Skanda or Murugan has other common names like Karthikeya, Subrahmanya, and Kumara. According to Indian mythology, Skanda is the son of Parvati and Shiva. Under the name of Murugan, he is the most popular gods among Tamils. Murugan originated from the fusion of Skanda. In the religious life of North India, Skanda plays only a subordinate role.
In his most common form, Skanda/Murugan usually appears in the youthful form. As a rule, he raised his right hand to the gesture of fearlessness. Skanda's attribute is a lance that rests on its right shoulder. Murugan is often depicted on a peacock tied with a snake. Sometimes Skanda also appears together with his two wives Devasena and Valli. As a Dandayudhapani the god appears as a youthful ascetic with a stick, loincloth, and bald head.
Skanda often appears as a toddler together with Ganesha in the lap of his parents Shiva and Parvati. In modern representations, especially in North India, Skanda is often absent. Skanda/Murugan was already in the 3rd millennium BC in the Indus culture. The Skanda cult in North India loses its significance from the first millennium. Murugan at the same time merges with Skanda and continues to enjoy great popularity in the south.
The Skanda cult was during the first centuries AD in various North Indian dynasties. Coins with representations of Skanda were under the Kushan, Shaka, and Yaudheya. At the time of the Gupta empire (4th-6th century), there are references to a strong Skanda cult. It was not only on coins but also the names of Gupta rulers such as Kumaragupta and Skandagupta. After the Gupta period, the importance of Skanda seems to have declined in North India.
The earliest tangible references to Murugan appear in the Sangam poetry. He carries a lance, animals associated with him are peacock, cock, and elephant. Murugan is a protector who fights against evil forces and drives away the fear.
Murugan seems to have turned into a war god, which was also worshiped by the kings of the city-states. At the same time, towards the middle of the first millennium, he began to merge with Skanda. Here the god under the name of Murugan belongs to the most popular gods. In the religious practice of the rest of India, Skanda plays hardly any role today. Except in Tamil Nadu, his cult is still common in the bordering states of Kerala and Karnataka. Here he is usually called Subrahmanya. As Kartik, there is a cult in Bengal.
In Tamil Nadu, there are sanctuaries of Murugan in towns, villages and often also on hilltops. Sri Lanka also has Murugan temples. Ares is the god of war, bloodbath, and massacre in Greek mythology. Although the meaning is not quite the same, he was later equated by the Romans to its own war god Mars. But Mars stood higher among the Romans than Ares among the Greeks.
In pre-Greek time he was more like a fertility god. March, the first month of the year got consecrated to Mars. In March and October, took place honorary processions. Horses and cattle got sacrificed in October. The slaughtered animals were then eaten as usual with the ancient animal sacrifice.
As a conjugal son of Zeus and Hera, he was one of the central figures in the Greek gods. Ares was a brutal, wild, unrestrained war god. He finds pleasure in violence and pulls with the wild beasts to feed on their blood. While Athene, the goddess of wisdom and war, stands for the heroic part of the war, Ares is rather a dark god.
He is aggressive, cruel, ruthless, and bloodthirsty. He often interferes with the mortal combat and incites the fighting spirit. With his qualities, he was also unhappy and indeed hated by the other gods. Even his father Zeus despised him. He was also regarded as the symbol of male power and beauty, and the war-craft reserved for men.
He had a love relationship with the love goddess Aphrodite. In some variants, Eros, the arch-armed love god, is the son of Ares and Aphrodite. Every war which the Greeks often led together was a homage to him. As an unpopular and unworthy God, he was seldom an object in art.