Why are these two gods the only passionate lasting truly romantic lovers in all of Greek and Roman mythology?
Why was Ares the true love of the Goddess of Love? Bloodthirsty Ares, Ares the destroyer, despised Ares, Ares god of war. Ares hated by Olympians, distrusted by all except Aphrodite. Why? Good Male Passion.
He was not considered the strongest god — even Aphrodite’s legal husband Hephaestus, patron of blacksmiths, might have been stronger. Most gods were physically fit: Apollo beat Ares at Olympic boxing; the physically strongest was Hercules. Ares is never portrayed as a hulking giant.
Rape is a constant theme in mythology. Isn’t it strange there is not a single attribution of non-consensual sex to him. That is important. It is exceptionally unusual. Character defining.
The friends of Ares with whom he walks through Thracian woods deep in thought are Themis, the personification of Divine Law, and Dike, the personification of Justice and Fair Judgement.
There are other names for this misunderstood archetype — portraits now forgotten in popular culture: Leader of Righteous Men, Defender of Cities, Father of Victory, Ally of Divine Law, Friend of Justice. Bold Ares. Courageous Ares. Loyal, Trustworthy Righteous Indignation Incarnate.
Prayers to Ares ask for help avoiding the folly of personal hubris and blind arrogance, weaknesses attributed to this archetype. Ares was expected to marry Aphrodite. In mythology Zeus offered her to anyone able to open her cage. Ares’ over-confident raw passion failed, rendering Aphrodite and Ares heart-broken; the cunning inventions of Hephaestus, blacksmith to the gods, won her legal marriage.
These personifications of Male and Female passion nevertheless had six children: Harmonia, Eros, Phobos, Demos (Dread), Adrestia (Revenge), and Anteros (Requited Love). They continued their love despite her husband.
I am fascinated by this undomesticated hero, this bane of tyrants, leader of rebels, maker of civil unrest. I am also disgusted this personality-type which once served as an ancient noble role-model has been blasphemed as bloodthirsty, impetuous, and unkind.
Ares personifies the difference between a Good Man and a sycophantic Nice Guy. The former stands up for brutal virtues, leading to depth of character, responsibility, and passion-filled life purpose; the later submits to whims, purposes of others — everything: his soul, his heart, his goals, his love…always approachable, endlessly patient, a polite woman with ED. (It’s interesting the sister of Ares, Athena, goddess of wealth, wisdom, strategic warfare — is a virgin.)
Aphrodite loved Ares. His person, spirit, sense of self. In Strong Hearted Ares she met a man with a beautiful mission unswayed. Ares could speak to the most irresistible goddess as a person. He could care for her interests apart from his physical desire. Ares’ strength was to see her beauty while retaining his. Upon Aphrodite other gods fawned, lost composure, flattered and grasped. They became meek and mild: pristine, clean, smooth, soft, unscarred, flatterers — dishonest hypocrites. Pleasant. Unconfrontational.
In Ares, Aphrodite found the archetypical male, a man pursuing his own righteous interests. She found a friend who would place her “inside the shield,” someone who would stand up for and protect her, but also tell her the truth, encourage her potential, and withstand shallow pleas and supplications. Aphrodite found a friend. Ares Gravitas. A companion. Theirs was true love.
Friends of Ares:
Children with Aphrodite:
Update: A Sundial that Shows Solstice “Explanation: What time is it? If the time and day are right, this sundial will tell you: SOLSTICE. Only then will the Sun be located just right for sunlight to stream through openings and spell out the term for the longest and shortest days of the year. And that happened last week and twice each year. The sundial was constructed by Jean Salins in 1980 and is situated at the Ecole Supérieure des Mines de Paris in Valbonne Sophia Antipolis of south-eastern France. On two other days of the year, watchers of this sundial might get to see it produce another word: EQUINOXE.” Image Credit & Copyright: Jean-Marc Mari
Virtual books at the British Library are pretty cool, especially interesting are Lewis Carroll’s personal illustrations in his hand-written draft of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” (which even includes a photo of the original Alice). Also available are a sketchbook of da Vinci, Mozart’s musical diary (with audio excerpts), and a notebook of Blake (with sketches). Enjoy!