Temple of Ares

The Temple of Ares, a Greek monument, has been a part of the Athenian Agora for thousands of years. During the height of the Athens city-state, civic life centered around the Agora (the Greek word for marketplace). It was more than a place to shop; it was a place to share news, meet other citizens, and participate in religious life. Ares, the god of war, was an especially important to the ancient Athenians, since war was always a recent memory or a distinct possibility. Without a time machine, it's not possible to see the full Temple of Ares Athens, though its ruins remain at the northern end of the Agora.

On Athens tours, guides will take you to the ruins of the Temple of Ares and explain its story. The architect remains unknown, but it's most likely the same man who designed the Temple of Hephaistos, still standing a short walk to the west. Experts believe that the temple was built between 450 and 440 B.C., based on the design and the architectural remains. Archaeologists also found pottery below the foundation, which led to the conclusion that the temple was most likely built somewhere else. Perhaps it was dedicated to another god at first—some think Athena—and perhaps some time later, the Romans dedicated the Temple of Ares Athens to their emperor. The grandson of the emperor Augustus was given the nickname the new Ares, so this is a distinct possibility.

Given the prominent location at the head of the Agora, the Romans could have visited the Temple of Ares as a kind of museum. After all, the Athenians lived a several hundred years before the Roman Empire. Even back then, going to museums was one of the more popular things to do. They had the privilege of seeing the walls and artifacts. Even though time has worn down the walls and left the Temple of Ares Athens as ruins, it's still an amazing remnant of one of the world's great societies.

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