Word of the Day – Monday, May 13th



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ARES (AIR-eez)

From Greek mythology, the god of war
Common clues: War god; Bellicose god; Son of Zeus; Lover of Aphrodite; Son of Hera; Father of Phobos; Mars, to the Greeks; Trojan ally, in the “Iliad”; Olympian hawk
Crossword puzzle frequency: 9 times a year
Frequency in English language: 54432 / 86800
Great Insults of the Iliad

Ares ("man," "male", "strife"), in Greek mythology, is the god of war and son of Zeus and Hera. Identified with Mars in Roman mythology. He was worshiped primarily in Thracia.

Statue of Ares at Hadrian's Villa

One night, while in bed with Aphrodite, Ares put a youth named Alectryon by his door to guard them. He fell asleep and Helios, the sun, walked in on the couple. Ares turned Alectryon into a rooster, which never forgets to announce the arrival of the sun in the morning.

During the Trojan War, Diomedes fought with Hector and saw Ares fighting on the Trojans' side. Diomedes called for his soldiers to fall back slowly. Hera, Ares' mother, saw Ares' interference and asked Zeus, Ares' father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield. Hera encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares and he threw his spear at the god. Athena drove the spear into Ares' body and he bellowed in pain and fled to Mt. Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back.

In some versions of the story of Adonis, Artemis or Ares (her lover in this story) sent a wild boar to kill Adonis. This version is suspect because it implies that Artemis had sex with Ares and, by virtually all accounts, she remained chaste throughout time.

Although important in poetry and myth, Ares was only rarely the recipient of cult worship. Even then, he was venerated most often in conjunction with other gods; for example, he shared a temple with Aphrodite at Thebes.

Ares Enyalius was sometimes used as an epithet for Ares. Interestingly, the Mycenean Greek Linear B tablets list a god Enyalios, while ares seems to be a common noun meaning "war". By Classical times, however, Enyalios has been demoted to the status of hero (as in the Iliad) and Ares promoted to god. Enyalios survives as a cult-title in only a few settings, most notably in the oath of the ephebes at Athens.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ares".