We all know Ares is connected to warfare. He is the Olympian God of war, battlelust, courage and (the enforcement of) civil order. While he's usually outshadowed by Athena in combat (especially in works like the Iliad) and is often seen as being rscued by hHer or defering to Her, there is no denying that He is the personifiction of the raging battle, the copper in the air as blood is spilled, the bone chilling reaction to the battlecry. On the other hand, He is also the God who protects from battle, who trains warriors, who acts as their sword and shield once the charge starts. He is the enforcer of law, the protector of the innocent and the slayer of the unjust. No one would argue Ares' claim to the title 'Lord of War'. I wonder, though, if there are those who would argue me the same title for Aphrodite.

Aphrodite, most usually, is considered solely the Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. In varios city-states--most notably Sparta--however, Aphrodite was linked to Ares through a bond of love and lust and became a war Goddess in Her own right. The most notable epithet linked to this aspect of Her is Areia (Αρεια), like all 'Of Ares' or 'Warlike'. Other epithets that refer to this aspect of Her are 'Bringer of Victory' (Nikêphoros, Νικηφορος) and 'Armed' (Hôplismenê, Ὡπλισμενη).

Statues and depictions of an armored--and armed--Aphrodite have been found in port cities, supporting textual evidence that she was known as a guardian of naval officers and a protector of civil law. She was a common Goddess for magistrates and other political figures to worship and perform sacrifices to, as it was thought She would bless them with harmony and a peaceful relationship with their subjects. In the writings of Aristotle, there is mention of a particular group of civil authorities called the gynaikonomoi, who worship Aphrodite. These civic officials were charged with the regulation of women’s appearance, dress, and actions in public and ensuring their proper treatment.

That love and war are closely linked is well known and reflects even in our modern language. Aphrodite's role as a Goddess of war is further solidified by the children She had with Ares: Phobos (Φόβος, fear), Deimos (Δεῖμος, dread), Adrestia (Ἀδρήστεια, She who cannot be escaped) and Harmonia (Ἁρμονία, the Goddess of harmony and concord). they joined Their father's retinu and accompanied Him onto the battlefield. Simply by being Their mother, She became associated with their domains, too.

I have always considered Ares and Aphrodite the Lord and Lady of war and the enforcement of law(fulness). Athena, of course, is the prime strategist, the cold calculator who overlooks the battlefield and plans the battle ahead. She thrusts with skill and techniue, detached and determined. Yes, she is a Goddess of war but above all, she is a Goddess of the mind. War--especially ancient Hellenic war--is about the heart. It's the spark that ignites the battle--the stolen lover, the percieved slight. It is the cry of anguish of a mother now without a child, the destruction of home and hearth, it is the desolation of a child now without parents. War is emotion, it is hot blooded force, it is primal; to me, it is Ares and Aphrodite at Their most extreme.