Ares or Mars: The God of War

Ares was the Greek god of war. He was the son of Hera and Zeus. Other of the Greek gods got themselves involved in wars, but it was what Ares loved most. He hardly seemed to care upon which side he fought. Although he was tough, brave, and loved carnage, he could also be tender. Aphrodite, the goddess of love had a passion for him. Though she was married to Hephaestus she spent much of her time with Ares. He destroyed one of his competitors for her, Adonis, by turning himself into a boar and attacking the young man.

Ares was often depicted with a spear, a shield, and a helm with a high plume. He was thought of as an experienced and grim warrior, relentless and without mercy, yet revelling in fight and destruction. Ares was not a thinker, but a doer. He left stratagems and the general direction of war to other gods such as Athena and Zeus. He was a contradictory god. Considered the patron of early law keepers and civil order, and at the same time he was the fomenter of civil strife. This is logical when we consider that he was endowed with power to sway events either way. He could be variously thought of as the god of murder, rage, highwaymen, and havoc, peace, and order.

In the Trojan war Ares fought mainly on the side of the Trojans at the behest of his lover Aphrodite. In that war he was wounded through the actions of Athena. In Homer's Iliad Zeus tells him that he is his least favorite of the gods because of his wanton nature.

Thrace was the principle place where Ares was worshipped. The Thracians even believed that they descended from Ares. From Thrace his worship spread to Sparta, where there was a temple build in his honor, as well as a yearly festival. The Romans called Ares, "Mars". He was sometimes accompanied by Deimos (Fear), Phobos (Flight) and Eris (Discord).

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