Phobos (mythology)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Phobos (Ancient Greek for "Fear") is the embodiment of fear and horror in Greek mythology. He is the offspring of Ares and Aphrodite. He was known for accompanying Ares into battle along with his brother, Deimos, the goddess Enyo, and his father’s attendants. Timor is his Roman equivalent. The word phobia derives from the word phobos.



Phobos is the son of Aphrodite and Ares. This can be seen in Hesiod’s Theogony, “Also Kytherea [Aphrodite] bare to Ares the shield piercer Phobos…” (Atsma). Phobos’ genealogy is shown below:

Name Relation
Dione Grandmother (Aphrodite's Mother)
Zeus Grandfather (Both Sides)
Hera Grandmother (Ares's Mother)
Ares Father
Aphrodite Mother
Deimos (Twin) Brother
Anteros Brother
Harmonia Sister
Himerus Brother
Enyo Aunt
Table 1. Genealogy of Phobos. Source: See See Also


Those who worshiped Phobos often made bloody sacrifices in his name. In Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus, the seven warriors slaughter a bull over a black shield and then “touching the bull’s gore with their hands they swore an oath by … Phobos who delights in blood…”(Atsma). Ares’s son, Kyknos, “beheaded strangers who came along in order to build a temple to Phobos (fear) from the skulls” (Atsma).

Warriors and heroes who worshiped Phobos, such as Heracles and Agamemnon, carried shields with depictions of Phobos on them.


Hesiod depicts Phobos on the shield of Heracles as “…staring backwards with eyes that glowed with fire. His mouth was full of teeth in a white row, fearful and daunting…” (Atsma) and again later during a war scene as being “…eager to plunge amidst the fighting men,” (Atsma).

Phobos is often depicted as having a lion’s or lion-like head. This can be seen in Description of Greece by Pausanias, “On the shield of Agamemnon is Phobos (Fear), who head is a lion’s…” (Atsma).


According to Plutarch, Alexander the Great offered sacrifices to Phobos on the eve of the Battle of Gaugamela. This was believed by Mary Renault to be part of Alexander’s psychological warfare campaign against Darius III. Darius fled from the field of Gaugamela, which makes Alexander’s praying to Phobos (in all probability asking him to fill Darius with fear) seem successful as a tactic.


American astronomer Asaph Hall named one of planet Mars' satellites "Phobos", which he discovered along with the second Mars satellite, "Deimos", in 1877.


The word phobia derives from the word phobos.


  1. Template:Note labelAphrodite is shown as Dione's and Zeus’ daughter in the genealogy diagram; however, there is another myth where she was born from the sea foam where Uranus’ genitals dropped after Kronos mutilated him.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Phobos (mythology)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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