Olympos: the god of fire Hephaestus

398px-Vulcan_Coustou_Louvre_MR1814Studio Tablinum: it is with great pleasure that, this month, I will talk about the avdentures of  Heaphaestus, the God of Fire.

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.

hera e tetiHis 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 HephaestusZeus 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 OlympusThe 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.

teti efestoHephaestus was picked up by the Nereids Thetis and Eurynome and he grew up in an underwater cave. To honor the Nereids, still a child, he created beautiful jewelry.

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.

ciclopiHe took with him in his forge the children of Uranus and Gaea, the Cyclops who, like their brothers Titans, were repeatedly defeated by the Olympians.

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 Etnamother of other two children, the Palici.

atena ed efestoThe funniest story come form one of the many myths about the foundation of Athens:

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 limitedBut 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.

Alessandro Cerioli

 

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