03 May The god of Fire
The god of Fire is based on Greek mythology. The story of Hephaestus – The god of fire, metalworking, stone, masonry, forges, the art of sculpture, Technology, and blacksmiths.
compiled by Dickson Onyenaturuchi Eze
Hephaestus’s Roman equivalent is Vulcan in Greek mythology. Hephaestus was either the son of Zeus and Hera or Hera’s parthenogenic child.
Hephaestus was cast out of Mount Olympus by his mother – Hera because he had some deformity. In a different account, it was Zeus who cast him off to protect Hera from his advances. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus.
He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and people worshipped him in the manufacturing and industrial centre of Greece, particularly in Athens. The cult of Hephaestus was based in Lemnos. Hephaestus’ symbols are a smith harmer, anvil, and a pair of tongs.
IN MYTHOLOGY – Who Is Hephaestus?
Hephaestus was the manufacturer of art, arms, iron, jewellery, and armor for various gods and heroes, including the Thunderbolt of Zeus. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and the husband of Aglaea and Aphrodite. His smithing workplace was underneath mount Aitna in Sicily. Hephaestus designs include –
– Hermes winged helmet and sandals
– The Aegis breastplate
– Aphrodite’s famed girdle
– Agamemnon’s staff of office
– Akhilles armor
– Herakles bronze clapper
– Helios chariots
– The shoulder of Pelops and
– Eros bow and arrows
In a later account, Hephaestus worked with the help of the chthonic kyklops – among his assistants in the forge were bronze, strops, and Argues. Hephaestus also built automatons of metal to work for him. These metals include tripods that walked to and from Mount Olympus. He gave his apprentice Kedalion as a guide to the blinded Orion. He also created the gift that the gods gave to man, the woman Pandora, and her pithos. Hephaestus made all the thrones in the Palace of Olympus with his skills as a blacksmith.
BIRTH OF INFANCY
As the son of Zeus- the king of the gods and Hera – the queen of the gods, Hephaistos should have been quite handsome, but baby Hephaistos was ugly with a red, bawling face. Hera was horrified that she hurled the tiny baby off the top of mount Olympus.
Hephaistos fell for a day and a night, eventually landing in the sea. One of his legs broke as he hit the water and was never developed properly from the surface. Hephaestus sunk quickly like a pebble in the blue depths. This was where the sea nymph – Thetis found him and took him to her underwear Grotto and raised him as her own son.
Hephaestus had a wretched childhood. When his mother – Hera, found that he was disfigured, she cast him off Mount Olympus, so he grew up in Lemnos. Later in his childhood, Hephaestus found the remains of a fisherman’s fire on the beach and became fascinated with an unextinguished coal, still red hot and glowing.
Hephaestus carefully shut this precious coal in a clamshell and took it back to his underwear grotto. He made a fire with the live coal.
On the first day after the fall from Olympus, Hephaestus stared at this fire for hours unending. On the second day, he made a discovery. When he made the fire hotter with bellows some stones sweated iron, silver, or gold. On the third day following his fall from Plumpus, Hephaestus beat the cooled metals into shapes, bracelets, chains, swords, and shields.
Hephaestus made pear-handled knives and spoons for his foster mother, silver chariots for himself, and bridles so that seahorses could transport him quickly. He also made slave girls of gold to wait on him and do his bidding.
One day Thetis left the underwater grotto to attend a dinner party on Mount Olympus wearing a beautiful necklace of silver and sapphires, which Hephaistos had made for her. Hera admired the necklace so much and asked her where she could get one. Thetis became flustered, which made Hera suspicious, and, at last, the queen god discovered the truth: the baby she had once rejected had grown into a talented Blacksmith.
Hera was furious and demanded Hephaistos return home – a demand that he refused. Despite his refusal, he did send Hera a beautifully constructed chair made of silver and gold inlaid with mother of pearl. Hera was delighted with this gift, but as soon she sat on it, her weight triggered hidden springs and metal bands that sprung forth to hold her fast. The more she shrieked and struggled, the more the mechanical throne gripped her firmly; the chair was a cleverly designed trap.
For three days, Hera sat fuming, still trapped in Hephaestus’s chair; she could not sleep, she could not stretch, she could not eat. Zeus pleaded with Hephaestus to dislodge Hera, but he vehemently refused. Dionysus, at last, brought Hephaestus back to Olympus on a donkey after getting him drunk. On the condition that Aphrodite would be given to Hephaestus as his wife, he freed Hera.
HEPHAISTOS (the god of fire) AND APHRODITE
Hephaestus being the most unfaltering of gods was given Aphrodite’s hand In marriage by Zeus to prevent conflict over her between the other gods.
Hephaestus and Aphrodite had an arranged marriage, and Aphrodite disliked the idea of being Hephaestus’. The smith god discovered Aphrodite’s promiscuity through Helios, the all-seeing sun, and planned a trap during one of their trysts.
While Aphrodite and Ares lay together in bed, Hephaestus ensured them in an unbreakable chain-link net so small and almost invisible. He dragged them to Mount Olympus to shame them in front of other gods for retribution.
This did not elicit the response he expected. The gods laughed at the sight of the naked lovers, and Poseidon persuaded Hephaestus to free them in return for a guarantee that Ares would pay the adulterer’s fine.
Hephaestus stated in the Odyssey that he would return Aphrodite to her father and demand his price back.
The Thebans said that the union of Ares and Aphrodite produced Harmonia, and the coming together of Hephaestus with Aphrodite yielded no issue. However, Vigil said that Eros was the child of Hephaestus and Aphrodite. Some authors explain this statement by saying that the lover god – Eros – was sired by Ares but passed off to Hephaestus as his own son.
Hephaestus was in some ways connected with the archaic pre greek Phrygian and Thracian mystery cult of the kabeiroi. They were also known as the Hephaestus and Hephaestus-men in Lemnos. One of the three Lemnian tribes called themselves Hephaistion and claimed direct descent from god.
HEPHAESTUS (the god of fire) AND ATHENA
Hephaestus is to the male gods as Athena is to the females. He gave skills to mortal artists and taught men the art alongside Athena. Yet, Hephaestus was believed to be far inferior to the sublime character of Athena.
In Athens, they had temples and festivals in common. Athena and Hephaestus were worshipped for their healing powers. The Lemnian earth (terra lemnia) from the spot on which Hephaestus had fallen was believed to cure madness, the bites of snakes, and hemorrhage. The priests of Hephaistos knew how to treat wounds inflicted by snakes.
Hephaestus was represented in the temple of Athena chalcioecus (Athena of the bronze house) at Sparta. The image is that of him in the act of delivering his mother on the chest of kypselos giving Achilles’ armor to Thetis.
In Athens, there was the famous statue of Hephaestus by Aleamenes in which his lameness was only portrayed subtly.
The Greeks frequently placed the dwarf-like status of Hephaestus near their hearths, and these figures are the oldest of all his representations.
During the best period of Grecian art, Hephaestus was represented as a vigorous man with a beard, characterized by his hammer or some other crafting tool, his oval cap, and the chiton.
CONSORT AND OFFSPRING OF THE god OF fIRE
Hephaestus’s consort is Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to him with several gods and mortals, including Ares – the god of war. In Humer’s load, the consorts of Hephaestus is a lesser Aphrodite, Charis “the grace “or Aglaia “the glorious” the youngest of the Grace as Hesiod calls her.
In Athens, there is a temple of Hephaestus, the Hephaiesteum (miscalled the “Theseum”)- near the agora. An Athenian founding myth tells that the city’s patron goddess, Athena, refused a union with Hephaestus because of his unsightly appearance and crippled nature. He was forceful with her, so she disappeared from the bed. Hephaestus’ ejaculate fell on the earth, impregnating Gaia, who subsequently gave birth to Erichthonius of Athens. A surrogate mother later gave the child to Athena to foster, guarded by a serpent.
On the island of Lemnos, Hephaestus’s consort was the sea nymph Kabeiro, by whom he was the father of two metalworking gods named the Kabeiri.
In Sicily, his consort was the nymph Aitna, and he had two sons – the two gods of Sicilian geysers called Palici with Thalia. Hephaestus was sometimes considered the father of the Oalici.
Hephaestus fathered many children with mortals and immortals alike. One of those children was the robber Peripheries. This is the list of his consort and children as recorded in various accounts.
- Hamilton, Edith (1998), Mythology, back bay books
- Myths and Folklorewiki, Hephaestus,
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