Hello all and happy Tuesday! Going off of last weeks mythology lesson, today I’ll be talking to y’all about Aphrodite’s husband, Hephaestus. I hope y’all enjoy!
Hephaestus: The Greek
Hephaestus was born to Zeus and Hera, King and Queen of the Olympian Gods. Despite his noble birth, he was immediately cast from Olympus the moment he was born by his own mother due to his abnormally hideous appearance (don’t worry though, he is one of the only Gods known to return after being exiled and Dionysus was the one who actually brought him back, giving him a throne on Olympus). Because of his appearance, however, Zeus granted him Aphrodite’s hand in marriage in order to prevent a war of the Gods for the right to marry her, the most beautiful maiden of all time. Though he knew his wife loved him, he was also not blind to the fact that she would frequently cheat on him with mortals and Gods which hurt him deeply but also gave him inspiration for many of his inventions (a lot of them being traps of some sort that he used to catch his wife and whatever lover she was with at the time in the act).
Hephaestus was the God of fire, smiths, craftsmen, metalworking, stone-masonry and the art of sculpture. He was often depicted as a middle-aged bearded man with a cane (because of his deformity) holding a hammer like that of a blacksmith or tongs and bent over his metal work or riding a donkey, his sacred animal.
He had an interesting relationship with his mother (a relationship I think he should have gone through family counseling for) because, though his Hera was always so cruel to her own son, he would often times obey her every whim. The only time he actually fought back against her cruelty was when Dionysus had brought him back after being cast from Olympus. Upon returning, Hephaestus used his ingenious craftsmanship to fashion the most beautiful golden throne as a gift to his mother who, of course, accepted it without question. When she sat in it though, she was immediately trapped and entangled in tiny golden threads, imperceptible by anyone but it’s creator. All the Gods tried their best to free Hera but none succeeded. It wasn’t until Dionysus had gifted Hephaestus with the best wines he had and pleaded with the God to free Hera that Hephaestus finally consented and undid the ties that bound his cruel mother. Afterwards, though he never forgot her cruelty and she continued to act in the same manner as she always had, he still felt love for his mother and so, obeyed her every wish (sometimes even taking her side in arguments that she’d have with Zeus, his father, who cast him from Olympus yet again only to have him return, again, to act as the mediator between his parents for the rest of eternity).
Hephaestus was a skilled craftsman and was relied on by both mortals and Gods alike. He was the one to craft Hermes’ (Messenger of the Gods) winged sandals and winged helmet, Athena’s (Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy) Aegis shield, the hero Achilles’ armor for the Trojan War, Eros’/Cupid’s arrows of love, and he often repaired Zeus’ thunderbolts (though these were originally made by the Cyclops of Gaia).
Vulcan: The Roman
Vulcan was born to Jupiter and Juno, King and Queen of the Gods. He was the God of fire, smiths, craftsmen, metalworking, stone-masonry, the art of sculpture, and (as the name Vulcan implies) volcanoes. It was said that his workshop where he invented and built all of his masterpieces was underneath a volcano and sometimes his projects would cause fires in his workshop which is why volcanoes spout fire. He was married to Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty.
This is another instance of the Romans being unoriginal with their gods because Vulcan is pretty much exactly the same as Hephaestus except for the Roman’s emphasis on Vulcan’s mightiness (hence the emphasis on volcanic eruptions) but that’s the usual difference between Roman and Greek gods.
I hope y’all enjoyed learning a little about Hephaestus/Vulcan. He is, unfortunately, not well-known despite being one of the twelve Olympian gods but I find him to be one of the most charming of all the gods, regardless of his outward appearance. I hope this post was illuminating for y’all as I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. If y’all have any questions about stuff I didn’t touch on, or you’d just like an elaboration on something please leave me a comment below so we can chat! I really hope this was interesting to y’all. Thanks for reading, I’ll talk mythology with you next Tuesday!Thanks so much for reading y’all! Let me know anything you’d like to say in the comments below, you know I love hearing from y’all!
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