Ares (Mars)

As the God of War, Ares was surprisingly not so revered by the ancient Greeks.

He was said to have juxtaposing qualities of cowardice and ruthlessness on the battlefield as opposed to bravery. Even the other Olympians disdained him. He was Zeus and Hera’s least favorite child. His hateful qualities manifested themselves in his troupe of followers: Eris (Discord), Strife, Terror, Trembling, and Panic. Ares factored little in Greek mythology, as he was more a symbol of battle than a deity to be worshiped. What little stories he is in do not portray Ares in a positive light.

Ares lost the respect of the other Olympians when his good looks won the affection of Aphrodite, prompting her to cuckold her husband Hephaestus. Along with adultery, Ares is associated with the brutal and bloody side of battle—in contrast to Athena who represents strategy. Hence, the men in Homer’s Iliad do not cheer when Ares arrives at the scene of battle, as he is only interested in killing rather than aiding the Trojans.