Ares, in Greek myth, the only son of Zeus and his wife Hera, the god of war or, rather, of warlike frenzy. He is one of the twelve Olympian gods, and plays a scandalous part in the stories in which he appears. He is a stirrer of strife, unchivalrous, and does not always have the advantage in encounters with mortals; nor does he ever develop into a god with a moral function, like Zeus or Apollo. He is frequently associated with the goddess Aphrodite, wife of Hephaestus, and she bore him Harmonia. Their amorous intrigue was the subject of a tale told at the Phacacian court by the bard Demodocus in Homer's Odyssey. The Romans identified him with Mars, a god of greater dignity and importance.