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Athena, Heracles, Cycnus, Zeus and Ares | Athenian black-figure hydria C6th B.C. | Toledo Museum of Art
Athena, Heracles, Cycnus, Zeus and Ares, Athenian black-figure hydria C6th B.C., Toledo Museum of Art

ARES was the Olympian god of war, battlelust and manliness.

This page describes benefactions bestowed by the god on men and women in myth. The stories are primarily focused on war in which he intervenes favourably in support of one side or the other. A few tales mention specific items, such as armour and war horses, gifted by the god to his favourites. Ares also appears in a couple metamorphosis myths explaining the origins of his sacred birds.


AMAZONES (Amazons) Ares supported Queen Hippolyte and her Amazones (a tribe of Anatolia) in their wars with Phrygia, Lykia and other Anatolian kingdoms. He later supported Queen Penthesileia and her Amazon army in the war of Troy. The Amazon Queens were daughters of Ares.

BRYGOI (Brygi) Ares fought beside the Brygoi tribe of Epeiros (north-western Greece) in their war against Odysseus and the Thesprotians. Ares fought Athena but the pair were separated by Apollon.

ILLYRIANS Ares supported King Kadmos, Queen Harmonia and the Illyrians (north-west of Greece), in their campaigns against the tribes of the region. Ares' daughter, the Amazon-like Harmonia, rode into battle beside her husband.

PHLEGYES (Phlegyans) Ares supported King Phlegyas and Phlegyes tribe of Thessalia (northern Greece) in their aggressive campaigns against Phokis, Orkhomenos and Thebes.

PYLIANS Ares fought with King Neleus and the Pylians (of Southern Greece) in their fight against Arkadian invaders led by Herakles. The god was wounded in the battle by Herakles.

TROJANS The goddess Aphrodite persuaded Ares to defend the Trojans in their war against the Greeks. Ares was wounded in one of the battles by Diomedes and Athena.


DIOMEDES A king of Bistonia in Thrake (north of Greece), who was given a herd of man-eating mares by his father Ares. Herakles was sent to fetch the mares as one of his twelve labours.

HIPPOLYTE A queen of the Amazones (of Asia Minor), to whom Ares gave his own war-belt (and probably a full set of armour as well) as a symbol of her warrior-spirit. Herakles was sent to fetch the belt as one of his twelve labours. He probably also gave her the flock of arrow-shooting birds which guarded his most important temple amongst the Amazones.

KADMOS & HARMONIA (Cadmus) A king and queen of Illyria (north-west of Greece) who were transformed into serpents by the god Apollon when they sacked his oracle at Loxias. Ares then transferred the pair safely to Elysium (the paradise of the afterlife).

KYKNOS (Cycnus) A warrior of Thessalia (northern Greece) who challenged Herakles to battle. His father Ares stood by his Kyknos' side but was wounded in the fighting by Herakles and Athena.

NISOS (Nisus) A king of Megara (southern Greece) who possessed a purple lock of hair which guaranteed his throne. The magical lock was probably a blessing bestowed by his father Ares. When Nisos' daughter Skylla betrayed him by cutting off the hair, he chased after her, but the girl lept off a cliff before he could catch and punish her. Ares (most likely) then transformed the pair into birds - predator and prey - allowing Nisos to exact his revenge on the girl for eternity.

OINOMAUS (Oenomaus) A king of Pisa in Elis (southern Greece). His father Ares bestowed upon him armour, weapons and a fabulous four-horse war chariot.

PENTHESILEIA A queen of the Amazones (of Asia Minor). Her father Ares bestowed upon her a fabulous set of armour and weapons.

PHLEGYAS A king of Phlegyantis or Trikka in Thessalia (northern Greece), whose armies the god supported in his campaigns against Phokis, Orkhomenos and Thebes.

POLYPHONTE, AGRIOS & OREIOS (Agrius & Oreius) A princess of Edonia in Thrake (north of Greece) and her two half-bear sons. The sons offended the gods with their wickedness and Zeus sent Hermes to punish them. However, Ares intervened, for they were descended from the god, and transformed the twins, their mother and nurse into birds.

TEREUS A king in Thrake (north of Greece) whose wife and sister-in-law slew their infant son and fed him to the king. When he discovered their crime, they fled to escape, and sympathetic gods transformed them into birds - nightingale and swallow. However, Ares (most likely), sympathetic to his son, transformed the king into a hawk, so that he could exact his vengeance for eternity on the two women.


AEETES A warlike king of Kolkhis (on the Black Sea) who earned Ares favour with his devotion and was rewarded with a Drakon to guard the god's sacred grove and its treasure the Golden Fleece. While the Fleece remained in the shrine, Ares guaranteed that Aeetes throne would be secure. The god also bestowed on him the cuirass which he had won in the War with the Gigantes.



LOCALE 1 : Samothrake (Greek Aegean) or Thebes, Boiotia (Central Greece)

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 88 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The gods attended the wedding of Kadmos and Harmonia bringing bridal gifts :] Hermes gave a sceptre, Ares a spear, Apollon a bow."

LOCALE 2 : Illyria (North-West of Greece)

Euripides, Bacchae 1357 ff (trans. Buckley) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[Dionysos addresses Kadmos :] ‘Kadmos, hear what suffering Fate appoints for you. You shall transmute your nature, and become a serpent. Your wife Harmonia, whom her father Ares gave to you, a mortal, likewise shall assume the nature of beasts, and live a snake. The oracle of Zeus foretells that you, at the head of a barbaric horde, shall with your wife drive forth a pair of heifers yoked, and with your countless army destroy many cities; but when they plunder Loxias' [Apollon's] oracle, they shall find a miserable homecoming [transformed by the god into serpents]. However, Ares shall at last deliver both you and Harmonia, and grant you immortal life among the blessed gods.’"

For an ALTERNATIVE version of this myth see Ares Wrath: Cadmus
For MORE information on Ares' daughter see HARMONIA


LOCALE : Megara (Southern Greece)

King Nisos of Megara possessed a purple lock of hair which guaranteed the security of his kingdom, perhaps a blessing bestowed by his father Ares. After his daughter Skylla, betrayed him by cutting off the lock, King Minos of Krete conquered the kingdom. He and his daughter were then transformed into birds: predatory sea-eagle and its prey the ciris (sea-bird). Ares was perhaps responsible for the transformation allowing his son to punish the duplicitous daughter after death. The metamorphosis was similar to that of Ares' son Tereus and his wife.

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 198 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Nisus, son of Mars [Ares], or as others say, of Deion, and king of the Megarians, is said to have had a purple lock of hair on his head. An oracle had told him that he would rule as long as he preserved that lock. When Minos, son of Jove [Zeus], had come to attack him, Scylla, daughter of Nisus, fell in love with him at the instigation of Venus [Aphrodite]. To make him the victor, she cut the fatal lock from her sleeping father, and so Nisus was conquered by Minos. He said that holy Crete would not receive such a criminal. She threw herself into the sea to avoid pursuit. Nisus, however, in pursuit of his daughter, was changed into a palliates, that is, a sea-eagle [perhaps by Ares]. Scylla, his daughter, was changed into a fish which they call the ciris [Greek sources describe this as a sea-bird], and today, if ever that bird sees the fish swimming, he dives into the water, seizes it, and rends it with his claws."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 242 :
"Men who committed suicide ... Nisus, son of Mars [Ares], when he lost his fatal lock of hair, killed himself."


LOCALE : Phlegyantis, Thessalia (Northern Greece)

Ares appears to have ridden into battle beside his warlike son Phlegyas who led campaigns against various kingdoms in northern and central Greece.

Homer, Iliad 13. 299 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Ares strides into battle and Deimos (Terror) goes on beside him . . . these two come out of Thrake to encounter in arms . . . the great-hearted Phlegyes [tribe of Thessalia]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 36. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Tradition has it that Khryse, daughter of Almos, had by Ares a son Phlegyas, who, as Eteokles [king of Orkhomenos and/or the Phlegans] died childless, got the throne . . . In course of time the foolhardy and reckless Phlegyans seceded from Orkhomenos and began to ravage their neighbors . . . That the Phlegyans took more pleasure in war than any other Greeks is also shown by the lines of the Iliad dealing with Ares and his son Phobos (Panic) :--‘They twain were arming themselves for war to go to the Ephyrians, or to the great-hearted Phlegyans.’"


LOCALE : Pisa, Elis (Southern Greece)

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E2. 5 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"He [Oinomaos king of Pisa] offered his daughter in marriage as follows: the suitor had to take Hippodameia on his own chariot and flee as far as the Isthmos of Korinthos. Oinomaos at once gave chase, fully armed with weapons and horses given him by Ares. If he caught them, he killed the suitor . . . he would cut off their heads, and tack them up on his house."

Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 9 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting :] Oinomaos is not far away; nay, his chariot is ready, and on the seat is laid the spear with which to slay the youth when he overtakes him [in the race for his daughter Hippodameia]; and he is hurriedly sacrificing to his father Ares, this man of savage aspect and with murder in his eye."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 84 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Oenomaus, son of Mars [Ares] and Asterope, daughter of Atlas . . . became father of Hippodamia . . . And when many sought her in marriage, he set a contest; and, since he had horses swifter than the wind [the gift of Ares, according to Apollodorus above], he said the would give her to the one who competed with him in a four-horse chariot race and came out ahead, but that the loser should be put to death. Many were put to death. Finally Pelops, son of Tantalus, came, but when he saw fixed above the door the heads of those who had sought Hippodamia as wife, out of fear of the cruelty of the king he regretted having come."


LOCALE : Bistonia, Thrake (North of Greece)

Diomedes was a King of Bistonia in Thrake who owned a herd of man-eating mares. They were probably a gift from his father Ares. One of Herakles twelve labours was to fetch this herd for King Eurystheus.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 96 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Diomedes, son of Ares and Kyrene, was king of the Bistones, a militant Thrakian tribe, and owned man-eating mares."


Ares and fallen Cycnus | Athenian black-figure amphora C6th B.C. | Worcester Art Museum
Ares and fallen Cycnus, Athenian black-figure amphora C6th B.C., Worcester Art Museum

LOCALE : Itonos in Phylake, Thessalia (Northern Greece) or Makedonia (Northern Greece)

Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 57 - 466 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"It was he, Herakles, who killed Kyknos, high-hearted son of Ares, for he came upon him in the precinct of Apollon, who strikes form afar, himself and his father, Ares insatiable in battle, blazing both of them like the light of burning fire in their armour and standing in their chariots, and their running horses trampled and dented the ground with their hooves, and the dust swirled up around them, beaten up between the compacted chariot and the feet of the horses, and the well-put-together chariots and their rails clattered to the gallop of the straining horses, and handsome Kyknos was joyful in his hope of slaughtering the warlike son of Zeus with his bronze spear, and his driver with him, and stripping their glorious armour; but Phoibos Apollon would not listen to his prayers and promises, since he himself had set powerful Herakles against him. And all the grove and the altar of Apollon Pagasaios were lighted up by the dread god, Ares, himself and his armour, and the shining from his eyes was like fire. Who that was only mortal could have been so hardy as to advance upon him except only Herakles and glorious Iolaos? . . .
Now Herakles spoke to his charioteer, strong Iolaos : ‘. . . Fear not the crashing of manslaughtering Ares who now, screaming aloud, courses all over the sacred grove of Phoibos Apollon, the lord of far-ranging arrows. Strong though Ares is, passion for battle is madness.’
In turn again, Iolaos the handsome spoke to him : ‘. . . Come, put on your armour of battle, so that, with all speed, we may bring together the two chariots, our and Ares', and fight, he [Kyknos] will not terrify either yourself, the fearless son of Zeus, nor me, Iphikles' son; no I think rather he must run away before the two children of blameless Alkeides.’ . . .
Meanwhile the goddess, Athene of he gray eyes, came and stood close beside them and spoke to them in encouragement and addressed them in winged words : ‘. . . Zeus, lord over the immortals, grants you triumph, to kill Kyknos, and to strip away his glorious armour. But another thing I will say to you now, O best of all people. After you have robbed Kyknos of the sweetness of life, then you must leave him where he is, and his armour with him, and yourself keep your eye on manslaughtering Ares, as he advances, and where, watching, you see a bare place under the elaborate shield, there stab him with the sharp bronze, then draw back and away; it has not been destined for you to capture either the horses of Kyknos, or his glorious armour.’ . . .
Like a stormcloud, Kyknos breaker of horses and Ares insatiate of battle, and as their horses on either side came facing, they neighed sharply, and the sound of their voices was breaking about them. First of the two heroes to speak was the mighty Herakles : ‘. . . Ares, old friend, will not be able to keep the ending of death from you, if ever we once come together in battle. Even before now, I claim, he [Ares] has at one time had experience of my spear, upon that time when, above sandy Pylos, he stood up against me . . .’
Kyknos, furious to kill the son of powerful Zeus, made a cast into the shield with his brazen spear, but could not break the bronze, and the gift of the god guarded him. And now Amphitryon's son, Herakles the powerful, swiftly struck, and forcibly with the long spear, between helm and shield, where the throat had been left unguarded, beneath the shin, and the manslaughtering ash spear cut through both tendons, for great was the strength of the man that was driven behind it. He fell, then . . . and his armour elaborate with bronze clashed upon him.
Then the stout-hearted son of Zeus [Herakles] left him to lie there and himself kept watch on manslaughtering Ares, as he came onward, keeping his dread eyes upon him, like a lion that has come on a victim, and, with his strong claws . . . such was the son of Amphitryon [Herakles], insatiate of battle, as he stood up to face Ares, advancing on him and swelling the valour within; and the other came close to him, heart vexed with fury, and the two of them, screaming aloud, advanced to encounter. As when a boulder, breaking loose, springs from a great cliff and rolls down in long bounces, and with furious force and crashing noise goes on, but then there is a high cliff standing in its way, and the boulder crashes into it, and is stopped there; with such tumult Ares the destructive, burden of chariots, charged crying aloud on Herakles, who came eagerly to meet him. But now Athene, daughter of Zeus of the aegis, came to stand in the path of Ares, herself wearing the gloomy Aegis. She looked scowling terrible at him and spoke in winged words : ‘Ares, stay now your fury and power, and your hands invincible; for you are not permitted to kill Herakles, the bold-hearted son of Zeus, and then despoil him of his glorious armour; so come, stop this battle, and do not stand up against me.’
So she spoke, but could not persuade the great heart in Ares, but he, screaming aloud, flourishing his spear like a flame, rapidly made his rush against the powerful Herakles, furious to kill him, and cast at him with the bronze spear in anger and resentment for his son who was fallen, and struck the great shield, but gray-eyed Athene, reached out of her chariot, turned aside the shock of the spearhead. The bitter sorrow closed on Ares, and drawing his sharp sword he swept in against Herakles the strong-hearted, but as he came in Amphitryon's son, insatiate of the terrible battle-cry, stabbed with full force into the thigh left bare under the elaborate shield, and twisting with the spear tore a great hole in the flesh, and beat him to the ground between. Then Phobos (Panic) and Deimos (Terror) drove their smooth-running chariot and horses close up to him, and lifted him from the wide-wayed earth and set him in the elaborate chariot and presently lashed on the horses, and they made their way to tall Olympos."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 114 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Herakles set out and reached the river Ekhedoros [in Makedonia], where he was challenged to a duel by Kyknos, son of Ares and Pyrene. Ares seconded Kyknos and got the match going, but then a thunderbolt fell between them and broke up the duel."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 155 :
"As he passed Itonos [in Phylake, Thessalia] Herakles was challenged to a duel by Kyknos, son of Ares and Pelopia; Herakles took him on, and killed him."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 31 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"He [Herakles] killed Cygus, son of Mars [Ares], conquering him by force of arms. When Mars [Ares] came there, and wanted to contend with him in arms because of his son, Jove [Zeus] hurled a thunderbolt between them."


LOCALE : Edonia, Thrake (North of Greece)

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 21 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Thrassa was daughter of Ares and of Tereine daughter of Strymon. Hipponous, son of Triballos [eponym or god of the Triballoi tribe of Thrake], married her and they had a daughter called Polyphonte . . . by daimonic urge she went on heat and coupled with this bear [and] brought forth two children, Agrios and Oreios, huge and of immense strength. They honoured neither god nor man but scorned them all. If they met a stranger they would haul him home to eat.
Zeus loathed them and sent Hermes to punish them in whatever way he chose. Hermes decided to chop of their hands and feet. But Ares, since the family of Polyphonte descended from him, snatched her sons from this fate. With the help of Hermes he changed them into birds.
Polyphonte became a small owl whose voice is heard at night. She does not eat or drink and keeps her head turned down and the tips of her feet turned up. She is a portent of war and sedition for mankind. Oreios became an eagle owl, a bird that presages little good to anyone when it appears. Argios was changed into a vulture, the bird most detested by gods and men. These gods gave him an utter craving for human flesh and blood.
Their female servant was changed into a woodpecker. As she was changing her shape she prayed to the gods not to become a bird evil for mankind. Hermes and Ares heard her prayer because she had by necessity done what her masters had ordered. This a bird of good omen for someone going hunting or to feasts."

For MORE information on these giants see AGRIOS & OREIOS


LOCALE : Thrake (North of Greece)

The wife and sister of King Tereus of Thrake, Prokne and Philomela, fed his own son to the king to punish him for the rape and mutilation of the sister. When the king pursued them seeking vengeance, the pair were transformed by sympathetic gods into a nightingale and swallow. Ares (presumably) then transformed his son Tereus into a hawk, so that he could continue his pursuit and exact vengeance on the pair for eternity.
A similar transformation myth--into predator and prey--is told of Ares' son Nisos and his daughter Skylla.

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 45 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Tereus, cognizant of the crime [his wife and her sister having fed him his own son], was pursuing them as they fled, by the pity of the gods it came about that Progne was changed into a swallow, and Philomela into a nightingale. They say, too, that Tereus was made a hawk."


LOCALE : Kolkhis (Eastern Black Sea)


Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 1227 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Aeetes put on his breast the stiff cuirass which Ares had given him after slaying Mimas with his own hands in the field of Phlegra."


According to a prophecy the throne of King Aeetes of Kolkhis was secure as long as the golden fleece remained within the sacred grove of Ares, probably guaranteed by the god himself. Ares presumably also gave Aeetes the Drakon which guarded this sacred grove and its treasure. From the teeth of this Drakon, Aeetes sowed armed warriors (Spartoi) on the field of Ares. One of Jason's tasks in his quest for the Fleece was to sow these dangerous earth-born warriors. The Drakon of Kolkhis was probably a sibling of the Drakon of Thebes, a guardian of the Theban shrine of Ares, whose teeth similarly sprouted armed warriors when sowed.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 80 & 83 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Aeetes received him [Phrixos] . . . [and he] sacrificed the golden-fleeced ram to Zeus Phyxios, but gave its fleece to Aeetes, who nailed it to an oak tree in a grove of Ares."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 109 :
"[Pelias] commanded Iason to go after the fleece, which was in Kolkhis in a grove of Ares, hanging from an oak tree, and guarded by an ever wakeful Drakon."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 404 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The dark grove of Ares [at Kolkhis] where the [golden] fleece is spread on the top of an oak, watched over by a Drakon (Serpent), a formidable beast who peers all round and never, night or day, allows sweet sleep to conquer his unblinking eyes."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 409 ff :
"Grazing on the plain of Ares, I [Aeetes king of Kolkhis] have a pair of bronze-footed and fire-breathing bulls. These I yoke and drive over the hard fallow of the plain, quickly ploughing a four-acre field up to the ridge on either end. Then I sow the furrows, not with corn, but with the teeth of a monstrous Drakon (Serpent), which presently come up in the form of armed men, whom I cut down and kill with my spear as they rise up against me on all sides."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 47. 1 - 6 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Phrixos . . . was carried to Kholkis, where, as some oracle had commanded, he sacrificed the ram and hung up its fleece as a dedicatory offering in the temple of Ares . . . [Aeetes] threw a wall about the precinct and stationed there many guardians: . . . a sleepless Drakon (Dragon) guarded the fleece."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 3 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"She [Nephele] bade her children [Phrixos and Helle] mount it [the Golden Fleeced ram], and journey to Colchis to King Aeetes, son of Sol (the Sun), and there sacrifice the ram to Mars [Ares]. This they were said to have done . . . Phrixus was carried to Colchis, where, as his mother had bidden, he sacrificed the ram, and placed its golden fleece in the temple of Mars [Ares]--the very fleece which, guarded by a Dracon, it is said Jason, son of Aeson and Alcimede, came to secure."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 12 :
"An oracle bade Pelias, son of Cretheus and Tyro, sacrifice to Neptunus [Poseidon], and told him his death was drawing near if a ‘monocrepis’, that is, a man wearing only one sandal, arrived . . .
[Later Jason appeared in the city wearing one sandal :] Pelias noticed this, remembering the warning of the oracle, he bade him procure from King Aeetes, his enemy, the golden fleece of the ram which Phrixus had dedicated to Mars [Ares] at Colchis." [N.B. Presumably the king presumably wanted the fleece to protect his throne as it reputedly did for King Aeetes.]

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 22 :
"An oracle told Aeetes that he would keep his kingdom as long as the fleece which Phrixus had dedicated should remain in the shrine of Mars [Ares]."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 188 :
"The Aries Chrysomallus (Golden-fleeced Ram) which carried Phrixus to Colchis, and whose fleece, hung in the grove of Mars [Ares], Jason took away."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 101 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The people [of Kolkhis] throng to the sacred field of Mavors [Ares] and fill the heights around [to watch Jason's attempt to yoke the fire-breathing bulls]."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1. 504 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"The lord of War [Ares] gave loud assent [that the Argonauts should not steal the Golden Fleece] and shook his head, for he saw the Fleece assailed that hung as a trophy in his honour."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5. 228 ff :
"The fleece had Phrixus left in Mars' [Ares'] shady grove, a conspicuous memorial of his peril, embracing an oak tree with its glowing metal. Once too did he [Ares] appear, a vast phantom . . . and a great voice spoke forth and struck terror into [Aeetes] ‘. . . Dolour and ruin of thy realm shall abound for thee what time the fleece is stolen from the sleep-drugged grove . . .’
He spoke, and seemed therewith to put forth his hand and proffer the fateful hide, and from the visionary gold there poured a gleam which glanced about the coffered ceiling of the palace. Trembling [Aeetes prayed] ‘Gradivus [Ares], in whose sacred oak the fleece doth glitter, keep watch; present to aid let they arms clash and trumpets sound in they grove nad thy voice ring through the darkness.’
Scarce had he spoken, when a Serpent gliding from the Caucasian mountains, not without the will of the god, entwined all the grove with its circling coils and looked toward the Grecian land. Therefore is he watchful to foil all threats and the dangers foretold by Phrixus."

For MORE information on this dragon-serpent see DRAKON KHOLKIKOS


LOCALE : Pontus (Anatolia)

Ares was the god of the Amazon women who bestowed upon them fighting-spirit. The god presumably led them in their campaigns against Phrygians, Lycians, Athenians and other tribes; and they founded many temples in his honour.

Aeschylus, Eumenides 685 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"And this Hill of Ares (pagos Areion), the seat and camp of the Amazones, when they came with an army in resentment against Theseus, and in those days built up this new citadel with lofty towers to rival his, and sacrificed to Ares, from which this rock takes its name, the Hill of Ares."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 989 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"The Amazones of the Doiantian plain were by no means gentle, well-conducted folk; they were brutal and aggressive, and their main concern in life was war. War, indeed, was in their blood, daughters of Ares as they were and of the Nymphe Harmonia, who lay with the god in the depths of the Akmonion Wood and bore him girls who fell in love with fighting."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 618 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Amazones have joyed in ruthless fight, in charging steeds, from the beginning: all the toil of men do they endure; and therefore evermore the spirit of the War-god thrills them through. They fall not short of men in anything: their labour-hardened frames make great their hearts for all achievement: never faint their knees nor tremble. Rumour speaks their queen to be a daughter of [Ares] the mighty Lord of War. Therefore no woman may compare with her in prowess - if she be a woman, not a God come down in answer to our prayers."

Suidas s.v. Amazoneion (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Amazoneion : A shrine, which [the] Amazons established [to Ares, in Attika?]."

For MYTHS of Ares and the Amazon queens see:
(1) Ares Family Favour: Hippolyte
(2) Ares Family Favour: Penthesileia


LOCALE : Pontus (Anatolia)


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 98 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"As a symbol of her pre-eminence among them [the Amazones], Hippolyte was possessor of the belt of Ares."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 6. 268 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Wrought on the shield [of Eurypylos grandson of Herakles] was one in beauty arrayed as of a Goddess, even Hippolyta. The hero [Herakles] by the hair was dragging her from her swift steed, with fierce resolve to wrest with his strong hands the Girdle Marvellous from the Amazon Queen, while quailing shrank away the Maids of War."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 30 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Twelve Labours of Hercules ordered by Eurystheus . . . He slew Hippolyte, daughter of Mars [Ares] and Queen Otrera, and took from her the belt of the Amazon Queen; then he presented Antiopa as captive to Theseus."


Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 382 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[King Phineus tells the Argonauts of the obstacles they will face on their voyage across the Black Sea :] ‘When you have left these behind [the Mossynoekoi tribe on the southern shore of the Black Sea], you must beach your ship on a low-lying island, though not before you find some means of driving off the innumerable Birds that haunt the lonely shore and pay no deference to man. Her the Queens of the Amazones, Otrere and Antiope [or Hippolyte], built a marble shrine for Ares when they were going to war.’"

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 1033 ff :
"Now a day of rowing had brought them [the Argonauts] almost abreast of Ares' Isle, when they suddenly beheld one of the War-Gods's birds, which haunt the island, darting through the air. Flapping its wings over the moving ship it dropped a pointed [arrow-like] feather down upon her . . . ‘We are close’ he [Amphidamas] said, ‘to the island of Ares. You can tell by these birds . . .’
They did not see a single bird till they reached the island and banged on their shields. Then the birds in their thousands rose into the air and after fluttering about in panic, discharged a heavy shower of feathery darts at the ship as they beat a hasty retreat over the sea towards the mainland hills . . .
The whole party made their way to the temple of Ares to sacrifice some sheep, and quickly took their places around the altar. It was made of small stones and stood outside the temple, which had no roof. But inside, a black rock was fixed in the ground. It was sacred, and all the Amazones used at times to pray to it. But it was not their custom, when they came over from the mainland, to make burnt-offerings of sheep or oxen on this altar. Instead, they used the flesh of horses. They kept great herds of them."

For MORE information on the arrow-winged birds see ORNITHES AREIOI


LOCALE : Pontus & Troy (Anatolia)


Arctinus of Miletus, The Aethiopis Fragment 1 (from Proclus, Chrestomathia 2) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The Amazon Penthesileia, the daughter of Ares and of Thrakian race, comes to aid the Trojans."

Arctinus of Miletus, The Aethiopis Fragment 2 (from Scholiast on Homer's Iliad 24. 804) :
"Then came [to Troy] the Amazon, the daughter of great-souled Ares the slayer of men."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E5. 1 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Penthesileia, the daughter of Otrere and Ares, who had accidentally killed Hippolyte and been purified by Priamos [came with her Amazones to the Trojan War]."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 61 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Peerless amid all the Amazones unto Troy-town Penthesileia came . . . the tireless War-god's child, the mailed maid, like to the Blessed Gods."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 154 ff :
"Slumber mist-like overveiled her eyes depths like sweet dew dropping round. From heavens' blue slid down the might of a deceitful dream at Pallas' [Athena's] hest, that so the warrior-maid [Penthesileia] might see it, and become a curse to Troy and to herself, when strained her soul to meet; the whirlwind of the battle. In this wise Tritogeneia [Athena], the subtle-souled, contrived: stood o'er the maiden's head that baleful dream in likeness of her father [Ares], kindling her fearlessly front to front to meet in fight fleetfoot Akhilleus. And she heard the voice, and all her heart exulted, for she weened that she should on that dawning day achieve a mighty deed in battle's deadly toil. Ah, fool, who trusted for her sorrow a dream out of the sunless land, such as beguiles full oft the travail-burdened tribes of men, whispering mocking lies in sleeping ears, and to the battle's travail lured her then!"


Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 176 ff :
"But when Eos (the Dawn), the rosy-ankled, leapt up from her bed, then, clad in mighty strength of spirit, suddenly from her couch uprose Penthesileia. Then did she array her shoulders in those wondrous-fashioned arms given her of [Ares] the War-god. First she laid beneath her silver-gleaming knees the greaves fashioned of gold, close-clipping the strong limbs. Her rainbow-radiant corslet clasped she then about her, and around her shoulders slung, with glory in her heart, the massy brand whose shining length was in a scabbard sheathed of ivory and silver. Next, her shield unearthly splendid, caught she up, whose rim swelled like the young moon's arching chariot-rail . . . So did it shine unutterably fair. Then on her head she settled the bright helmet overstreamed with a wild mane of golden-glistering hairs. So stood she, lapped about with flaming mail, in semblance like the lightning . . . Then in hot haste forth of her bower to pass caught she two javelins in the hand that grasped her shield-band; but her strong right hand laid hold on a huge halberd, sharp of either blade, which terrible Eris gave to Ares' child to be her Titan weapon in the strife that raveneth souls of men."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 245 ff :
"[When the combined force of Trojans and Amazones entered into battle with the Greeks:] Then unto Kronos' son [Zeus] Laomedon's child [King Priamos] upraised his hands . . . and he prayed : ‘Father, give ear! Vouchsafe that on this day Akhaia's host may fall before the hands of this our warrior-queen, the War-god's child; and do thou bring her back unscathed again unto mine halls: we pray thee by the love thou bear'st to Ares of the fiery heart thy son, yea, to her also! is she not most wondrous like the heavenly Goddesses? And is she not the child of thine own seed? Pity my stricken heart withal! . . . Compassionate us, while a remnant yet remains of noble Dardanos' blood, while yet this city stands unwasted! Let us know from ghastly slaughter and strife one breathing-space!’
In passionate prayer he spake :--lo, with shrill scream swiftly to left an eagle darted by and in his talons bare a gasping dove. Then round the heart of Priamos all the blood was chilled with fear. Low to his soul he said : ‘Ne'er shall I see return alive from war Penthesileia!’ On that selfsame day the Fates prepared his boding to fulfil; and his heart brake with anguish of despair."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 618 ff :
"Amazones have joyed in ruthless fight, in charging steeds, from the beginning: all the toil of men do they endure; and therefore evermore the spirit of the War-god thrills them through. They fall not short of men in anything: their labour-hardened frames make great their hearts for all achievement : never faint their knees nor tremble. Rumour speaks their queen to be a daughter of [Ares] the mighty Lord of War. Therefore no woman may compare with her in prowess--if she be a woman, not a God come down in answer to our prayers."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 762 ff :
"[Penthesileia speaks :] ‘Draw nigh, come through the press to grips with me, so shall ye learn what might wells up in breasts of Amazones. With my blood is mingled war! No mortal man begat me, but [Ares] the Lord of War, insatiate of the battle-cry. Therefore my might is more than any man's.’"


Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 909 ff :
"She [the Amazon Penthesilea] was made a wonder of beauty even in her death by Aphrodite glorious-crowned, the Bride of [Ares] the strong War-god, to the end that he, the son of noble Peleus, might be pierced with the sharp arrow of repentant love. The warriors gazed, and in their hearts they prayed that fair and sweet like her their wives might seem, laid on the bed of love, when home they won. Yea, and Akhilleus' very heart was wrung with love's remorse to have slain a thing so sweet, who might have borne her home, his queenly bride, to chariot-glorious Phthia; for she was flawless, a very daughter of the Gods, divinely tall, and most divinely fair."


Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 923 ff :
"Then Ares' heart was thrilled with grief and rage for his child slain. Straight from Olympos down he darted, swift and bright as thunderbolt terribly flashing from the mighty hand of Zeus, far leaping o'er the trackless sea, or flaming o'er the land, while shuddereth all wide Olympus as it passeth by. So through the quivering air with heart aflame swooped Ares armour-clad, soon as he heard the dread doom of his daughter. For the Aurai (Gales), Boreas the North-wind's fleet-winged daughters, bare to him, as through the wide halls of the sky he strode, the tidings of the maiden's woeful end. Soon as he heard it, like a tempest-blast down to the ridges of Ida leapt he : quaked under his feet the long glens and ravines deep-scored, all Ida's torrent-beds, and all far-stretching foot-hills. Now had Ares brought a day of mourning on the Myrmidones [the men of Akhilleus], but Zeus himself from far Olympos sent mid shattering thunders terror of levin-bolts which thick and fast leapt through the welkin down before his feet, blazing with fearful flames. And Ares saw, and knew the stormy threat of the mighty-thundering Father, and he stayed his eager feet, now on the very brink of battle's turmoil . . .
So Ares, battle-eager Son of Zeus, was stayed, how loth soe'er; for all the Gods to the Ruler of the Blessed needs must yield, seeing he sits high-throned above them all, clothed in his might unspeakable. Yet still many a wild thought surged through Ares' soul, urging him now to dread the terrible threat of Kronos' wrathful Son, and to return heavenward, and now to reck not of his Sire, but with Akhilleus' blood to stain those hands, the battle-tireless. At the last his heart remembered how that many and many a son of Zeus himself in many a war had died, nor in their fall had Zeus availed them aught. Therefore he turned him from the Argives - else, down smitten by the blasting thunderbolt, with Titanes in the nether gloom he had lain, who dared defy the eternal will of Zeus."


Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 1. 1990 ff :
"Then of their pity did the Atreid kings - for these too at the imperial loveliness of Penthesileia marvelled - render up her body to the men of Troy, to bear unto the burg of Ilos [Troy] far-renowned with all her armour. For a herald came asking this boon for Priamos; for the king longed with deep yearning of the heart to lay that battle-eager maiden, with her arms, and with her war-horse, in the great earth-mound of old Laomedon. And so he heaped a high broad pyre without the city wall: upon the height thereof that warrior-queen they laid, and costly treasures did they heap around her, all that well beseems to burn around a mighty queen in battle slain. And so the Fire-god's swift-upleaping might, the ravening flame, consumed her. All around the people stood on every hand, and quenched the pyre with odorous wine. Then gathered they the bones, and poured sweet ointment over them, and laid them in a casket: over all shed they the rich fat of a heifer, chief among the herds that grazed on Ida's slope.
And, as for a beloved daughter, rang all round the Trojan men's heart-stricken wail, as by the stately wall they buried her on an outstanding tower, beside the bones of old Laomedon, a queen beside a king. This honour for Ares' sake they rendered, and for Penthesileia's own."

For MORE information on this Amazon queen see PENTHESILEIA


LOCALE : Pylos (Southern Greece)

Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 357 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"[Herakles addresses Kyknos :] ‘Even before now, I claim, he [Ares] has at one time had experience of my spear, upon that time when, above sandy Pylos, he stood up against me, raging hard in fury for battle, and three times, under the stabling of my spear on his shield, he was knocked down upon the ground, and the fourth time, I thrust with all my rage at his thigh and split a great hole in his his body, and headlong into the dust he tumbled then, under my spearing. And there he might have been disgraced among the gods, if he had gone down under my hands and left the bloody spoils to me.’"

Homer, Iliad 7. 146 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Lykourgos of Pylos killed Ereuthelion of Elis] and he stripped the armour brazen Ares had given him and wore the armour thereafter himself through the grind of battle."


LOCALE : Thesprotia (North-Western Greece)

Cinaethon of Sparta or Eugammon of Cyrene, Telegony Fragment 1 (from Proclus, Chrestomathia 2) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 6th B.C.) :
"[Odysseus then] goes to Thesprotis where he marries Kallidike, queen of the Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians, led by Odysseus, and the Brygoi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollon separates them."






A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.