When I was a child, I was fascinated by his strength and intelligence: he was one of the few gods of the Pantheon, constructive and not destructive, as was instead his brother Ares. He was considered the unluckiest god of the Pantheon.
Hephaestus, since its inception, had to struggle against life adversities: he was not born with qualities such as beauty, elegance or friendliness, but he had a great intelligence: he was indeed, called the “Engineer of Olympus”.
This ingenious God was the creator of the Olympians residence and, in his own forge, he also created the weapons of the gods and heroes and much more. The most amazing creation were his automatons used as assistants.
Those inventions made of him the God of engineering, technology, metallurgy and sculpture.
His symbols were: the anvil, hammer and tongs. His forge was located beneath Mount Etna in Sicily.
He was worshiped in all over Greece, particularly in Athens, he was considered a God with a bad temper, but it was appreciated by the faithful for his genius.
His mather, Hera, during one of the many episodes of hate towards her traitor husband, decided to give birth to a son alone, in order to punish Zeus about His continuous betrayals with other gods and mortal women.
But Hera, since it was also the goddess of marriage, asked for help to Thetis, the mother of the hero Achilles, who procured seaweed with supernatural powers that allowed women to get pregnant without the “help” of man.
Nine months later, Hera gave birth to Hephaestus. Zeus could not remain indifferent and jealous, he asked for an explanation to his wife.
The real drama came when the baby was born: they were both disgusted by his ugliness, and in an extreme gesture, threw down Hephaestus from Olympus. The poor baby took several days to land in the ocean, but he remain lame for its entire existence. An unnatural act that never forgave to his divine parents, especially his mother Hera.
He took his revenge by chaining her mother to a magical throne. Era was released only after giving in marriage to Hephaestus the Goddess of Love, the beautiful Aphrodite.
Despite his physical defect, Hephaestus was very brave during the War against Giants.
With his brothers he expelled from Olympus, the Giants, Gaea’s soons.
Hephaestus fought against Clizio, one of the most threatening. The God of Fire killed him with a red-hot iron rod.
Hephaestus worked with those wondrous creatures because of their high knowledge of metals; not by chance, the Zeus’ thunderbolts and lightning were manufactured in the forge of Hephaestus.
Despite its ugliness Hephaestus had many beautiful women: his wife Aphrodite, the Nereid Cabiro, mother of his two sons, the Cabiri, and the Nymph Etna, mother of other two children, the Palici.
When the Goddess Athena went to Hephaestus forge and ordered some arms, he tried to seduce her with the streght.
But Athena suddenly disappeared, leaving him alone in the moment of maximum enjoyment. His semen fell on the ground and fertilized the goddess Gaea, and after nine months she gave birth to a child, Erichthonius, one of the first kings of Athens.
Haephaestus designed for the King of the Phaeacians Alcinous, two automata – dogs as guardians of the royal palace.
These two automata marveled much the hero Odysseus, who saw them while visiting the gardens with the beautiful Nausicaa, daughter of Alcinous.
The reputation of Hephaestus, compared to other deities, is flawless and therefore his vicissitudes are limited. But we like it as it is: honest and hard-working God of Olympus.
In the next article, I will tell you the story of Ares, the destructive and violent God of War.
With the god of war, we conclude the trio of gods previously involved: Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Hephaestus, God of Fire.