How are Ares (from the Iliad) and Satan (from the Bible) related?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Iliad is an ancient text that includes a firsthand account of the Trojan War, a time when swords and spears were still used for battle. Ares appears in divine form as a god of war who backs the Trojans, ultimately in support of the losing side. Ares should not...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The Iliad is an ancient text that includes a firsthand account of the Trojan War, a time when swords and spears were still used for battle. Ares appears in divine form as a god of war who backs the Trojans, ultimately in support of the losing side. Ares should not be considered a malevolent figure in this case. Instead, he represents the values of courage and national pride that the Trojans certainly hoped to represent.

Satan, on the other hand, is depicted as a malevolent figure in the Bible: he tempts people to sin—with Adam and Eve in the garden and Jesus in the desert as the most notable examples—and also appears in The Agony in the Garden.

Therefore, Ares isn't necessarily shown to be malevolent, while it is implied that Satan is malevolent.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both characters are divine entities and thus part of their respective societies' religious belief systems.

The character of Satan appears in the Biblical story of Genesis as an evil divine being, an antagonist to God who is the good divine being of the story. This suggests some form of dualism, in which the forces of good and evil are personified as divine beings in conflict with one another. The origin of evil and humanity's capacity for evil are thus attributed to the external evil force of Satan.

The Iliad, unlike the Bible, is not primarily a religious text, but an historical one, focused on the Trojan war. Greek religion, unlike Hebrew religion, was polytheistic, with many gods embodying different aspects of human life and different human tendencies. Ares is a war god, and can be loutish at times, but he is not pure evil. He is just one among many gods with a specific role in the pantheon. His main similarity to Satan is that they are both divine beings. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team