Ares: The God of War
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Greek mythology is one of the greatest creations created of all times. It is filled with vivid and descriptive stories about the Greek gods and heroes that were part of their religion in that time. Greeks worshipped each of these gods and heroes, also creating different temples in various cities. As a result, many of these gods still have enormous influences on how our world works today. One of those gods, the Greek god of war, exemplifies many qualities which many people expect from him, although strongly disliked by most. The Greek God of war, Ares, is the son of Zeus and Hera (Van Aken 18), and has had difficulties living in the world of the Greeks, whilst many different views have been given of him. For example, in early Greek vases, Ares was depicted as an old and seasoned warrior with a shield and a helmet, but in later vases, he was seen as more youthful and less warlike (Van Aken 18).
Ares, as the god of war, has an emblem of a wild boar and a bloodstained spear. These are supposed to represent his strength and ruthless urge to fight (Graves 9). However, Ares is also sometimes associated with vultures and dogs. He delights in the pure destruction of war, and enjoys seeing people suffer (Van Aken 18). The true testament of his cruelty however lies within how his throne has been made. Custom built, his throne that sits opposite to Aphrodite is built of brass, strong and ugly, while the huge brass knobs on the edges are in the shape of skulls, finally covered with human skin (Graves 8-9)! In this way, many people have detested him for his disturbing nature and his way of fighting (Van Aken 18), however, there are also a few people that liked him for one reason or the other (Osborn 86).
Ares was a god that was hard to like, with his cruelty and aggressiveness always getting in the way (Aken 18). Wherever he goes, he always uses his thunderous voice to aggravate or influence people, which cause them to cower before Ares, but not with respect (Aken 18). Every time that he goes upon the battlefield, his temper is like a monstrous fiend, crushing anyone in his way, relentless and oblivious to the wanton destruction appearing before him (Sabin 99). Through this, many people started to detest his way of fighting, hoping for a more peaceful way to fight. However, he disregards most of these comments and proceeds to also change sides whenever he feels like it.
Whenever this happens, both sides of the war start to consider him less trustworthy, causing Ares to almost fight on his own side (Osborn 86). An interesting case to note is that while Ares is not in war, he still has the desire to kill, as in the example of being the first god tried for murdering a person, Halirrhothius. (Osborn 85) In this case set upon a hill, Ares claims in his defense that Halirrhothius had attempted to rape Ares’ daughter Alcippe, and so in the process to protect her he killed Halirrhothius. The only witness to Ares’ testimony was Alcippe herself, and she quickly confirms her father’s story. Therefore, the court judges Ares as not guilty. However, the place that Ares was judged became known as the “Hill of Ares” or the Areopagus, which later becomes the Athenian court of law (Osborn 85).
Even though most people do detest Ares, there are a few that actually like him (Osborn 86). One of them is the most beautiful goddess in Olympus, Aphrodite. Even though Aphrodite has been Hephaestus’s wife, she as the goddess of love, could never stand having just a husband to love. Therefore, she has gone on many nighttime strolls and other affairs with Ares. The reason that Aphrodite loved him is probably because he was strong and handsome, but most people do not understand how he can be loved with so rough a temper. The conclusion that people have derived from these clues are that Aphrodite charmed Ares with her golden bridle into being calmer, as they often giggle together (Graves 8). Another person that is in favor of Ares is the god of the underworld, Hades. He may not necessarily like Ares’ temper or his way of fighting, but it brings about good business, so Hades likes being on good terms with the god of war (Graves 73). Then, the third and last person that does not detest him would be the goddess of discord, Eris, (Osborn 86), who “appreciated the way he took her work to a whole new level” (Osborn 86).
Ares is a god that is not favored by most, and stands alone as just a pure symbol of war and its disastrous effects. Throughout the course of time, his physical appearance judged by people has changed, but his chaotic temper and love for destruction are still recognized anywhere on the battlefield (Van Aken 18). Since Ares has been hated so much, there is virtually no place where he is worshipped, and the only place that he is even remotely talked about is in Thrace, where a rude, fierce people with tempers similar to Ares live (Hamilton 35). The god of war has a great title and position that could have made him revered by all, but through his personality, his popularity and went south, and has never recovered.