Helmeted young warrior, so-called Ares. Roman ...
Helmeted young warrior, so-called Ares. Roman copy from a Greek original—this is a plaster replica, the original is now stored in the Museum of the Villa. Canope at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ares is the Greek god of war and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey he’s depicted as one of the 12 Olympians.

He’s often depicted as brutal, violent and merciless, but not invulnerable. He often returns to Olympia after battle complaining of his war wounds. To this Zeus responds with ambivalence, not only about war but about his feelings for Ares:

Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
‘Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympos.
Forever quarrelling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky.”¹

Ares and Aphrodite had three offspring, to include Eros. The Roman parallel to Ares is Mars.



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