Ares - Cult and Ritual

Cult and Ritual

Although Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, the god had a formal temple and cult at only a few sites. At Sparta, however, youths each sacrificed a puppy to Enyalios before engaging in ritual fighting at the Phoebaeum. The chthonic night-time sacrifice of a dog to Enyalios became assimilated to the cult of Ares.

Just east of Sparta stood an archaic statue of the god in chains, to show that the spirit of war and victory was never to leave the city.

The temple to Ares in the agora of Athens that Pausanias saw in the second century AD had only been moved and rededicated there during the time of Augustus; in essence it was a Roman temple to the Augustan Mars Ultor. The Areopagus, the "mount of Ares" where Paul of Tarsus preached, is sited at some distance from the Acropolis; from archaic times it was a site of trials. Its connection with Ares, perhaps based on a false etymology, is purely etiological myth. A second temple has also been located at the archaeological site of Metropolis in what is now Western Turkey.

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