubiak, Mitologia Greków i Rzymian, 1997.

Ares, available at:
http://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/ares/

Hymn 8 to Ares, available at:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0138%3Ahymn%3D8

Comments

Hi All,

It's moments like this I miss my godbrother the Son of a preacher both me passed away from Heart Attacks but, my godbrother loved Mythology; I wish, I could tell him, from Reading Enoch these guys existed.

Ares was a puzzle for me I first heard of him through adventure series Hercules the legendary Journey's, Xena Warrior Princess, an Young Hercules' the television series was a Comedy Adventure with exaggerated Greek Tragedies implied in the Plot lines.

To this day my favorite Hercules Episode is Porkules, &
One Fowl Day, my favorite Xena Episode season 3; is The Quill is Mightier.

Now that I have read Enoch I see this Ares in a different Light kind of like Jeff Goldblum's character in the first, movie Independence Day; when He realized those huge Saucers were gearing up for an coordinated attack against Earth.

I'm not saying ares is a alien although I understand some communities believe it to be the case with all the Ancient World's Diverse gods/goddesses The people chose too worship.

In 2020, I think in April an Temple in Turkey was unearthed. The Find was a feature of Ancient Origins article. Etched into this Stone Temple was the name of Ningirsu Identified as a god of war; the Assyrians worshipped this deity.
Then I saw the figure etched within the Temple walls revealed.

It's a male figure typical of Mesopotamia's; depiction of Male gods with characteristic beards but, otherwise smooth faces.
Then I noted the pair of wing's extending out of his back.

What I'm going to share will no doubt seem farfetched however, I trust Enoch explicitly.

Enoch is said to be the oldest Book out of the entire Bible. It had been in it previous but, Man decided too remove this Text from the Scriptures. What's more Enoch is older than Poem The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Enoch 1; The Book of Watchers speaks of Fallen Angel's who are Identified as Watchers through Enoch. These Male Angel's saw the beauty of Human Women and married these women had children by the Women.

According to Genesis chapter 6 it says that the children the Women gave birth too fathered by these Angel's were Giant's in those Days; Warriors of Old and Great Re-known. Pretty dramatic.

Enoch 1 The Book of The Watchers; that wasn't the Half of it.

Enoch 1 provides the name of 55 Angel's out of those 200, best guess They were the Ring leaders behind this venture.

As memory serves correct at least, with the Greek Stories those Olympians didn't give goddesses, Nymphs, an Human Women the choice to be with Them Rape was the usual bid.

So what does this Ningirsu have to do with one of the 55 Angel's out of the 200 Watchers who married Human Women this was never sanctioned by God what these Angel's did, so it was A Sin Against God (The Watchers polluted Creation), their behavior.

Ningirsu the god of war Assyria worshipped is Azazel. I feel that Ningirsu is possibly Ares and Mars Grandfather or Father and that they were twins.

According to Enoch it was Azazel taught both Man and the Children of the Angel's War; He crafted both armor and weapons for the War's that Man and those Children of the Angel's who are called Nephilims & Rephalims fought.

Azazel is spoken of by The Ancient of Days who is God and orders Azazel too be bind up by the Arch Angel's Gabriel and Raphael to be thrown in to Tartarus which either Gabriel or Raphael rules over (yes it's true Tartarus).

Because of his Wings I noticed on the Temple wall this attribute not only Identifies Azazael Ningirsu as an Fallen Angel, but, Azazel is a Cherub.

Only Cherub's an Seraphims have wings.

Some Cherubs have wings like the shape of gigantic butterflies or moth wing's, other Cherubs like Lucifer; that old Ancient Serpent of Renown is in the shape of Eagle Wings think Golden Eagle's or Harpy Eagle's.

As for the Seraphim's they Have Six Wing's one can read their basic description in Isaiah chapter 6; an in Revelation; chapter 4. Apparently Seraphims are the original Superman remember the motto?

Faster than a plane, Faster than a Speeding train, Faster than even a Speeding bullet. That's the Seraphim's.

Is it definitive what I believe about the figure on that Temple etched in Stone Ningirsu is Azazel No. That's all I can say No!
It Feels Right Azazel Ningirsu. How come the name was changed?

Sumeria is where Tower of Babel was being constructed according to The Bible We Spoke One language so God then changed the language's and that's how Azazel became Ningirsu and two other Fallen Angel's Satal in Hebrew became Atlas in Greek.

Apollyon in Greek originally in Hebrew Abbaddon this one's mentioned in Revelation chapter 9.

That's all I had to say about Ares and his Grandfather or Father Azazel Ningirsu.

I'm aware that Ares and Mars has No Wing's that why I felt Azazel could have been their Grandfather it's quite obvious Ares might have been particularly Tall from how the Pictures depict Him and Mars.

Until next time Everyone, Goodbye!

Ares was disliked by Homer not because the god was supporting Trojans, but because Homer considered Ares as representing brutality and the war-happy attitude. It is characteristic that in Odyssey (book 8), Homer through Demodocus, the singer of Phaeacians, ridicules Ares in the incident with Aphrodite, where Ares was trapped by the ingenious mechanism devised by the crippled by brilliant Hephaestus.

You mentioned that Ares dethroned Mars, I wonder if the Romans had a war god before they encountered the Greeks. It is well known that the Romans adopted gods from others and I wonder if this was one of them, in which case, he wasn’t dethroned, though his name became less well known to the people.

A Night in Shining Armor, A Silver Tounged Devil, His pain was that of 10,000 men…

Not many like that around anymore... 

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