Continuing off of last week’s post about epithets, Enyalios is about a Greek god who gets a lot of dirt kicked up about him. And, honestly, I don’t think he’d have it any other way! 😉
Enyalios is an epithet of Ares, the god of war, which translates about to ‘Lord of War’. Like Loki from the Norse pantheon, some don’t like him because they feel he is evil or the devil or whatever.
Let me be absolutely and totally clear about this: they’re not evil.
Someone on the Hellenismos website was even having a fit, saying he’s not worthy of worship and Athena is a better deity of war and she deserves honor and Ares deserves death and negligence.
Yes, Athena and Ares are both deities of war, though they differ in their approach to it. Using a common comparison, Athena is the general who decides where the best tactical points are, when to strike, strategic choke holds etcetera. Ares is on the battlefield with the common soldier who is putting the general’s plans into action.
Both are a part of warfare, and so you can’t say one is good and one is evil. There seems to be pretty much universal agreement that war is bad, but it has been going on since, well, probably forever. Humans aren’t the only ones that do this, either; animals fight too. It’s a natural part of how our world is.
Yes, Ares brings bloodshed, but he is not this all-evil rapist / ax-murderer / psychopath.
A story about Ares
Ares was well-known to have all sorts of love affairs, which led to the production of many offspring, over fourty children have been given a real name and many have been unnamed. One daughter was Alcippe, who, depending on which myth you go by, Poseidon’s son Halirrhotius either raped or tried to rape her. Ares, full of Papa Bear Anger ™ pretty much grabs his sword and runs outside. He finds Halirrhotus and kills him on the spot.
This leads to Areopagus later, “Ares Hill”, a little hill in Greece where Poseidon takes him to trial with Zeus as the judge, with Ares getting off scot-free from murder charges. And after Zeus has spoken, you really don’t get much choice in the matter afterwards. Because, y’know, Poseidon’s son tried to rape / raped Alcippe.
Ares is with us when adrenaline is whizzing through our veins at the speed of sound, when it becomes a fight, run, or die situation. When you just want to give up on life, Ares slaps you in the face and tells you “Get a hold of yourself, man!” He won’t put up with self-pity, and he won’t listen to you whine. He’ll hand you a sword and tell you to get up or die here alone.
Sure, he’s harsh, but he has to be.