The role of Deimos was as a malevolent god of war who brought shock, trauma, confusion and dismay to the battlefields of mortals. He was the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and Ares, the god of war. Deimos and his brother Phobos, the god of panic and fear, accompanied Ares in battle instilling fear, terror, dread and panic resulting in a loss of control during wars and conflicts. His name means 'terror' in Greek.
Who was Deimos?
Deimos was one of the lesser Olympian gods, the son of Ares and Aphrodite. Deimos was the Greek personification of sheer terror, dread and battlefield defeat. His very name intimidated brave soldiers bringing visions of the horror of the battlefield, the consequences of war and the thought of defeat, the loss of honor and irrational behaviour during conflict. His association with Ares the god of war and Phobos the god of panic could cause an outward show of terror and dread on the battlefield resulting in warriors fleeing from the fight due to sheer, abject terror. The brothers Deimos and Phobos were charged with the task of driving the chariot of Ares, the war god. According to ancient Greek mythology the war chariot was drawn by four gold bridled fire-breathing stallions who were called Aithon (Red-Fire), Phlogios (Flame), Konabos (Tumult) and Phobos (Panic and Flight).
Deimos and the Gods of War
The Greek writer Hesiod in the Shield of Heracles named other Greek Gods of war and battle, who inspired the love of war, and the stirring and spilling of blood, including:
- Eris (Battle-Strife)
- Phobos (Panic and Fear)
- Androktasia (Slaughter)
- Kydoimos (Confusion)
- The Keres (the Death Spirits)
- Proioxis (Onrush)
- Palioxis (Backrush)
- Homados (Tumult)
The blood thirsty brother Phobos and Deimos were described by Hesiod, Theogony as "terrible gods who drive in disorder the close ranks of men in numbing war, with the help of Ares, sacker of towns.”
Deimos (Roman Counterpart was Formido or Metus)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Deimos, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Deimos was Formido or Metus.