Ares is the ancient Greek God of War, courage, male virility and strength and one of the Olympian Gods. According to most tradition, Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera though Ovid claims Hera bore him alone (Fasti 5.229)
Ares is a troubling God for some, as the idea of war and bloodlust is abhorrent to many. But war was an everyday reality to the ancient Greeks who lived in an honor society and, although many of us in the first world have the luxury of ignoring its reality, war is a very real part of the daily lives of most citizens of this world.
Like all Gods, Ares should be viewed on multiple levels. He is an individual with a complex personality as well as a force of Nature. War helps keep the human population in check. On an individual level, Ares is our fight or flight response. Ares takes over when more logical means prevail. When talking is over, when planning has failed. We run or we fight. That is Ares.
Lovers and Children
Ares is most notably the lover of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Passion. She bore Anteros, Deimos, Eros, The Erotes, Harmonia, and Phobos. The relationship between War and Passion, Love and Violence should be deeply meditated upon.
He also mated with Aerope, Astyokhe who bore him Askalaphos and Ialmenos, Demonike who bore him Euenos, Molos, Pylos and Thestios, Enyo who bore him Enyalios, Phylomene who bore him Lykastos and Parrhasios, and Ilia or Rhea Silvia who bore him Remus and Romulus (or was that Mars?).
The Drakon Ismenian, which guarded the Ismenian spring of Thebes was said to be a son of Ares by the Erinys Telphousia. The drakon was slain by Kadmos.
Symbols of Ares
Ares’s spirit animals are the dog, and the vulture. Also sacred to him are the barn owl, the woodpecker and the eagle owl. Ares has brazen armor, a spear and a chariot drawn by four immortal, fire-breathing stallions.