One thing I would like to get in the near future is a decent chess set. It has been a few years since I have one and there are several sets that have caught me eye over the years. One of my favorites was the white peices as Greek gods, and the black peices as the Roman gods (the pawns as eagles). I am not particularly great at chess but I do throw myself into it with a great deal of enthusiasm and aggression even if I don’t have a particular talent for strategy. I do wonder though if people who are devoted to Athena or Ares may not be chess players themselves. It is certainly a cheap and harmless form of combat. It seems reasonable considering how many folks do some kind of combat sport, like martial arts, and reinactments.
Though I don’t particularly do it as any kind of devotional activity for Athena and Ares, and despite my lack of skill in these sort of feilds, I do have a passion for it, and the kind of focus it entails. Much of the reason why I have some experience with chess, and no experience at combat sports and activities, has to do with the fact that playing chess costs nothing more to get started than the cost for a 10 dollar wooden set. Martial arts incurs significant monthly expense that I cannot afford, and my attempts to get involved in reinactment groups in the past has been met with no real success since any attempts to get involved and see if I liked it before I purchased my own weaponry didn’t work out. Offers to come try it out and that there would be swords and bows available, never had the aforementioned weapons available and so I ended up standing around watching.
That said I have been determined for quite some time to take up archery again in honor of Apollon and Artemis, and I would have liked to have done so with a reinactment group but as that never had worked out right I more or less determined to get a bow and set up a target and just do so for my own enjoyment. I have my eye on a lovely little scythian bow for my birthday. This is not really a combat sport, but it does require similar kinds of focus, though with a target rather than a living reacting opponent. Such seems to be appropriate for honoring these gods that I love even if it may lack some of the variety of participating in a group.
Artemis and Apollon are not particularly martial, and though Apollon has an epithet that refers to him as Marshaller of the Host it has more to do with military moral as far as I can see than fighting. Epithets that refer to them as gods who shoot from afar tends to imply more of a connection with delivering point to target contact rather than actively fighting with another. That doesn’t mean that fencing couldn’t be done in honor of Apollon…he is after all also the god of the golden sword, but the bow is a more common attribute for Apollon that I feel would be a more regular part of any devotional activity. Not saying that I do not love swords and various blades, because that would be lying. That said, I can completely understand why militant-like activities such as chess and combat sports would be taken up by people who follow gods such as Athena and Ares.