Ares was the god of the War, keen on bloody fights and assassinations. His parents were Hera and Zeus and even though he was one of the twelve Olympian gods, the majority of them disliked Ares due to his vigorous character.
Ares was said to have been raised in Thrace by Thero and educated by Priapus who was reesponsibe for exercising the young god in sports, dancing and war techniques. Hera had charged Priapus with Ares’s education and she would compensate him with a part of the spoils Ares would wrench during the battles. Homer says in his Iliad that Ares was full of incontrollable passion, aggressiveness, audacity, ferociousness and he was characterized by blind violence. Ancients used to call him vicious and impudent. When he was in the battlefield, nobody could defeat him but Athena who was also the goddess of War but in different terms than that of Ares. Athena focused on the strategies and the planning of a battle, the bravery of the fighters and any intellectual parameter of the war. Ares, on the contrary, was the one who took part in the fight in order to contribute to the violence actions of the war as if being thirsty for blood. He rode his chariot which consisted of four wild creatures named as Fire, Trouble, Flame and Terror and he spread death and terror to everyone.

Ares and Aphrodite

Ares and Aphrodite

Only three among the Olympian gods were friendly towards Ares. Firstly, Hades was thankful to the god of the War because the Underworld’s population grew bigger and bigger thanks to Ares’s activity. The second was Eris (Discord), sister of Ares who run next to him during his war campaigns and the third was Aphrodite who despite her having been married to Hephaestus, she was passionate with Ares. The love that grew between these two gods was the result of their controversial personalities. Aphrodite was beautiful and inspired love to the others but she was attracted by the wildness of Ares. They gave birth to Harmony whose character combined all the properties of her parents. Deimos (Terror) and Fovos (Fear) was also sons of Ares and the accompanied him in the wars. Ares and Aphrodite were punished by Hephaestus, the deceived husband of Aphrodite who trapped them in order to reveal their illegal relationship to the other Olympians.

Athena and Ares were enemies and they had a lot of quarrels even in the battlefields. Even though both of them were strictly connected to the War, they were diametrically opposed because Athena used her wisdom in order to make a good war strategy contrary to Ares who was hot-tempered and keen on the war violence. He fought by the Trojans during the Trojan War and Athena wounded him twice. When Ares went to Zeus complaining for Athena’s attack against him, Zeus, who disliked Ares because of his vicious character, lambasted him despite Ares’s arguments that his father favored Athena against him.

According to Demosthenes, Alirathios, son of Poseidon, raped Alcippe, daughter of Ares. Then, Ares killed Alirothios and he was judged by the Olympians. The trial was carried out at a rock located to the west of the Acropolis, Athens. The judges were the twelve Olympian gods who agreed that Ares was innocent. The rock where the trial took place was used for similar trials (concerning murders) since then and it was named as Areios Pagos. Later on, Orestes who had killed his mother was also judged at Areios Pagos.

Aggording to the legend, Ares was the one who had raised the Stymfalian birds that were fed with humans. Heracles was ordered (within the twelve labors) to kill these birds and he did so assisted by Athena who provided Heracles with the cimbaloms the Hephaestus had constructed.
There is a myth connecting Ares with Kadmus, king of Thebes, who killed a dragon, son of Ares. Then Kadmos was obliged to be Ares’s servant for one year. Following Ares’s orders, Kadmos seeded the teeth of the dragon on a field and fighters sprang out from these teeth. However, Kadmos invented a trick which made the fighters kill each other with the exception of five of them who survived and later on became the first citizens of Thebes. Once Ares having made friend with Kadmos, his daughter, Harmonia, got married to the king of Thebes.
Ancient Greeks were not fond of Ares either thus they didn’t use to erect sanctuaries or temples of great importance to him. Ares was worshipped mainly in Peloponnese and he was considered to be present in all battles either on his chariot accompanied by Eris and his sons or even on foot, spreading discord, disaster, fear and death.