Fast Facts on Ares

Greek God of War

••• Ares gazes at a smoke-dark sky. juanedc/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Here is a brief introduction to Ares, the Greek God of War.

Ares' Appearance: A bearded, good-looking man in the prime of life (at least before TV interpretations, where he is portrayed as a vigorous, handsome young man).

Symbol or Attribute: The spear. He is also associated with vultures and dogs.

Strengths: Decisive, determined, fearless.

Weaknesses: Impulsive, bloodthirsty, raring for a fight regardless of the consequences.

Affairs: No spouse, and his main love is war, but he didn't have too many lonely nights. Repeatedly deceived the smith god Hephaestus by making love with his beautiful wife Aphrodite. The sun god Helios saw them and revealed the affair to the rest of the Olympians, the males of whom dropped down to watch, embarrassing Aphrodite and Ares. Supposedly Ares was actually in love with Aphrodite, beyond mere lust. If opposites attract, the God of War and the Goddess of Love would seem to be a sensible match.

Children: Diomedes, by the nymph Cyrene; Cycnus by Pyrene; Oenomaus by Sterope, one of the seven sisters comprising the Pleiades constellation. The popular game "God of War" cites demigod or divine spirit Kratos as a son and then successor of Ares, but this is not the traditional myth of either Ares or Kratos.

Major Temple Sites: Ares enjoyed his strongest worship in the Northern Greece territory of Thracia or Thrace.

As few people wanted to invoke war, temple sites are rare.

Basic Story: Ares is the sole son of the supreme Greek god Zeus and his legitimate wife, Hera. Neither of his far-from-mild-mannered parents were said to be too fond of their even more irritable son; a little more loving nurturing from them might have resulted in Ares being just the God of Minor Conflicts.

Interesting Fact: Ares is considered to be similar to the Roman god Mars, but is generally thought to be more brutal and uncivilized. That may be just Roman conceit, however. Note the similarity between the names - Mars is basically Ares with an "M" attached. Another very ancient female deity related to Artemis, Martis, may have contributed to the naming of both Mars and Ares. And some see a connection between the aggressive Ram sign of the Zodiac, Aries.

Ares is enjoying quite a new "career" lately as books and movies on Greek mythology are featuring him. You can see Ares in "Clash of the Titans" and "Immortals", among others.

Because of modern games and movies, Ares has a new "rival" as the God of War, Kratos, but Kratos was never well-known in ancient times, and he should not be seen as a substitute for Ares See "Is Kratos the Greek God of War?"

More Movies Based on Greek Mythology


More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - The Titans

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