Ares – His Birth and Youth

Hesiod, Theogony 921 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
“Zeus took Hera to be his fresh consort, and she, lying in the arms of the father of gods and mortals, conceived and bore Hebe to him, and Ares, and Eileithyia.”

Aeschylus, Fragment 282 (from Papyri Oxyrhynchus) (trans. Lloyd-Jones) :
“[Dike, the goddess of justice, speaks : ] Much would they gain, should they receive me kindly ((two line lacuna)) . . no city of people or private man, since such is the god-sent fortune she enjoys. And I will tell you a proof which gives you this clearly. Hera has reared a violent son [Ares] whom she has borne to Zeus, a god irascible, hard to govern, an one whose mind knew no respect for others. He shot wayfarers with deadly arrows, and ruthless hacked ((lacuna)) . . with hooked spears . . he rejoiced and laughed . . evil . . scent of blood.”

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 13 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“Zeus married Hera and fathered Hebe, Eileithyia, and Ares.”

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 14. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
“Olen, in his hymn to Hera, says that Hera’s . . . children were Ares and Hebe.”

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 19. 7 :
“A road from the city [of Sparta] leads [across the River Eurotas] to Therapne . . . Of all the objects along this road the oldest is a sanctuary of Ares . . . They surname him Theritas (the Beastly One) after Thero, who is said to have been the nurse of Ares. Perhaps it was from the Kolkhians that they heard the name Theritas, since the Greeks know of no Thero, nurse of Ares.”

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“From Jove [Zeus] and Juno [Hera] [was born] Mars [Ares].”

Ovid, Fasti 5. 229 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
“[Flora tells the story of the birth of Mars-Ares :] Mars [Ares] also, you may not know, was formed by my [Flora's] arts. I pray that Jove [Zeus] stays ignorant of this. Holy Juno [Hera], when Minerva [Athene] sprang unmothered, was hurt that Jove did not need her service. She went to complain to Oceanus of her husband’s deeds. She stopped at our door, tired from the journey. As soon as I saw her, I asked, ‘What’s brought you here, Saturnia [Hera]?’ She reports where she’s going, and cites the cause. I consoled her with friendly words : ‘Words,’ she declares, ‘cannot relieve my pain. If Jove became a father without using a spouse and possesses both titles by himself, why should I not expect a spouseless motherhood, chaste parturition, untouched by a man? I’ll try every drug on the broad earth and empty Oceanus and the hollows of Tartarus.’
Her speech was mid-course; my face was hesitant. ‘You look, Nympha, as thou you can help,’ she says. Three times I wanted to help, three times my tongue stuck : Jupiter’s anger caused massive fear. ‘Please help me,’ she said, `my source will be concealed;’ and the divine Styx testifies to this.
‘A flower,’ I said, ‘from the fields of Olenus [in the Peloponnesos] will grant your wish. It’s unique to my gardens. I was told : “Touch a barren cow; she’ll be a mother.” I touched. No delay : she was a mother.’
I quickly plucked the clinging flower with my thumb. Juno feels its touch and at the touch conceives. She bulges, and enters Thrace and west Propontis, and fulfils her wish: Mars [Ares] was created. Recalling my role in his birth, Mars said : ‘You, too, should have a place in Romulus’ city.’ ”
[N.B. The fact that Ovid mentions the Greek city of Olenos in this myth, strongly suggests it was derived it from a Greek source.]

Statius, Thebaid 4. 786 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
“The child, lying in the bosom of the vernal earth and deep in herbage, now crawls forward on his face and crushes the soft grasses, no in clamorous thrist for milk cries for his beloved nurse . . . Such was the young Mars [Ares] amid Odrysian snow.”
[N.B. Odrysia is in Thrake, the favourite land of the god.]

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