Ares, the god of war: His role in battle and his character

Do you know the excitement and thrill that precede a great battle? These are the feelings of Ares, the fearsome god of war in Greek mythology. Such is his renown in the history of the Olympian gods that he enhances the pantheon of divinities with his strength and bravery. This article delves into the heart of the myths and reveals how Ares influenced the art of ancient warfare and continues to leave his mark on the collective imagination. Get ready to discover his origins, legends and legacy!


Origins and genealogy of Ares

Son of Zeus and Hera, Ares represents the quintessence of strength and virility in battle. He is the father of many children, including the Amazons, Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror), as well as the famous Eros, fathered with the love goddess Aphrodite. His family relationships are, like his battlefields, tumultuous and complex.

Ares in mythology

Famous legends and myths

  • A clash with Heracles: Ares and the Greek hero clashed several times, illustrating the eternal conflict between brute and heroic strength.
  • Infidelity with Aphrodite and the birth of Eros**: the scandalous union of Ares and Aphrodite symbolizes the eternal interplay between love and war.
  • Other stories involving Ares: Notably his capture by the giants Aleos and Othon, proving that even gods can experience captivity.

Ares' role in Homer's Iliad

In the famous epic "Iliad", Ares is presented as a volatile god, changing sides and inciting violence, a powerful actor in the terrible conflicts described by Homer.

The character of Ares

Representations and attributes

  • Weapons and armor: Always depicted in armor, he is the embodiment of warrior equipment par excellence.
  • Associated animals**: The boar and the vulture, symbols of destruction and death, are often linked to Ares.

Personality traits

  • Bloodlust and aggression: His presence on the battlefield is synonymous with carnage.
  • Contested courage and heroism**: Some stories celebrate his valor, while others criticize him for his quarrelsome spirit.
  • Ares in ancient literature and philosophy**: Ancient authors often used him to explore the darker aspects of warfare.

Ares worship and ritual practices

Ancient Greek worship centers

Sparta was a major center of Ares worship, where his warrior qualities were venerated.

Ceremonies and sacrifices

Ares received offerings from animals and possibly from fallen warriors symbolizing the circle of death and survival in war.

Comparison of the cult of Ares with that of other martial deities

Unlike Athena, goddess of military strategy, the cult of Ares focused on fury and raw power.

Ares in battle

Symbolic and literal role in war

Ares has inspired warriors through the ages, becoming a symbol of invincible strength and terror on the battlefield.

Influence on ancient military strategies

Generals invoked Ares for courage, although they often preferred the wisdom of Athena for strategy.

Historical examples of invoking Ares before battle

Many commanders called upon Ares to galvanize their troops and instill fear in their enemies.

Ares' posterity in contemporary cultures

Ares in modern art, literature and film

Ares continues to feature in popular culture, often representing the antagonist for modern heroes.

Psychological and cultural interpretations of Ares

His character is often analyzed as a reflection of the aggressive aspects of mankind.

Comparison with war god figures in other


Ares shares similarities with other martial figures such as the Norse god Thor or the Roman god Mars.


Summary of Ares' impact on mythology and war

Ares remains a central figure in ancient Greek war stories and in our cultural understanding of battle.

Continuing influence of Ares in the collective imagination

Ares' legacy extends far beyond ancient texts, still prompting reflection on the nature of war and conflict today.

Perspective on the legacy of Ares in the modern context

Ares reminds us that war, though sometimes glorified, carries within it the seeds of destruction as well as the potential for courage and heroism.


Consult our extensive bibliography to deepen your knowledge of the god of war, including ancient texts, contemporary studies and literary analyses.


Representative images of Ares in ancient art

Discover the fascinating iconography of the god throughout the history of art.

Correspondence table of war deities in different


An interesting comparative table to discover the equivalents of Ares at across the world's cultures.