Enyo – The Goddess of War

Affiliate Disclosures

Enyo was a goddess of war in Greek mythology. She was often portrayed as the companion of Ares, the god of war, and took pleasure in seeing bloodshed and the destruction of towns and cities. Known as the ‘Sacker of Cities’ and the ‘Sister of War’, Enyo loved to help plan attacks on cities and spread terror as much as she could.

Who Is Enyo?

Enyo was the daughter of the supreme Greek god, Zeus and his wife, Hera, the goddess of marriage.

As the goddess of war, her role was to help Ares plan the destruction of cities. She would often take part in the destruction as well. She played a role in the war between Dionysus, the god of wine, and the Indians and she also spread terror in the city of Troy during its downfall. Enyo was also involved in the war of the ‘Seven against Thebes’. She and Ares’ sons are depicted on the shield of the Greek hero, Achilles.

Enyo often worked with three other minor deities including Phobos, the god of fear, Deimos, the personification of dread and Eris, the goddess of strife and enjoyed watching the result of their work.  Enyo liked watching battles so much that when her own father Zeus fought the dreadful monster Typhon, she enjoyed every minute of the battle and wouldn’t choose a side because she didn’t want it to stop.

Enyo has been identified with Eris, the Greek goddess of strife, and with Bellona, the Roman goddess of war. It’s  said that she is quite similar in some ways with Ma, the Anatolian goddess. In some myths, she’s identified as the mother of Enyalius, the war god,  with Ares as the father.

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Enyo’s Symbols

Enyo is typically depicted wearing a military helmet with a torch in her right hand, which are the symbols that represent her. She also carries a shield in her left hand and in some representations there’s usually a snake leaning against her left leg with its mouth open, ready to strike.

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Enyo vs. Athena vs. Ares

Ares vs Athena

Like Athena, Enyo is also a goddess of war. However, the two are very different in the aspects of war which they represent.

Athena represents all that is noble in war. She symbolizes strategy, wisdom and careful planning in war. However, her brother, Ares, represents all that is disliked about war, such as bloodshed, death, cruelty, barbarism and needless destruction.

Because Enyo associates with Ares, she represents the destructive and damaging nature of war. Her lust for bloodshed, destruction and devastation makes her a terrifying figure and one that enjoyed wreaking havoc. 

Regardless of this, Enyo remains a minor war goddess, with Athena and Ares being the main deities of war in Greek myth.

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The Cult of Enyo

The cult of Enyo was established in several places throughout Greece, including Athens, the city of Anitauros and the Phrygian mountains. Temples were dedicated to the goddess of war and her statue, made by Praxiteles’ sons, stood in the temple of Ares in Athens.

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In Brief

Enyo is one of the few deities in Greek mythology who was known to enjoy and take pride in her abiliy to cause war, death, destruction and bloodshed. She isn’t one of the most famous or popular goddesses, but she did participate in some of the biggest wars in the history of ancient Greece.