Ares, the god of war and personification of all that is reactionary and violent, is remembered today as the hated, unshakeable, and infallible embodiment of the violence prevalent in war and society at large, but surviving evidence suggests that this may not have always been the case. To understand that, it's necessary to remember that Greek mythology has been filtered and tempered by centuries of editors and zealots and fickle word of mouth. The stories that arrive in the beloved mythology books of today were not necessarily those read and told by the ancients. This is true not only thanks to later mythographers' overeager shears, wielded in order to strip the ancient Greek myths of much of their "heathenism", but also because over 2000 years later, modern society is not privy to much of the cultural strata from which these stories emerged. This book was written in the hope of presenting the modern audience with as much of the latter as possible, so as to provide a more accurate representation of Ares than is found in most modern collections of ancient Greek mythology.
Being the "living" representation of the act that killed family members every year is more than enough to attract a certain degree of ignominy, but it is very likely that negative feelings towards Ares were not as pervasive among the ancient Greeks as one might believe today. An important thing to bear in mind when thinking about the stories of Ares is that the thin vein of myth that has come down today most often comes directly from Athenian sources, which were unfavorable towards Ares because they were generally unfavorable towards anything considered un-Athenian.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors