As one of many twelve Olympians, the god Hephaestus was a serious deity for the traditional Greeks. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was primarily the god of fireplace and smiths, however he was additionally accountable for different crafts, together with sculpting and carpentry. Married to the goddess Aphrodite and son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of Mount Olympus, the god Hephaestus seems in lots of the famed legends of the traditional Greeks.
Depiction of the god Hephaestus (as Vulcan) by Pompeo Batoni. ( Public domain )
Who was Hephaestus? The Anomaly of the Lame Olympian God
Some historical writers, such because the poet Homer, claimed that the god Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. Others nonetheless, resembling Hesiod, acknowledged that Hera conceived the god on her personal. In any case, Hephaestus is claimed to have been born very ugly, which is an anomaly as the opposite Greek deities have been believed to be bodily flawless.
Hephaestus was generally depicted as a bearded middle-aged man with a big physique, normally described as carrying a brief, sleeveless tunic, as this was the clothes of selection of craftsmen. As a craftsman himself, Hephaestus was related to such instruments of the commerce as hammers, anvils, and tongs.
Hephaestus may need been born lame, as one among his many epithets was “the lame one.” In some myths, Hephaestus was stated to have been made lame both by Zeus or Hera. In a single such story, Hephaestus is claimed to have intervened on behalf of his mom throughout a quarrel between Zeus and Hera. Enraged by his interference, Zeus solid Hephaestus out of Mount Olympus and he grew to become lame after the autumn. In different accounts, it was Hera, disgusted by her son’s deformity and ugliness, who threw Hephaestus down from the mountain.
Element of Hephaestus in his forge within the portray “Parnassus” (1496-1497) by Andrea Mantegna. (Public domain )
Hephaestus, God of Fireplace and Smiths, and his Return to Olympus
It was throughout his exile that Hephaestus discovered his commerce. In a single model of the parable, Hephaestus fell within the ocean, the place he was discovered by Thetis and Eurynome. The pair sheltered the Olympian in a cave below the ocean for 9 years, the place he discovered to make jewellery utilizing pearls and corals. In one other model of the story, Hephaestus landed on the island of Lemnos, the place he was tutored by Kidalionas, a blacksmith. These tales clarify why Hephaestus was the god of fireplace and smiths.
Ultimately, Hephaestus returned to Mount Olympus, because of Dionysus. In keeping with one fantasy, Hephaestus meant to actual revenge on Zeus and Hera for what they’d performed to him. The god crafted a golden throne, which he gave to his mom. Hera accepted the present, and sat on it.
When the goddess tried to stand up, nonetheless, she was unable to take action, as she was tied down by invisible cords. Hera begged her son to set her free, as did lots of the different gods, however to no avail. Ultimately, it was Dionysus who prevailed on Hephaestus by getting him drunk, and due to this fact succeeding in convincing him to set Hera free.
The traditional Greek god Hephaestus in “Vulcan forging the Thunderbolts of Jupiter” (1636-1638) by Peter Paul Rubens. ( Public domain )
Bargaining for Love: Hephaestus and Aphrodite
As Hephaestus was about to set his mom free, Zeus appeared and tried to persuade his son to launch Hera. Realizing that his father was unaware that he was going to set Hera free, Hephaestus took benefit of the scenario by making a cut price with Zeus. In trade for Hera’s freedom, Hephaestus was to have the hand of Aphrodite in marriage. Thus, the lame and ugly Hephaestus grew to become the husband of the goddess of love .
In a single story, Aphrodite dedicated adultery with Ares, the god of war , and the pair have been caught red-handed by Hephaestus and ensnared with a chain-net that he made himself. Hephaestus invited the opposite gods to chuckle on the adulterous pair, and it was Poseidon who finally persuaded him to launch them.
Hephaestus, as Vulcan, exhibiting the captured Hera and Ares, or Venus and Mars, to the gods. ( Public domain )
Hephaestus created many different magnificent objects, for himself and the gods, in addition to for sure mortals. For instance, his palace was manufactured from gold, and he original himself gold automata that behaved virtually like people. Furthermore, a number of items of army gear are stated to have been made by Hephaestus for the heroes of Greek mythology. These embody the armor of Achilles, the sword of Peleus, and the breast-plate of Diomedes.
High picture: Aphrodite within the forge of the god Hephaestus. 1610 portray by Bartholomeus Spranger entitled “Venus in Vulcan’s Forge.” Supply: Public domain
By Wu Mingren