Phobos (mythology)

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Phobos (Ancient Greek Φόβος, "Fear") is the personification of fear and horror in Greek mythology. He is the son of Ares and Aphrodite. He, his brother Deimos, and the goddess Enyo accompany Ares into battle, along with his father's attendants, Trembling, Panic and other abstractions. His Roman equivalent was Timor.

Asaph Hall, who discovered the moons of Mars, named one Phobos.

In his poem Shield of Herakles, the Greek poet Hesiod offers the following description of Phobos:

In the centre [of the Shield of Herakles] was Phobos (Fear) worked in adamant, unspeakable, staring backwards with eyes that glowed with fire. His mouth was full of teeth in a white row, fearful and daunting, and upon his grim brow hovered frightful Eris (Strife) who arrays the throng of men ...
Upon the shield Proioxis (Pursuit) and Palioxis (Flight) were wrought, and Homados (Tumult), and Phobos (Panic), and Androktasie (Slaughter). Eris (Strife) also, and Kydoimos (Uproar) were hurrying about, and deadly Ker (Fate).
–Shield of Heracles 139f

Plutarch reports that Alexander the Great offered sacrifices to the god Phobos on the eve (September 29, 331 BC/BCE) of the Battle of Gaugamela. Mary Renault believes this was part of Alexander's psychological warfare campaign against Darius III, who had proven himself to be indeed most timorous: At their previous encounter in the Battle of Issus, Darius had fled with such haste that he left behind his mother, his wife, his children, and many treasures. From the field of Gaugamela also, Darius fled with great speed. Alexander's tactic of praying to Phobos (presumably asking him to fill Darius with fear) would seem to have been successful.


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Phobos (mythology)

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