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Mars’s Nature and Deeds

An excerpt from The Greek Myths by Robert Graves about the god Ares, also known as Mars

Mars loves battle for its own sake, and his sister Eris is always stirring up occasions for war by the spread of rumor and the inculcation of jealousy. Like her, he never favors one city or party over another, but fights on this side or that, as inclination prompts him, delighting in the slaughter of men and the sacking of towns. All his fellow immortals hate him, from Jupiter and Juno downwards, except Eris, and Venus who nurses a perverse passion for him, and greedy Pluto who welcomes the bold young fighting-men slain in cruel wars.

Mars has not been consistently victorious, Pallas Athene, a much more skillful fighter than he, has twice worsted him in battle; and once, the gigantic sons of Aloeus conquered and kept him imprisoned in a brazen vessel for thirteen months until, half dead, he was released by Mercury; and on another occasion, Hercules sent him running in fear back to Olympus.
– adapted from Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 19.a, 19.b

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