If you’ve read my blog more than once, you’re probably familiar with the Spartoi, warriors who spring from the ground fully formed. They are children of Ares, and are often savage and single-minded. Little did you know, you are surrounded by spartoi every day. I am talking, of course, about ants.
Yes, you heard me correctly. I said ants. Ants are fascinating creatures. Their societies are highly organized with a queen at the top, followed by a soldier class, and finally the workers. They never see the earth’s surface until they are fully grown, and are one of the few species on earth known to go to war. Using some believe is a sophisticated hive mind, entire armies of ants scour entire regions looking for resources, fighting anything that gets in their way.
One species of ant, the Argentine ant, are very similar in behavior to humans. They are prolific colonizers, having colonized every continent but Antarctica (the irony is in the name, is it not?). Much like man, the Argentine ant recognises its own colonies, but becomes aggressive to native species and minority groups of Argentine ants. Ants are also one of the few creatures on earth that will enslave or domesticate other creatures. They can also cultivate certain species of fungus as a crop.
Much like the Spartans, the Slavemaker ants only produce soldiers. To get the needed workforce to care for their queen, young, and retrieve foodstuffs, Slavemaker ants will send a strike team into the colony of another ant species and slaughter all the adults. Then, they take the larva from the nurseries and enslave the ants that develop from them. The Slavemaker queen fools these younglings by faking her own death so that she will be led to the enemy queen. She then slaughters the enemy and bathes in her goo, picking up her pheromones. Here’s a video of them:
Interestingly, however, is the fact that while ants are not directly tied to Ares in myth, the Greek word for ant, μυρμηκεσ (murmekes), is where we get the word Myrmidon from. Yes, the legendary band led by the hero Achilles are in fact named for/created from ants. The story goes that Zeus created the Myrmidons for his son Aeacus to rule over on the island of Aegina.
So yeah, ants are pretty cool. Hail Ares!