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65. Ἄρεος

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Introduction to the Orphic Hymn to Áris

Áris (Ares; Ἄρης) is the great Olympian God of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion and he has dominion over the Natural Law of Life (Ζωή). We are born into this world, we grow and achieve adulthood. Then our bodies lose their youthful beauty and slowly age, shrivel and die, often accompanied by great pain. And, of course, before all this happens we may die prematurely of disease or by violence. Our life experiences, while not always unpleasant, are mixed with much pain. We struggle. And then after death, we are reborn and we must struggle yet again and again. It can be likened to a battle. This is Life...and Áris is the Lord (Κῦρος) of Life; it is his dominion, his responsibility. And he loves and cherishes it. While we are often intimidated by the demands put upon us, Áris teaches us to battle through them while fighting beside us. Therefore, Áris should not be feared because he is actually a manifestation of the compassion of Gods.

In the ancient literature, Áris is the God of war. This is what the people saw because war was an absolute reality. If your pólis (city-state; πόλις) was insufficiently prepared, the city would eventually be invaded by enemies who would kill all the men and enslave the women and children. You needed to be prepared to defend your country and to face the horrors of battle when a war broke out. And Áris fought beside you. Not just you and your country, but he fought next to all the warriors on both sides of the battle, inspiring courage and endurance and the ability to fulfill ones responsibilities. This was the reality for the ancient people when this hymn was created, and for many people in the world, this is still the reality.

The hymn opens, enumerating all the fearsome qualities of mighty Áris, then the character of the writing suddenly changes and the poem exits with a fervent supplication to the God, beseeching him to initiate peace and a return to the gentleness of the pasture and field. 

Thomas Taylor's commentary on the hymn:


"This deity, according to Proclus, in Repub. p. 388, perpetually discerns and nourishes, and constantly excites the contrarieties of the universe, that the world may exist perfect and entire from all its parts. But he requires the assistance of Venus, that he may insert order and harmony into things contrary and discordant." [1]

The Original Ancient Greek Text:

65. Ἄρεος, θυμίαμα, λίβανον.

Ἄῤῥηκτ’, ὀμβριμόθυμε, μεγασθενές, ἄλκιμε δαῖμον,   
ὁπλοχαρής, ἀδάμαστε, βροτοκτόνε, τειχεσιπλῆτα,
Ἆρες ἄναξ, ὁπλόδουπε, φόνοις πεπαλαγμένος αἰεί,
αἵματι τ’ ἀνδροφόνῳ χαίρων, πολεμόκλονε, φρικτέ,
ὃς ποθέεις ξίφεσίν τε καὶ ἔγχεσι δῆριν ἄμουσον·   5
στῆσον ἔριν λυσσῶσαν, ἄνες πόνον ἀλγεσίθυμον·
εἰς δὲ πόθον νεῦσον Κύπριδος, κώμους τε Λυαίου,
ἀλλάξας ἀλκὴν ὅπλων εἰς ἔργα τὰ Δηοῦς,
εἰρήνην ποθέων κουροτρόφον, ὀλβιοδῶτιν.

Reuchlinian transliteration of the ancient Greek text:
(See this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek)

 Áræos, thymíama lívanon. 

Árrikt' omvrimóthymæ, mægasthænǽs, álkimæ daimon,   1
oplokharís, adámastæ, vrotoktónæ, teikhæsiplíta,
Áræs ánax, oplódoupæ, phónis pæpalagmænos aiei,
aimati t’ androphóno khairohn, polæmóklonæ, phriktǽ,
os pothǽeis xíphæsín tæ kai ǽngkhæsi dírin ámouson;   5
stíson ǽrin lyssóhsan, ánæs pónon alyæsíthymon;
eis dæ póthon néfson Kýpridos, kóhmous tæ Lyaiou,
alláxas alkín óplohn eis ǽrga ta Dious,
eirínin pothǽohn kourotróphon, olviodóhtin.



Ἄρεος - Ἄρεος is the genitive of Ἄρης. Titles in ancient Greek are usually placed in the genitive case. 

θυμίαμα (incense) λίβανον. (frankincense) - The author of the hymn is suggesting an incense offering of frankincense.

Ἄρρηκτ’ - ἄρρηκτοςIndestructible

ὀμβριμόθυμε, - ὀμβριμόθυμοςdoughty,

μεγασθενές, - mighty,

ἄλκιμε (valiant) δαῖμον, (divinity) - valiant (ἄλκιμοςdivinity,

ὁπλοχαρής, - delighting in arms,

ἀδάμαστε, - ἀδάμαστοςindestructible,

βροτοκτόνε, - βροτοκτόνοςman-killing,

τειχεσιπλῆτα, - τειχεσιπλήτηςstormer of cities:

Ἆρες (Áris) ἄναξ, (lord or king) - Lord Áris,

ὁπλόδουπε, - ὁπλόδουποςrattling in armor,

φόνοις (slaughter) πεπαλαγμένος (defiled) αἰεί, (always) - always defiled with the slaughter of war,

αἵματι (blood) τʹ ἀνδροφόνῳ (man-slaying) χαίρων (rejoice) - rejoicing in man-slaying blood,

πολεμόκλονε, - πολεμόκλονοςraising the clamor of combat,

φρικτέ, - φρικτόςhorrifying one.

ὃς (who) ποθέεις (desire) ξίφεσίν (swords) τε (both...and) καὶ (and) ἔγχεσι (spears) δῆριν (battle) 

ἄμουσον· (rude) - You who lust for the obscene carnage of swords and spears:

στῆσον (stop) ἔριν (strife) λυσσῶσαν, (raging) - Halt the raging strife!

ἄνες (draw to a close) πόνον (toil) ἀλγεσίθυμον· (grieving the heart) - Cease the travail grieving our hearts.

εἰς (into) δὲ (rather, but) πόθον (wish, desire) νεῦσον (inclination) Κύπριδος, (Aphrodíti) - Rather, yield to the (peaceful) yearnings of Aphrodíti,
- According to the mythology,
 Aphrodíti was born in the waters near the island of Kýpros (Κύπρος); therefore one of her most famous names is Κύπρις as in this line of the hymn (Κύπριδος being in the genitive case). Áris is mythologically and mystically connected with Aphrodíti, they being the parents of Armonía (Ἁρμονία); thus the famous saying, "The struggles of Áris are harmonized by Aphrodíti." Armonía united with Kádmos (Κάδμος) and gave birth to Sæmǽli (Σεμέλη) the mother of Diónysos (Διόνυσος) and it is Diónysos who ultimately brings us peace.

κώμους (revels) τε (both...and) Λυαίου, (Diónysos the Liberator) - and the revels of Diónysos.
- Armonía united with Kádmos
 (Κάδμος) and gave birth to Sæmǽli (Σεμέλη) the mother of Diónysos (Διόνυσος) and it is Diónysos who ultimately brings us peace, for he is the great liberator who frees us from the vicious circle of rebirths, therefore, he is called Λυαῖος, liberator (λυαίου is in the genitive).

ἀλλάξας (exchange) ἀλκὴν (force, might) ὅπλων (weapons) εἰς ἔργα (works) τὰ Δηοῦς, (Dimítir [Δηώ]) - Exchange your fury and weapons for the (gentle) works of Dimítir.
- The Goddess Dimítir
 (Δημήτηρ) is conjoined with agriculture and civilization and these things are associated with a society at peace, not at war.

εἰρήνην (bring to peace) ποθέων (yearn for) κουροτρόφον, (youth cultivating) - Conceive a desire for peacefulness which will cultivate the young...

ὀλβιοδῶτιν. (bestowing bliss) - and grant them blessedness.


All this work yields a more literal translation of the hymn to Áris:

65. Áris (Ἄρης) Incense: frankincense.

Indestructible, doughty, mighty, valiant divinity,   1
Delighting in arms, indestructible, man-killing, stormer of cities:
Lord Áris, rattling in armor, always defiled with the slaughter of war,
Rejoicing in man-slaying blood and raising the clamor of combat, horrifying one,
You who lust for the obscene carnage of swords and spears:   5
Halt the raging strife! Cease the travail grieving our hearts!
Rather, yield to the peaceful yearnings of Aphrodíti and the revels of Diónysos. 
Exchange your fury and weapons for the gentle works of Dimítir.
Conceive a desire for peacefulness which will cultivate the young and grant them blessedness.


[1] The Hymns of Orpheus, trans. by Thomas Taylor, 1792.

Much of the theology of our religion has been preserved in fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, 
Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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