Deities and Demi-gods
Phobos (Ancient Greek: Φόβος, pronounced [pʰóbos], meaning “fear” or “terror”) is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. He is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares. He was known for accompanying Ares into battle along with the ancient war goddess Enyo, the goddess of discord Eris (both sisters of Ares), and Phobos’ twin brother Deimos.
Ares was one of the Twelve Olympians in the archaic tradition represented by the Iliad and Odyssey. Zeus expresses a recurring Greek revulsion toward the god when Ares returns wounded and complaining from the battlefield at Troy:
Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
‘Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympos.
Forever quarrelling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.
And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky."16
This ambivalence is expressed also in the Greeks’ association of the god with the Thracians, whom they regarded as a barbarous and warlike people.17 Thrace was Ares’ birthplace, his true home, and his refuge after the affair with Aphrodite was exposed to the general mockery of the other gods.18
In Sparta, Ares was viewed as a masculine soldier: his resilience, physical strength, and military intelligence were unrivaled. Human sacrifices were offered to him.20 Also, an ancient statue, representing the god in chains, suggested that the martial spirit and victory were to be kept in the city of Sparta.
A late-6th-century BC funerary inscription from Attica emphasizes the consequences of coming under Ares’ sway:
Stay and mourn at the tomb of dead Kroisos
Whom raging Ares destroyed one day, fighting in the foremost ranks.19