Welcome to Tursan Tuesdays, where I take you on a journey through the Celtic world.
Last week kicked off my series on comparisons of the Celtic Gods & Goddesses to those of other traditions. We began with The Mórrígan, and it was a lot of fun. You can check it out here.
We’re going to mix it up today. Rather than start with the Celtic warrior god, we’re going to get to know Ares, the Greek warrior god, a little better. While researching Athena, I got to know her brother and found him fascinating. You may have noticed I gave you a hint of him in my last post.
Ares is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. Unlike his sister, Athena, Ares can be brutal, violent, and destructive. He is a Greek god of war and battle. His particular level of violence seems similar to that of The Mórrígan or Sekhmet.
Ares is fascinating because in one aspect he is regarded with contempt. Due to his affair with Aphrodite, and her husband, Hephaestus’s, clever way of dealing with the incident, Ares is pitied, and often in mythology he faces humiliation and disgrace.
Yet, in another aspect he is compared to the Roman warrior god, Mars. Often they are regarded as one and the same. Mars is said to be just as savage as Ares, yet he is shown with more dignity and grace than his Greek counterpart. Why is this so, if they are the same god?
In further contradiction to the afore-mentioned disdainful view, in some lands, namely Sparta and Macedonia, Ares is revered. He is described as victorious, with superior military skills and physical strength. Indeed, his physical strength, military genius, and resilience are said to be unmatched.
Ares had temples erected in his image, rituals and hymns performed in his honor, and companions with names like “Fear,” and “Dread.”
One bad love affair ruined everything it would seem. A lesson can be learned from this…
Camulus, or Camulos, is the British and Gaulish Celtic warrior god. Like Ares, he has been equated to the Roman warrior god, Mars – only, Camulus is considered to be even more dangerous, if that is possible. Interestingly enough, his godly traits are the antithesis to the meaning of his name, Heaven.
Not a lot is known about this illusive god. His symbol is the wild boar, and he is known to wield an invincible sword.
Some say that the Roman town of Camulodunum, now Colchester, England, was named in his honor. Others say it was Camelot that was named after him. Who is to say which is right?
You may think that not knowing much about this particular god makes him less interesting, however I would argue it is this mystery that makes him fascinating. There is so much potential here, so much is open to interpretation and imagination. Just think what stories could be told about him, what journeys he may have, what battles he may wage. Perhaps he is destined for a great love…imagine the type of goddess that would capture this warrior god’s heart. Very interesting..
So talk to me. What do you think of Ares? Is he a pitiful, immature boy – or a magnificent warrior whose reputation has been smeared by jealous adversaries? What do you know about the Roman warrior god, Mars? Have you ever heard of Camulus? What do you know of him?
Please share – I love learning more about these traditions!