Ares 101: The Many Faces of Ares

Previously throughout the series, I have discussed Ares in the general sense, simply as a war-god as opposed to a god with a multitude of titles and divine functions. In order to move on to the next topic, constructing prayers and hymns, we need to look at some of the names, titles, and duties of Ares. Some have already been mentioned, but many bear repeating.

Ancient Cult Titles:

Theritas: this cult title comes from Sparta. This was supposedly derived from the name of Ares’ nurse Thero, though when questioned by Pausanias, the locals knew of no Thero. The writer instead concluded the proper title was “beastly”, a throwback to Ares’ brutal nature and monstrous offspring.

Hippios: this cult originated in Olympia, where Ares was worshiped alongside Athene Hippias in the hippodrome. Horsemen and charioteers often invoked Ares Hippios before races and possibly before battle.

Aphneios: this title, meaning “abundant”, was given to Ares at a temple in Tegea. After one of Ares’ mortal lovers died in childbirth, but Ares caused her to nourish the baby nonetheless. This is some of the most significant pieces of evidence of Ares’ cthonic aspects, which are further compounded by another cult title from Anatolia.

Kiddeudas: though I have not found an exact translation for this title (it does not appear on theoi.com), it was found inscribed on an altar to the god in central Asia Minor. Interestingly, this altar pointed to an agricultural cult as, among the standard weapon and armor motifs, the altar was carved with a cornucopia. It is most likely that this particular cult was devoted to ensuring and protecting the chora, or the countryside which was essential to the survival of the population centers.

Epekoos: this title from central Asia Minor meaning “he who hears”, which refers to the Ares that answers oracles.\

Polypalmeros: This is another Anatolian incarnation of the god meaning “many-handed” or “he of many devices”. He is invoked as a generally beneficent god who helps those in need.

Gynaikothoinas: this is a title of Ares from Tegea meaning “feasted by women”. It refers to the god’s intervention on behalf of the Tegean women who fought and won against Sparta’s hoplites. A festival was held every year by the women in which men were not allowed to participate.

Poetic and Dramatic Titles

Brotoloigos, Andreiphontês,Miaiphonos: these titles, bestowed upon Ares in the Iliad, are all closely related in theme; they mean “manslaughtering”, “destroyer of men”, and “bloodstained” respectively. Oft repeated by Homer, these titles are often the first known by most investigating Ares and stain their first experiences with the god. Many other titles like these can be found here, as they are too many and too similar to list out in entirety.

Alloprosallos: this Homeric epithet meaning “double-faced” is meant to be derogatory, calling Ares a liar, though I feel it speaks to Ares’ nature of nurture and destruction.

Sunarogos Themistos: from the Homeric Hymn, it calls Ares the “succoror of Themis”, or ally of Law. A vital part of Aresian theology, this title meshes well with Ares’ Orphic role as guardian of the natural laws of life and the Aeschylian avenger of those who transgress the laws of nature.

Polydakros: another of Aeschylus’ titles for Ares that translates to “bringer of much weeping: or (my favorite) “Father of tears”. The dramatist refers to Ares as “plucking the fairest flowers of a host” during battle (another agricultural reference!).

My favorite title, however, is not one I’ve found the Greek for. It comes from Aeschylus (can you tell I like the guy?) and describes Ares as the “Gold-broker of corpses”. Fun stuff, eh?

 

Hopefully perusing through these titles gives you a better of how and what for Ares is worshiped. If you want to go deeper into Ares’ cult, I suggest staying tuned in. In the next few posts, I will be covering constructing prayers and hymns,  holy days, syncretism,  and more. If you have any topics you wish to see covered, or have any suggestions or comments regarding other titles you use, let everyone know in the comments. Until then, hail Ares!

Ares 101: Approaching Ares

Starting this new month, I will be posting various articles with what I would consider beginner information to help people build their own cultus with Ares. After a while, there should be enough posts to merit their own searchable section. While I generally despise the “101” moniker (it seems almost condescending), I learned last night that even many long-time polytheists sometimes struggle to approach the god. To that fact, I hope to convey some important, if sometimes obscure, information in easily digestible pieces.

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about getting started with Ares. While I could have simply referred you back to that post an be done with it, However, I felt it might be more helpful to outline a few approaches, as some may want more than the simple once-a-month sort of relationship that approach offers. Besides, some of you might still feel that’s a bit emotionally superficial (it is in a way). So here are a few more tips for approaching the war-god and beginning your worship.

 

1) The Direct Approach

Ares is a sower of chaos and the father of tears; with all the fun wars and other conflicts going on around the world right now, he’s a busy god. It can be rather easy for a god to miss the small voices of mortals who leave quiet notes, timid requests, or whispered prayers. My advice? Try shouting. This can be metaphorical, but is literally fun, too. It is possible to forceful with a god without being rude or blasphemous.

The structure of ancient prayers is a great approach to use for this. You begin by listing off epithets and then perhaps extolling how you have exalted the god in the past, finally moving on to the purpose of your prayer. Some of my favorite epithets are Man Slayer, Father of Tears, and a personal epithet of my own, Strategos (general).

2) The Wingman Approach

Some people are concerned Ares isn’t impressed with non-soldiers. That’s not true, but that’s a topic for another time. So if you don’t know what a god (or a person) is like, and you want to approach them without coming off as a creep, what do you do? You get to know that god’s/person’s friends, of course! Looking to see the nicer side of Ares? Ask Aphrodite to set up a meeting. Feeling a little more business-like? Check out his partners in crime/justice Dike and Hermes. Wanna see the fun side? Ask Harmonia about dancing at her wedding.

3) The Waiting Game

One way to approach Ares is to simply wait for him to come to you. I would think this is probably the most involved and difficult method, as Ares is known to go after only the most notable and forceful types, like the heroes of the Iliad or the great criminal Sisyphos. It may just be safer to go for methods one or two.

Hopefully this should be enough information to get you going. If you want to go deeper into Ares’ cult, I suggest staying tuned in. In the next few post, I will be covering offerings, symbols for representing Ares, musical resources for worship and more. If you have any topics you wish to see covered, or have any suggestions for approaching Ares, let everyone know in the comments. Until then, hail Ares!

Adorations of Ares

Now, I for one am a guy who really, really hates jumping on any sort of wagon, let alone the bandwagon. However, after seeing quite a few blog posts listing adoration and praises for various gods (Dionysos, PersephoneHephaistos, Apollon and Hekate so far), I can’t NOT do a set for Ares. As it is, I think all these posts would make a fantastic liturgical resource if compiled (hint hint BA members). Hell, I know there would be disappointment from quite a few if I didn’t write a set.

To my knowledge, there isn’t really a sacred numerology associated with Ares. A few prominent numbers crop up in relation to His astronomical associations with the planet Mars (the “third” or “fifth” planet, depending on the source) as well as Scorpio (even though the myth of Scorpio is tied to Artemis), the eighth sign in the zodiac. To that end, I’ll just go until I can go no more. Ares pushes, and so I shall be pushed, not to constrain myself to any set number. As Ares is the Abundant One, so shall be the enumerated adorations offered at His feet.

1. Hail, Ares,  God of war.

2. Hail, Ares, God of battle.

3. Hail, Ares, God of violence.

4. Hail, Ares, God of strife.

5. Hail, Ares, God of victories.

6. Hail, Ares, son of kingly Zeus.

7. Hail, Ares, son of queenly Hera

8. Hail, Ares, lover of golden Aphrodite.

9. Hail, Ares, father of Phobos.

10. Hail, Ares, father of Deimos.

11. Hail, Ares, father of Harmonia.

12. Hail, Ares, father of Eros.

13. Hail, Ares, father of Anteros.

14. Hail, Ares, father of Sparta.

15. Hail, Ares, father of Thebes.

16. Hail, Ares, father of Thrake.

17. Hail, Ares, father of Rome.

18. Hail, Ares, father of drakons.

19. Hail, Ares, companion of Enyo.

20. Hail, Ares, companion of Eris.

21. Hail Ares, companion of Nike.

22. Hail, Ares, companion of Thanatos.

23. Hail, Ares, who slaughters men.

24. Hail, Ares, who inspires fear.

25. Hail, Ares, who inspires courage.

26. Hail, Ares, who inspires victory.

27. Hail, Ares, who inspires justice.

28. Hail, Ares, who inspires order.

29. Hail, Ares, who inspires awe.

30. Hail, Ares, who guides soldiers.

31. Hail, Ares, who guides warriors.

32. Hail, Ares, who guides poets.

33. Hail, Ares, who guides police officers.

34. Hail, Ares, who guides oracles.

35. Hail, Ares, master of the hoplite’s spear.

36. Hail, Ares, master of the hoplite’s shield.

37. Hail, Ares, master of the hoplite’s sword.

38. Hail, Ares, master of the hoplite’s armor.

39. Hail, Ares, master of the chariot.

40. Hail, Ares, master of the phalanx.

41. Hail, Ares, master of the infantry.

42. Hail, Ares, master of the cavalry.

43. Hail, Ares, master of the siege.

44. Hail, Ares, killer of Adonis.

45. Hail, Ares, killer of Halirrhothios.

46. Hail, Ares, killer of the unworthy.

47. Hail, Ares, killer of criminals.

48. Hail, Ares, killer of the unrighteous.

49. Hail, Ares, ally of the Amazones.

50. Hail, Ares, ally of the Brygoi.

51. Hail, Ares, ally of the Illyrians.

52. Hail, Ares, ally of the Phlegyes.

53. Hail, Ares, ally of the Pylians.

54. Hail, Ares, ally of the Trojans.

55. Hail, Ares, keeper of the barn owl.

56. Hail, Ares, keeper of the eagle owl.

57. Hail, Ares, keeper of the vulture.

58. Hail, Ares, keeper of the woodpecker.

59. Hail, Ares, keeper of the serpent.

60. Hail, Ares, who fought the Titans.

61. Hail, Ares, who fought the Greeks.

62. Hail, Ares, who fought the Persians.

63. Hail, Ares, who fought Athene.

64. Hail, Ares, who fought Apollon.

65. Hail, Ares, who fought the Gigantes.

66. Hail, Ares, who fought Herakles.

67. Hail, Ares, who accepts the sacrificial dog.

68. Hail, Ares, who accepts the sacrificial kid.

69. Hail, Ares, who accepts the sacrificial boar.

70. Hail, Ares, who accepts the sacrificial man.

71. Hail, Ares, the Beastly.

72. Hail, Ares, of the horses.

73. Hail, Ares, the Abundant.

74. Hail, Ares, feasted by women.

75. Hail, Ares, the Murderous One.

76. Hail, Ares, the Destroyer of men.

77. Hail, Ares, the Bloodstained.

78. Hail, Ares, who rallies fighting men.

79. Hail, Ares, the Stormer of cities.

80. Hail, Ares, who is insatiable for war.

81. Hail, Ares, the Brazen one.

82. Hail, Ares, armed with bronze.

83. Hail, Ares, the Spear-Wielder.

84. Hail, Ares, the Shield-Piercer.

85. Hail, Ares, the Sharp.

86. Hail, Ares, who fights under shield’s guard.

87. Hail, Ares, the Fleet.

88. Hail, Ares, the Furious.

89. Hail, Ares, the Mighty.

90. Hail, Ares, the Terrible.

91. Hail, Ares, the Lord of War.

92. Hail, Ares, of the golden helm.

93. Hail, Ares, averter of peace.

94. Hail, Ares, averter of rebellion.

95. Hail, Ares, averter of crime.

96. Hail, Ares, averter of evil.

97. Hail, Ares, bringer of peace.

98. Hail, Ares, bringer of life.

99. Hail, Ares, bringer of resolve.

100. Hail, Ares, bringer of hope.

101. Hail, Ares, bringer of redemption.

102. Hail, Ares, bringer of mercy.

103. Hail, Ares, the manly.

104. Hail, Ares, the passionate.

105. Hail, Ares, the fettered.

106. Hail, Ares, my God, my Guide, and my Exemplar.

(Please note that some of these adorations are allusions to myth, others are UPG. Some come directly from Ares’ epithets, while others are extrapolated from myth or historical texts. I used Ares’ page at the Theoi Greek Mythology Project website, and all sourcing comes from that site.)

Permission is given to copy/print/cross-post this page at your leisure, so long as I retain credit as the original author. Spread the good words! Hail Ares!