ARES MYTHS 2
ARES was the Olympian god of war, battlelust and manliness.
This page describes the appearances of the god in the Trojan War including his wounding by Diomedes, grief at the death his son Askalaphos, battle with the goddess Athena and presence at the fall of the city.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
ARES & THE TROJAN WAR
I. THE WEDDING OF PELEUS & THETIS
Like the rest of the gods, Ares was invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. It was there that Eris cast the golden apple of discord amongst the goddesses, the first incident in a series of events which led to the Trojan War.
Colluthus, Rape of Helen 14 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to 6th A.D.) :
"At the bidding of Zeus, Ganymede poured the wine [at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis]. And all the race of gods hasted to do honour to the white-armed bride [Thetis], own sister of Amphitrite: Zeus from Olympos and Poseidon from the sea . . . And iron Ares, even as, helmetless nor lifting warlike spear, he comes into the house of Hephaistos, in such wise without breastplate and without whetted sword danced smilingly [at the wedding]."
II. ARES PERSUADED BY APHRODITE TO SUPPORT THE TROJANS
At the outset of the Trojan War the gods seperated into pro-Greek and pro-Trojan factions. Ares, was indifferent, and at first promised his mother Hera and sister Athena that he would side with the Greeks in the War. However, Aphrodite convinced him to break his alliance and join her in support of the Trojans.
Homer, Iliad 5. 699 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Athena speaks :] ‘Violent Ares, that thing of fury, evil-wrought, that double-faced liar who even now protested to Hera and me, promising that he would fight against the Trojans and stand by the Argives. Now, all promises forgotten, he stands by the Trojans.’"
Homer, Iliad 21. 391 ff :
"[Athena wounds Ares and accuses him :] ‘You are paying atonement to your mother's [Hera's] furies since she is angry and wishes you ill, because you abandoned the Akhaians, and have given your aid to the insolent Trojans.’ "
III. ARES DRIVES THE TROJANS IN BATTLE, WOUNDED BY DIOMEDES
The Iliad of Homer begins with the mustering of the Trojan army, newly bolstered by troops sent by her allies in Anatolia in Thrake. The Greeks had returned to besiege Troy itself, after having laid waste to the countryside and the lesser towns of the Troad. As soon as the fighting commenced, the gods descended onto the battlefield in support of their favourites. Ares led the Trojans, but was wounded by Diomedes and Athena, and driven from the battlefield.
Homer, Iliad 4. 436 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The cry of the Trojans went up through the wide army [as Troy and its allies engage the Greeks in the battle]. Since there was no speech nor language common to all of them but their talk was mixed, who were called there from many far places. Ares drove these on, and the Akhaians grey-eyed Athene, and Deimos (Terror) drove them, and Phobos (Fear), and Eris (Hate) whose wrath is relentless, she the sister and companion of murderous Ares."
Homer, Iliad 5. 27 ff :
"Now as the high-hearted Trojans watched the two [Trojan] sons of Dares, one running away, and one cut down by the side of his chariot [by the Greeks], the anger in all of them was stirred. But grey-eyed Athene took violent Ares by the hand, and in words she spoke to him : ‘Ares, Ares, manslaughtering, blood-stained, stormer of strong walls, shall we not leave the Trojans and Akhaians to struggle after whatever way Zeus father grants glory to either while we two give ground together and avoid Zeus' anger?’
So she spoke, and led violent Ares out of the fighting and afterwards caused him to sit down by the sands of Skamandros while the Danaans [Greeks] bent the Trojans back."
Homer, Iliad 5. 352 ff :
"[Aphrodite was wounded by the hero Diomedes in the Trojan War whilst trying to rescue her son Aeneas:] The goddess departed in pain, hurt badly, and Iris wind-footed took her by the hand and led her away from the battle, her lovely skin blood-darkened, wounded and suffering. There to the left of the fighting she found Ares the violent [where Athena had left him], sitting, his spear leaned into the mist, and his swift horses. Dropping on one knee before her beloved brother in deep supplication she asked for his gold-bridled horses : ‘Beloved brother, rescue me and give me your horses so I may come to Olympos where is the place of the immortals. I am in too much pain from the wound of a mortal's spear-stroke, Tydeus' son, who would fight now even against Zeus the father.’
So she spoke, and Ares gave her the gold-bridled horses, and, still grieved in the inward heart, she mounted the chariot and beside her entering Iris gathered the reins up and whipped them into a run, and they winged their way unreluctant. Now as they came to sheer Olympos, the place of the immortals, there swift Iris the wind-footed reined in her horses and slipped them from the yoke and threw fodder immortal before them."
Homer, Iliad 5. 454 ff :
"Phoibos Apollon [also an ally of the Trojans, rescued Aeneas from battle after Aphrodite's failed attempt] spoke now to violent Ares : ‘Ares, Ares, manslaughtering, blood-stained, stormer of strong walls, is there no way you can go and hold back this man from the fighting, Tydeus' son [Diomedes], who would now do battle against Zeus father? Even now he stabbed in her hand by the wrist the lady of Kypros [Aphrodite], and again, like more than a man, charged even against me.’
So he spoke, and himself alighted on the peak of Pergamos while stark Ares went down to stir the ranks of the Trojans, in the likeness of the lord of the Thrakians, swift-footed Akamas, and urged onward the god-supported children of Priamos : ‘O you children of Priamos, the king whom the gods love, how long will you allow the Akhaians to go on killing your people? Until they fight beside the strong-builded gates? A man lies fallen whom we honoured as we honour Hektor the brilliant, Aineias, who is son of great Ankhises. Come then, let us rescue our good companion from the carnage.’ So he spoke, and stirred the sprits and the strength in each man."
Homer, Iliad 5. 506 ff :
"[The Trojans] drove the strength of their hands straight on, as violent Ares defending the Trojans mantled in dark night the battle and passed everywhere, since he was carrying out the commandments of Phoibos Apollon, him of the golden sword, who had bidden him wake the heart in the Trojans as he saw that Pallas Athene was gone now, she who stood to defend the Danaans."
Homer, Iliad 5. 518 ff :
"Their [the Trojans'] fighting work which . . . the silver-bow god [Apollon] woke, and manslaughtering Ares, and Eris (Hate), whose wrath is relentless."
Homer, Iliad 5. 563 ff :
"[Menelaos] strode out among the champions, helmed in bright bronze, shaking his spear, and the fury of Ares drove him onward, minded that he might go down under the hands of [Trojan] Aineias."
Homer, Iliad 5. 592 ff :
"Hektor [the Trojan prince] . . . drove on against them [the Greeks] crying aloud, and with him followed the Trojan battalions in their strength; and Ares led them with the goddess Enyo, she carrying with her the turmoil of shameless hatred while Ares made play in his hands with spear gigantic and ranged now in front of Hektor and now behind him. Diomedes of the great war cry shivered as he saw him [for Athene had given him the ability to see gods] . . . and gave back, and spoke to his people : ‘Friends, although we know the wonder of glorious Hektor to be a fighter with the spear and a bold man of battle, yet there goes ever some god beside him, who beasts of destruction, and now, in the likeness of a man mortal, Ares goes with him. Come then, keeping your faces turned to the Trojans, give ground backward, nor be we eager to fight in strength with divinities.’"
Homer, Iliad 5. 699 ff :
"The Argives under the strength of Ares and bronze-armoured Hektor did not ever turn their backs and make for their black ships nor yet stand up to them in fighting, but always backward gave way, as they saw how Ares went with the Trojans. Who then was the first and who the last that they slaughtered, Hektor, Priamos' son, and Ares the brazen? Godlike Teuthras first, and next Orestes, driver of Horses, Trekhos the spearman of Aitolia and Oinomaos, Helenos son of Oinops and Oresbios of the shining guard . . . Now as the goddess Hera of the white armed [on Olympos] perceived how the Argives were perishing in the strong encounter, immediately she spoke to Pallas Athene her winged words : ‘For shame, now, Atrytone, daughter of Zeus of the aegis : nothing then meant the word we promised to Menelaos, to go home after sacking the strong-walled city of Ilion, if we are to let cursed Ares be so furious. Come then, let us rather think of our own stark courage.’
[The two goddesses then departed for Troy to assist the Greeks] . . .
[They passed Zeus who was seated on the peak of Olympos and] Hera stopping her horses, spoke to Zeus, high son of Kronos, and asked him a question : ‘Father Zeus, are you not angry with Ares for his violent acts, for killing so many and such good Akhaian warriors for no reason, and out of due order, to grieve me? And meanwhile Kypris [Aphrodite] and Apollon of the silver bow take their ease and their pleasure having let loose this maniac who knows nothing of justice. Father Zeus, would you be angry with me if I were to smite Ares with painful strokes and drive him out of the fighting?’
Then in turn the father of gods and men made answer : ‘Go to it then, and set against him the spoiler Athene, who beyond all others is the one to visit harsh pains upon him.’
So he spoke, nor did the goddess of the white arms, Hera, disobey, but lashed on the horses [descending to the battlefield of Troy] . . .
[Athene appears before Diomedes and urges him on :] ‘Now beside you also I stand and ever watch over you, and urge you to fight confidently with the Trojans . . .’
Then in answer Diomedes spoke to her : ‘Daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis, goddess, I know you, and therefore will speak confidently to you, and hide nothing. It is no poor-spirited fear nor shrinking that holds me. Rather I remember the orders you yourself gave me when you would not let me fight in the face of the blessed immortals - the rest of them, except only if Aphrodite, Zeus' daughter, went into the fighting, I might stab her with the sharp bronze. Therefore now have I myself given way, and I ordered the rest of the Argives all to be gathered in this place beside me, since I see that this who is lord of the fighting is Ares.’
Then in turn the goddess grey-eyed Athene answered him : ‘Son of Tydeus, you who delight my heart, Diomedes, no longer be thus afraid of Ares, nor of any other immortal; such a helper shall I be standing beside you. Come then, first against Ares steer your single-foot horses, and strike him from close. Be not afraid of violent Ares, that thing of fury, evil-wrought, that double-faced liar who even now protested to Hera and me, promising that he would fight against the Trojans and stand by the Argives. Now, all promises forgotten, he stands by the Trojans.’
So speaking she pushed Sthenelos [the charioteer of Diomedes] to the ground from the chariot, driving him back with her hand, and he leapt away from it lightly, and she herself, a goddess in anger, stepped in to the chariot beside brilliant Diomedes, and the oaken axle groaned aloud under the weight, carrying the dread goddess and a great man. Pallas Athene then took up the whip and the reins, steering first of all straight on against Ares the single foot horses. Ares was in the act of striping gigantic Periphas, shining son of Okheios, far the best of the men of Aitolia. Blood-stained Ares was in the act of stripping him. But Athene put on the helm of Death [Haides], that stark Ares might not discern her.
Now as manslaughtering Ares caught sight of Diomedes the brilliant, he let gigantic Periphas lie in the place where he had first cut him down and taken the life away from him, and made straight against Diomedes, breaker of horses. Now as they in their advance had come close together, Ares lunged first over the yoke and the reins of his horses with the bronze spear, furious to take the life from him. But the goddess grey-eyed Athene in her hand catching the spear pushed it away from the car, so he missed and stabled vainly. After him Diomedes of the great war cry drove forward with the bronze spear; and Pallas Athene, leaning in on it, drove it into the depth of the belly where the war belt girt him. Picking this place she stabbed and driving it deep in the air flesh wrenched the spear out again. Then Ares the brazen bellowed with a sound as great as nine thousand men make, or ten thousand, when they cry as they carry in to the fighting the fury of the war god. And a shivering seized hold alike on Akhaians and Trojans in their feet at the bellowing of battle-insatiate Ares.
As when out of the thunderhead the air shows darkening after a day's heat when the storm wind uprises, thus to Tydeus' son Diomedes Ares the brazen showed as he went up with the clouds into the wide heaven. Lightly he came to the gods' citadel, headlong Olympos, and sat down beside Kronian Zeus, grieving in his spirit, and showed him the immortal blood dripping from the spear cut. So in sorrow for himself he addressed him in winged words : ‘Father Zeus, are you not angry looking on these acts of violence? We who are gods forever have to endure the most horrible hurts, by each other's hatred, as we try to give favour to mortals. It is your fault we fight, since you brought forth this maniac daughter accursed, whose mind is fixed forever on unjust action. For all the rest, as many as are gods on Olympos, are obedient to you, and we all have rendered ourselves submissive. Yet you say nothing and you do nothing to check this girl, letting her go free, since yourself you begot this child of perdition. See now, the son of Tydeus, Diomedes the haughty, she has egged on to lash out in fury against the immortal gods. First he stabbed the Kyprian [Aphrodite] in the arm by the wrist. Then like something more than human he swept on even against me. But my swift feet took me out of the way. Otherwise I should long be lying there in pain among the stark dead men, or go living without strength because of the strokes of the bronze spear.’
Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him : ‘Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar. To me you are the most hateful of all the gods who hold Olympos. Forever quarrelling is dear to your heart, wars and battles. Truly the anger of Hera your mother is grown out of all hand nor gives ground; and try as I may I am broken by her arguments, and it is by her impulse, I think, you are suffering all this. And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you. But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky.’
So he spoke, and told Paieon to heal him; and scattering medicines to still pain upon him Paieon rendered him well again, since he was not made to be one of the mortals. As when the juice of a fig in white milk rapidly fixes that which was fluid before and curdles quickly for one who stirs it; in such speed as this he healed violent Ares; and Hebe washed him clean and put delicate clothing upon him. And rejoicing in the glory of his strength he sat down beside Kronion.
Meanwhile, the two went back again to the house of great Zeus, Hera of Argos, with Athene who stands by her people, after they stopped the murderous work of manslaughtering Ares."
IV. ARES MOURNS THE DEATH OF HIS SON ASKALAPHOS
Zeus had promised Thetis that he would give glory to the Trojans until her son Akhilleus had been mollified by the Greek leader Agamemnon. In accordance with this, he commanded the gods to withdraw from the battlefield. However in the fighting which ensued, Ares' son Askalaphos was slain. Ares would have rushed down to the battlefield to avenge him, but was restrained by Athena.
Homer, Iliad 13. 521 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Deiphobos [of Troy] made a cast with the shining spear . . . and struck down with the spear the War God's son Askalaphos, so that the powerful spear was driven through his shoulder, and he dropping in the dust clawed the ground with his fingers. But Ares the huge and bellowing had yet heard nothing of how his son had fallen there in the strong encounter but he, sheltered under the golden clouds on utmost Olympos, was sitting, held fast by command of Zeus, where the rest of the immortal gods were sitting still, in restraint from the battle."
Homer, Iliad 15. 110 ff :
"Hera spoke before them all [the gods on Olympos] in vexation : ‘. . . I think already a sorrow has been wrought against Ares. His son has been killed in the fighting, dearest of all men to him, Askalaphos, whom stark Ares calls his own son.’
So she spoke. Then Ares struck against both his big thighs with the flats of his hands, and spoke a word of anger and sorrow : ‘Now, you who have your homes on Olympos, you must not blame me for going among the ships of the Akhaians, and avenging my son's slaughter, even though it be my fate to be struck by Zeus' thunderbolt, and sprawl in the blood and dust by the dead men.’
So he spoke, and ordered Phobos (Fear) and Deimos (Terror) to harness his horses, and himself got into his shining armour. And there might have been wrought another anger, and bitterness from Zeus, still greater, more wearisome among the immortals, had not Athene, in her fear for the sake of all the gods, sprung up and out through the forecourt, left her chair where she was sitting, and taken the helmet off from his head, the shield from his shoulders, and snatched out of his heavy hand the bronze spear, and fixed it apart, and then in speech reasoned with violent Ares : ‘Madman, mazed of your wits, this is ruin! Your ears can listen still to reality, but your mind is gone and your discipline. Do you not hear what the goddess Hera of the white arms tells us, and she coming back even now from Zeus of Olympos? Do you wish, after running the course of many misfortunes yourself, still to come back to Olympos under compulsion though reluctant, and plant seed of great sorrow among the rest of us? Since he will at once leave the Akhaians and the high-hearted Trojans, and come back to batter us on Olympos and will catch up as they come the guilty one and the guiltless. Therefore I ask of you to give up your anger for your son. By now some other, better of his strength and hands than your son was, has been killed, or will soon be killed; and it is a hard thing to rescue all the generation and seed of all mortals.’
So she spoke, and seated on a chair violent Ares."
V. THE GODS RETURN TO TROY, ARES FELLED BY ATHENA
After the death of Patroklos, Akhilleus was agreed to reconcile himself with Agamemnon and rejoin the war. Zeus then allowed the gods to return to Troy. The divine factions immediately broke out into open conflict, in which Aphrodite and Ares were felled by Athena.
Homer, Iliad 20. 38 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Zeus addresses the gods :] ‘All you go down, wherever you may go among the Akhaians and Trojans and give help to either side, as your own pleasure directs you . . .’
So spoke the son of Kronos [Zeus] and woke the incessant battle, and the gods went down to enter the fighting . . . Ares of the shining helm went over to the Trojans, and with him Phoibos of the unshorn hair, and the lady of arrows Artemis, and smiling Aphrodite, Leto and [the river-god] Xanthos . . .
After the Olympians merged in the men's company strong Eris (Hatred), defender of peoples, burst out, and Athene bellowed . . . while on the other side Ares in the likeness of a dark stormcloud bellowed, now from the peak of the citadel urging the Trojans sharply on, now running beside the sweet banks of Simoeis. So the blessed gods stirring on the opponents drove them together, and broke out among themselves the weight of their quarrel . . . A crash sounded as the gods came driving together in wrath. For now over against Lord Poseidon Phoibos Apollon took his stand with his feathered arrows, and against Enyalios [Ares] the goddess grey-eyed Athene."
Homer, Iliad 20. 138 ff :
"[Poseidon addresses Hera :] ‘Let us go away and sit down together off the path at a viewing place, and let the men take care of their fighting. Only if Ares begins to fight, or Phoibos Apollon, or if they hold Akhilleus back and will not let him fight, then at once they will have a quarrel with us on their hands in open battle. But soon, I think, when they have fought with us they will bet back to Olympos and the throng of the other gods beaten back by the overmastering strength of our hands.’ . . .
Poseidon and the other gods who were with him sat down and gathered a breakless wall of cloud to darken their shoulders; while they of the other side sat down on the brows of the sweet bluffs around you, lord Apollon, and Ares sacker of cities. So they on either side took their places, deliberating counsels, reluctant on both sides to open the sorrowful attack. But Zeus sitting on high above urged them on."
Homer, Iliad 21. 391 ff :
"[The two factions of gods then engaged each other in open conflict :] Upon the other gods descended the wearisome burden of hatred, and the wind of their fury blew from division, and they collided with a grand crash, the broad earth echoing and the huge sky sounded as with trumpets. Zeus heard it from where he sat on Olympos, and was amused in his deep heart for pleasure, as he watched the gods' collision in conflict. Thereafter they stood not long apart from each other, for Ares began it, the shield-stabber, and rose up against Athene with the brazen spear in his hand, and spoke a word of revilement : ‘Why once more, you dogfly, have you stirred up trouble among the gods with the blast of your blown fury, and the pride of your heart driving you? Do you not remember how you set on Diomedes, Tydeus' son, to spear me, and yourself laying hold of the far-seen pike pushed it straight into me and tore my skin in its beauty. So no I am minded to pay you back for all you have done to me.’
He spoke, and stabbed against the ghastly aegis with fluttering straps, which gives way not even before the bolt of Zeus' lightning. There blood-dripping Ares made his stab with the long spear, but Athene giving back caught up in her heavy hand a stone that lay in the plain, black and rugged and huge, one which men of a former time had set there as boundary mark of the cornfield. With this she hit furious Ares in the neck, and unstrung him. He spread over seven acres in his fall, and his hair dragged in the dust, and his armour clashed. But Pallas Athene laughing stood above him and spoke to him in the winged words of triumph : ‘You child; you did not think even this time how much stronger I can claim I am than you, when you match your fury against me. Therefore you are paying atonement to your mother's furies since she is angry and wishes you ill, because you abandoned the Akhaians, and have given your aid to the insolent Trojans.’
She spoke, and turned the shining of her eyes away. But taking Ares by the hand the daughter of Zeus Aphrodite, led him away, groaning always, his strength scarce gathered back into him. But now, as the goddess of the white arms, Hera, noticed her immediately she spoke to Pallas Athene her winged words : ‘For shame now, Atrytone, daughter of Zeus of the aegis. Here again is this dogfly leading murderous Ares out of the fighting and through the confusion. Quick, go after her!’
She spoke, and Athene swept in pursuit, heart full of gladness, and caught up with her and drove a blow at her breasts with her ponderous hand, so that her knees went slack and the heart inside her. Those two both lay sprawled on the generous earth. But Athene stood above them and spoke to them in winged words of triumph : ‘Now may all who bring their aid to the Trojans be in such case as these, when they do battle with the armoured Argives, as daring and as unfortunate, as now Aphrodite came companion in arms to Ares, and faced my fury. So we should long ago have rested after our fighting once having utterly stormed the strong-founded city of Ilion.’
She spoke, and the goddess of the white arms, Hera, smiled on her."
VI. ARES MOURNS THE DEATH OF HIS DAUGHTER PENTHESILEIA
After the death of Hektor, Prince of Troy, a new Trojan ally arrived to join the battle--the Amazon Penthesileia, daughter of Ares. To the god's great sorrow, she was swiftly slain by Akhilleus.
For the MYTH of Ares & his daughter see Ares Favour: Penthesileia
VII. ARES RALLIES THE TROJANS AGAINST NEOPTOLEMOS
After the death of Akhilleus, his son Neoptolemos took his place as the leading warrior of the Greeks, and routed the Trojans. Ares descended from heaven and drove the Trojans back into battle.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 8. 260 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Now had the Trojans fled within their gates [from Neoptolemos son of Akhilleus] . . . but murderous Ares came, unmarked of other Gods, down from the heavens, eager to help the warrior sons of Troy . . . Swiftly he came to Troy: loud rang the earth beneath the feet of that wild team. Into the battle's heart tossing his massy spear, he came; with a shout he cheered the Trojans on to face the foe. They heard, and marvelled at that wondrous cry, not seeing the God's immortal form, nor steeds, veiled in dense mist. But the wise prophet-soul of Helenos knew the voice divine that leapt unto the Trojans' ears, they knew not whence, and with glad heart to the fleeing host he cried : ‘O cravens, wherefore fear Akhilleus' son, though ne'er so brave? He is mortal even as we; his strength is not as Ares' strength, who is come a very present help in our sore need. That was his shout far-pealing, bidding us fight on against the Argives. Let your hearts be strong, O friends: let courage fill your breasts. No mightier battle-helper can draw nigh to Troy than he. Who is of more avail for war than Ares, when he aideth men hard-fighting? Lo, to our help he cometh now! On to the fight! Cast to the winds your fears!’
They fled no more, they faced the Argive men . . . spurred by the chiding of their shepherd-lord; so turned the sons of Troy again to war, casting away their fear. Man leapt on man valiantly fighting; loud their armour clashed smitten with swords, with lances, and with darts. Spears plunged into men's flesh: dread Ares drank his fill of blood: struck down fell man on man, as Greek and Trojan fought. In level poise the battle-balance hung . . . the awful scales of battle hang level: all Trojan hearts beat high, and firm stood they in trust on aweless Ares' might, while the Greeks trusted in Akhilleus' son. Ever they slew and slew: stalked through the midst deadly Enyo, her shoulders and her hands blood-splashed, while fearful sweat streamed from her limbs. Revelling in equal fight, she aided none, lest Thetis' or the War-god's wrath be stirred.
So man to man dealt death; and joyed the Fates and Doom, and fell Eris (Strife) in her maddened glee shouted aloud, and Ares terribly shouted in answer, and with courage thrilled the Trojans, and with panic fear the Greeks, and shook their reeling squadrons. But one man he scared not, even Akhilleus' son [Neoptolemos]; he abode, and fought undaunted, slaying foes on foes . . . stern Akhilleus' glorious scion joyed over the slain, and recked not of the God who spurred the Trojans on: man after man tasted his vengeance of their charging host. Even as a giant mountain-peak withstands on-rushing hurricane-blasts, so he abode unquailing. Ares at his eager mood grew wroth, and would have cast his veil of cloud away, and met him face to face in fight, but now Athena from Olympos swooped to forest-mantled Ida. Quaked the earth and Xanthos' murmuring streams; so mightily she shook them: terror-stricken were the souls of all the Nymphai, adread for Priam's town. From her immortal armour flashed around the hovering lightnings; fearful serpents breathed fire from her shield invincible; the crest of her great helmet swept the clouds. And now she was at point to close in sudden fight with Ares; but the mighty will of Zeus daunted them both, from high heaven thundering his terrors. Ares drew back from the war, for manifest to him was Zeus's wrath.
To wintry Thrake he passed; his haughty heart reeked no more of the Trojans. In the plain of Troy no more stayed Pallas; she was gone to hallowed Athens. But the armies still strove in the deadly fray; and fainted now the Trojans' prowess; but all battle-fain the Argives pressed on these as they gave ground."
VIII. ARES REPELS THE GREEKS FROM THE GATES OF TROY
In the final battles of Troy, Ares drove Aeneas to repel a Greek attack on the gates of Troy led by Neoptolemos.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 11. 425 ff :
"Quailed the Akhaians, when Aeneas dashed to sudden fragments all that battle-wall moulded of adamant shields [the shield-wall of the Greeks advancing on the gates of Troy], because a God gave more than human strength. No man of them could lift his eyes unto him in that fight, because the arms that lapped his sinewy limbs fashed like the heaven-born lightnings. At his side stood, all his form divine in darkness cloaked, Ares the terrible, and winged the flight of what bare down to the Argives doom or dread . . . So crumbled down beneath Aeneas' bolts the Argive squadrons."
IX. ARES ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY THE TROJAN HORSE
The Greeks finally constructed the Wooden Horse as a ruse to capture the city. However the divine allies of Troy, perceiving hte plan, descended upon Troy to destroy it. Athena engaged Ares in battle and the pair fought until Zeus intervened, commanding all the gods to withdraw from Troy and let the city fall.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 12. 167 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"When imperious Zeus far from the Gods had gone to Okeanos's streams and Tethys' caves [and the Greeks were constructing the Wooden Horse], strife rose between the Immortals: heart with heart was set at variance. Riding on the blasts of winds, from heaven to earth they swooped: the air crashed round them. Lighting down by Xanthos' stream arrayed they stood against each other, these for the Akhaians, for the Trojans those; and all their souls were thrilled with lust of war: there gathered too the Lords of the wide Sea. These in their wrath were eager to destroy the Horse of Guile and all the ships, and those fair Ilion. But all-contriving Fate held them therefrom, and turned their hearts to strife against each other. Ares to the fray rose first, and on Athena rushed. Thereat fell each on other: clashed around their limbs the golden arms celestial as they charged. Round them the wide sea thundered, the dark earth quaked 'neath immortal feet. Rang from them all far-pealing battle-shouts; that awful cry rolled up to the broad-arching heaven, and down even to Hades' fathomless abyss: trembled the Titanes there in depths of gloom. Ida's long ridges sighed, sobbed clamorous streams of ever-flowing rivers, groaned ravines far-furrowed, Argive ships, and Priam's towers. Yet men feared not, for naught they knew of all that strife, by Heaven's decree. Then her high peaks the Gods' hands wrenched from Ida's crest, and hurled against each other: but like crumbling sands shivered they fell round those invincible limbs, shattered to small dust. But the mind of Zeus, at the utmost verge of earth, was ware of all: straight left he Okeanos's stream, and to wide heaven ascended, charioted upon the winds, the East, the North, the West-wind, and the South [in the shape of horses]: for Iris rainbow-plumed led 'neath the yoke of his eternal ear that stormy team, the car which Time the immortal framed for him of adamant with never-wearying hands. So came he to Olympos' giant ridge. His wrath shook all the firmament, as crashed from east to west his thunders; lightnings gleamed, as thick and fast his thunderbolts poured to earth, and flamed the limitless welkin. Terror fell upon the hearts of those Immortals: quaked the limbs of all - ay, deathless though they were!
Then Themis, trembling for them, swift as thought leapt down through clouds, and came with speed to them - for in the strife she only had no part and stood between the fighters, and she cried : ‘Forbear the conflict! O, when Zeus is wroth, it ill beseems that everlasting Gods should fight for men's sake, creatures of a day: else shall ye be all suddenly destroyed; for Zeus will tear up all the hills, and hurl upon you: sons nor daughters will he spare, but bury 'neath one ruin of shattered earth all. No escape shall ye find thence to light, in horror of darkness prisoned evermore.’
Dreading Zeus' menace gave they heed to her, from strife refrained, and cast away their wrath, and were made one in peace and amity. Some heavenward soared, some plunged into the sea, on earth stayed some."
- Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.
- Colluthus, The Rape of Helen - Greek Epic C5th - 6th A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.