Alala (Ancient Greek: Ἀλαλά; "battle-cry" or "war-cry"), was the goddess/personification/daemon of the war cry in Greek mythology. Her name means loud cry, esp. war-cry, from the onomatopoeic Greek word ἀλαλή [alalē], hence the verb ἀλαλάζω (alalaző) "raise the war-cry". Greek soldiers attacked the enemy with this battle cry in order to cause panic to the enemy lines. It is reputed to be derived from the horrific sound owls make. Alalaxios (Ἀλαλάξιος) is an epithet of Ares. Alala is one of those deities whose name remains the same in Roman mythology as in Greek mythology, (such as Apollo's).
She is the daughter of Polemos/Bellum, the god/personification/daemon of war, and according to one of Aesop's fables, her mother was Hubris/Petulantia, the female personification of arrogance. Her aunt was the war goddess, Enyo/Bellona (War), and her uncle was the war god, Ares/Mars. Along with her father, Polemos/Bellum, and her Aunt Enyo/Bellona, Alala is also one of her uncle, the war god, Ares', attendants out on the battlefield, along with the rest of his entourage (Phobos & Deimos (Ares'/Mars' sons), Eris/Discordia and the Androktasiai, Makhai, Hysminai, and the Phonoi (Eris'/Discordia's children), the Spartoi, and the Keres), and their war cry was her name, "Alale alala".
In World War II, during the Greco-Italian War a similar battle cry "άέρα" (aera) was used by the Greek soldiers. During the Fascist "Ventennio", the same war-cry (modified as "eja eja alalà", where "eja" had the same meaning of war-cry, taken from Aeschylus and Plato) was adopted by the Arditi, a special corps of the Fascist Army. It was invented by Gabriele D'Annunzio after the Capture of Fiume.
"Harken! O Alala, daughter of Polemos! Prelude of spears! To whom soldiers are sacrificed for their city’s sake in the holy sacrifice of death." - Pindar. Dithyrambs, Frag. 78. Alala is the warrior princess, war goddess The name Alala comes from the Greek word Alalai which means warrior.
In popular culture
- Throughout the Xena: Warrior Princess franchise, the series protagonist, Xena, often utilized the signature war cry, "Alalaes". Her cry was an alternate writing for "Alale" (or "Alala"), who in Greek mythology was the female personification of the war cry.
- LSJ entry ἀλαλή
- Theoi Project: Alala - ALALA was the spirit (daimona) of the war cry. She was a daughter of Polemos (war personified).
- Aesop, Fables 533 (from Babrius 70)
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 8. 424 ff
- Atsma, Aaron J. (2011). "ALALA : Goddess or Spirit of the War-Cry". theoi.com. Retrieved 12 July 2014.