"Sangue" is a contemporary rendition of Ares, the Greek god of war, son of Zeus and Hera, and one of the twelve Olympian gods. In myth, his chaotic and violent persona, meant he was perceived more accurately as the god of blood-thirst and indiscriminate slaughter, and was contrasted with his sister Athene, whose military strategy and intelligence was celebrated. In Hommers epic, the Illiad, Ares is placed on the losing side , whilst Athene is sided with the favoured Greeks. In the course of the Trojan war, Ares is humiliated and injured by his sister Athene, and chastised by Zeus, Overlord of the Olympians. Another myth relates the illicit relationship between Ares and Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Their union produced Eros, though the couple were exposed to ridicule by the lame god, Hephaestus, when he trapped them in his golden net.
The power struggles between rival city states , such as Athens and Sparta, meant that the narratives in myths could often be allegorical , and have a political motive. A regional preference for the goddess Athene in Athens was countered by a prominence for Ares in Sparta. Religion and politics were closely meshed, and the mythologies provided an ongoing and interactive cultural expression.
The Olympian gods were predominately anthropomorphic in nature, and the myths presented the deities as accentuated versions of the human psyche, with "common" disputes initiating many of the narratives. The heroes, of Greek mythologies, were perceived to have been endowed with superhuman abilities, and were the mediators and executers of the wills and whims of the Olympian realm. An evident correlation between the gods and heros of the ancient world and the present day cult of superhero narrative in film, interactive media and comic books marks a continued relevance to contemporary culture.
The persona of Ares evolved when he was appropriated by Roman culture, renamed Mars, and held to be the founder and guardian of Rome. In contrast to the wayward "hooligan" of Greek myth, Ares was afforded a more dignified role in ancient Roman religion. The extant statues of Ares in museums in the present day, are almost exclusively Roman interpretations, and the war god is commonly shown in repose or in mild consort with Aphrodite. One known exception to the subdued depiction is a Greek bronze original housed in the Gaziantep museum in Turkey, and depicts Ares in his original, brutal and destructive persona.
"Sangue" corresponds to the ancient Greek perception of Ares, and emphasises the violent aspect of the god, personified by a volatile youth, immersed in the frenzy of warfare. The image of Ares in a heightened state of homo-erotic bloodlust, driven by an adrenaline induced rage, alludes to a collective "euphoria" observed in warfare. The mindless engagement in conflict was perceived as a barbaric rather than noble attribute, and the narratives of Ares attest to an ambivalence towards the god in Greek myths. Nonetheless Ares in his accentuated fury is a potent reminder of the dark and destructive potential that remains inherent in the human psyche.