Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes. Hephaestus’ Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods. In another version, he was Hera’s parthenogenous child, rejected by his mother because of his deformity and thrown off Mount Olympus and down to earth. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens. The cult of Hephaestus was based in Lemnos. Hephaestus’ symbols are a smith’s hammer, anvil, and a pair of tongs.
Hephaestus Greek God of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges, the art of sculpture and blacksmiths.
Home of Hephaestus Mount Olympus
Symbols of Hephaestus Hammer Anvil Tongs Volcano
Sacred Animals of Hephaestus 1 Donkey Hephaistos was frequently depicted in art riding on the back of a donkey 2 Crane associated with the god from his time dwelling on the banks of the River Okeanos, where the bird migrated to in the winter. Its long-necked head was often depicted decorating the donkey-saddle or chariot of the god.
Sacred Plant FENNEL The slow-burning stalk of the fennel was used in ancient times as a torch and a means to transport fire from one place to another. In this way it came to be associated with the god, and his torch-race festivals featured the plant.
Wives 1 Aphrodite 2 Aglaea
Children 1 Thalia “the Joyous, the Flourishing” A nymph. A deity of plant life and shoots. Zeus seized this Thalia whilst he was in eagle form. He then made love to her near the river Symethe in Sicily and then buried her in the ground to avoid Hera’s jealousy. Her twin children, the Palici, were thus born from the earth
2 Eucleia She died a virgin and came to be venerated as the female spirit of glory and good repute She had a sanctuary in Athens, which was dedicated to her in honor of those who fought in the Marathon battle.
3 Eupheme The female spirit of words of good omen, praise, acclaims, shouts of triumph, and applause.
4 Philophrosyne The female spirit of welcome, friendliness, and kindness.
5 Cabeiri A group of enigmatic chthonic deities
6 Euthenia A female spirit of prosperity.
7 Ardalus Is said to have invented the flute, and to have built a sanctuary of the Muses at Troezen, who derived from him the surname Ardalides or Ardaliotides.
8 Cercyon of Eleusis He was a notorious King of Eleusis famous for his cruelty towards his daughter, Alope and those refused to fight with him. Cercyon was described also as a very strong man.
9 Erichthonius of Athens “earth-shaker” He was a legendary early ruler of ancient Athens. According to some myths, he was autochthonous (born of the soil, or Earth under Hephaestus’ anvil) and raised by the goddess Athena.
10 Olenus Olenus father of Helike and Aex, two nurses of Zeus. A city in Aulis was named for him
11 Periphetes Also known as Corynetes or the Club-Bearer. He as lame in one leg, like his father and had one. He roamed the road from Athens to Troezen where he robbed travelers and killed them with his bronze club.
Parents Zeus and Hera or Hera alone
Roman equivalent Vulcan
Hephaestus is given many epithets (bynames) Amphigueis “the lame one” Kullopodion “the halting” Khalkeus “coppersmith” Klutotekhnes “renowned artificer” Polumetis “shrewd, crafty” or “of many devices” Aitnaios “Aetnaean”, owing to his workshop being supposedly located below Mount Aetna.
Hera was jealous of Zeus’ giving birth to Athena with Metis, so she gave birth to Hephaestus without union with Zeus. Hera was then disgusted with Hephaestus’ ugliness and threw him from Mount Olympus.
He was caught by Thetis (mother of Achilles) and the Oceanid Eurynome, they nursed him on the banks of the earth encircling river Oceanus. He stayed with them for nine years
When Hephaestus learned about this, he got very angry and promised to take revenge on Hera. He decided to create a magic, golden throne and send it to Mount Olympus as a special “gift” to his mother. When Hera saw the splendid throne, she immediately got enthused over it and, without thinking, she sat on the throne cheerfully. All at once, invisible, unbreakable chains appeared and tied her up rapidly. Hera cried for help and all Olympian gods ran for support, but none were capable of relieving her!
So the gods asked Dionysus, the god of wine, to offer his sweet wine to Hephaestus in order to intoxicate him. Dionysus agreed and managed to bring Hephaestus up to Mount Olympus and free Hera from her burdens.
The gods thanked Hephaestus by giving him Aphrodite, the goddess of love, as his wife and created a marvellous palace for him on Mount Olympus. Aphrodite soon grew tired of their marriage and became the mistress of Ares god of war.
Helios, who was able to see all deeds from both mortals and immortals, told Hephaestus about the affair of Ares and Aphrodite. When he found out he got angry and made a magical net, he planned to trap the couple in action.
He placed the invisible net over the bed. Then he made as if to depart to Lemnos, the town, which he loved more than any place on earth. Ares had seen Hephaestus go, and approached Hephaestus’ house, pining for love of Aphrodite. So they went to the golden bed chamber and lay down on bed. The net of magical chains enveloped them and they could not move an inch. Ares and Aphrodite realized there was no escape.
Hephaestus brought all the gods into the bedchamber to laugh at the captured adulterers. Poseidon agreed to pay Hephaestus for Ares’s release. Humiliated, Aphrodite returned to Cyprus. zeus granted the couple a divorce.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, (Greek epic C4th A.D.)…
He vowed to avenge himself for Aphrodite’s infidelity by cursing any lineage of children resulting from the affair. Aphrodite bore a daughter, Harmonia from Ares’ seed. Harmonia grew up and was later betrothed to Cadmus of Thebes. Upon hearing of the royal engagement, Hephaestus presented Harmonia with an exquisite necklace as a wedding gift. The magical necklace, referred to simply as the Necklace of Harmonia allowed any woman wearing it to remain eternally young and beautiful.
It is usually described in ancient Greek passages as being of beautifully wrought gold, in the shape of two serpents whose open mouths formed a clasp, and inlaid with various jewels.
Harmonia and Cadmus were both later transformed into serpents. The Necklace then went to Harmonia’s daughter Semele. She wore it the very day that Hera visited her and insinuated that her husband was not really Zeus. This led to Semele’s destruction when she foolishly demanded that Zeus prove his identity by displaying himself in all his glory as the lord of heaven.
Several generations later, Queen Jocasta wore the legendary Necklace. It allowed her to retain her youth and beauty. Thus after the death of her husband King Laius she unknowingly married her own son, Oedipus. When the truth about Oedipus was later discovered, Jocasta committed suicide, and Oedipus tore out his own eyes.
Aglaea is the Greek goddess of splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment. She was an attendant of Aphrodite. She comforted Hephaestus after his separation from Aphrodite, they married and had four daughters.
Athena visited Hephaestus to request some weapons, but Hephaestus was so overcome by desire that he tried to seduce. Determined to maintain her virginity, Athena fled, pursued by Hephaestus.He caught Athena and tried to have his way her but she fought him off. During the struggle, his semen fell on her thigh, and Athena, in disgust, wiped it away with a scrap of wool and flung it to the earth
As she fled, Erichthonius was born from the semen that fell to the earth. Athena, wishing to raise the child in secret, placed him in a small box. She gave the box to the three daughters (Herse, Aglaurus and Pandrosus) of Cecrops, the king of Athens, and warned them never to look inside.
Padrosus obeyed, but Herse and Aglaurus were overcome with curiosity and opened the box, which contained the infant and future-king, Erichthonius The sisters were terrified by what they saw in the box an infant that was half-human and half-serpent. They went insane and threw themselves off the Acropolis.
Orian was a giant huntsman, after drinking too much, he made sexual advances to Merope, the daughter of the local king. King Oenopion had him blinded and removed from the island. Blind Orion reached the island of Lemnos, which was the place where Hephaestus had his forge. Helped by Hephaestus Orion reached the East where the sun god Helios restored his eyesight.
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca (C2nd A.D.)…
Pelops was the king of the city of Pisa in Peloponnesus. His father, Tantalus wanted to make an offering to the gods and served his son in a stew to the gods. Most gods realised that there was something wrong and did not eat, but Demeter who was grieving for her daughter Persephone’s abduction by Hades, ate the left shoulder. Pelops was reassembled by the gods and brought back to life Hephaestus created an ivory shoulder to replace the missing part.
HEPHAESTUS AND THE CREATION OF PANDORA After humans received the stolen gift of fire from Prometheus, an angry Zeus decides to give humanity a punishing gift, He commands Hephaestus to mold from earth the first woman, a “beautiful evil”. After Hephaestus does so, Athena dresses her in a silvery gown, an embroidered veil, garlands and an ornate crown of silver.
Athena taught her needlework and weaving, Aphrodite “shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs”, Hermes gave her “a shameful mind and deceitful nature”, Hermes also gave her the power of speech, putting in her “lies and crafty words” Finally, Hermes gives this woman a name Pandora – “All gifted” – “because all the Olympians gave her a gift”
Hesiod, Works and Days. Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C…
In Greek mythology the Horses of the Cabeiri were four horse-shaped, bronze automotons crafted by the god Hephaestus to draw the adamantine chariot of his Cabeiri sons.
The Colchis Bulls were created by Hephaestus and was given to King Aeetes as a gift. They are made from bronze, their horns are sliver, and their eyes are rubies. When Jason came to Colchis in order to obtain The Golden Fleece, King Aeetes had yoke the Colchis Bulls and use them to plough a field. The field was then to be sown with dragon’s teeth. Jason managed to resist the burning flames of the Colchis Bulls due to a potion that was given to him by Medea.
Talos was a giant bronze man, who protected Europa in Crete from pirates. He was forged by Hephaestus, who gifted him to King Minos of Crete. Talos had a single vein, through which ichor, the divine blood of the Olympians, flowed. This vein was plugged by just one bronze nail. When Jason and the Argonauts reached Crete they came across Talos who started hurling giant rocks against the ship. Medea managed to trick Talos and removed the nail that plugged Talos’ vein the ichor ran out, and Talos died.
During the war of the giants Hephaestus killed the giant Mimas by pouring molten iron onto him. When the leader Typhon was eventually defeated by Zeus, he was buried beneath Mount Etna, and Hephaestus thereafter acted as a guard, ensuring the dangerous giant could not escape.
During the Trojan War Hephaestus was considered to be friendly towards the Achaean forces. Famously, Hephaestus crafted armour and a shield for Achilles, after being asked to by Thetis, the mother of Achilles, and a former rescuer of the god.
But at the same time, Hephaestus also crafted armour for the Trojan defender Memnon after a request from Eos, goddess of the Dawn. After the war, Hephaestus would also craft armour for Aeneas, another Trojan, following a request from Aphrodite.
During the Trojan War, the gods also, on occasion, took to the battlefield, and in one of the most famous fights between gods, Hephaestus faced the Potamoi Scamander, after Scamander had come close to killing Achilles. Hephaestus lit a great fire, and this fire caused the waters of Scamander to dry up, forcing the Potamoi into a retreat.
Hephaestus had his own palace on Olympus containing his workshop with anvil and twenty bellows that worked at his bidding. Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods, and almost any finely wrought metalwork imbued with powers that appears in Greek myth is said to have been forged by Hephaestus.
Hephaestus’s ugly appearance and lameness is taken by some to represent arsenicosis, an effect of high levels of arsenic exposure that would result in lameness and skin cancers. In place of less easily available tin, arsenic was added to copper in that age to harden it.
Hera, enraged at her husband’s infidelity, decided to start the first (and last) Olympian riot against Zeus. Hera managed to gain the support of Poseidon (who secretly desired to become King of the Olympian gods), as well as Apollo, and Athena. Hephaestus, however, chose to remain neutral. As a result, after Zeus was freed the King of Olympus did not punish him.
However, Hephaestus could not bear to see his mother Hera hanging chained right above the terrifying Void of Chaos. As a result, he finally set her free. Hera tearfully embraced Hephaestus and promised to never to call him ugly again.
His beautiful and detailed creations included the following wonders.. The magical girdle of Aphrodite.. It had the power to inspire the passion of desire. Hera, in her role as the goddess of marriage, occassionally borrowed it from Aphrodite to reunite quarrelling spouses in love and to inspire the bridal contests of suitors.
The silver bow Apollo.. Hephaestus gave it to him when he was a child after Apollo begged for it, needing the bow and arrows to protect his mother, Leto, from Python. After receiving them, Apollo cornered Python in the sacred cave at Delphi. Apollo killed the monster but had to be punished for it, since Python was a child of Gaea.
The bows and arrows of Artemis.. The silver bows vanish when they aren’t needed and reappear once they are. They are also magically strong and springy, but can still be broken
His robotic helpers, the handmaidens of gold.. He fashioned his own mechanical helpers to assist him in his work they are golden and in the form of living young women strong, vocal and intelligent.
The palaces and homes of the Olympians, with their unbreakable locks, as well as their twelve splendid thrones.
The Shield of Achilles.. Thetis, a nymph, asks the god Hephaestus to provide replacement armor for her son. He obliges, and forges a shield with spectacular decorative imagery.
Heracles golden breastplate.. created by Hephaestus for the twelve labours
Apollo’s golden chariot.. One of Apollo’s most important daily tasks was to harness the four horses (Aethon, Pyrois, Phlegon, Eous) pulling his golden chariot, in order to pull the Sun across the sky every day.
The golden bed of Helios.. Overnight, Helios and his chariot would be transported in a golden cup through the northern streams of Oceanus back to his palace
The armor of the gods in their war against the Titans.. The Titanomachy was a ten-year series of battles fought in Thessaly, consisting of most of the Titans (an older generation of gods, based on Mount Othrys) fighting against the Olympians (the younger generations, who would come to reign on Mount Olympus) and their allies.
The Aegis, emblazoned with the head of Medusa, carried by both Zeus and his daughter Athena
Hephaestus in popular culture.. .He participates in a story science fiction duology Ilium/Olympos by Dan Simmons .Hephaestus crafts a mechanical replica of the owl Bubo in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans.
.Hephaestus plays a role in the 2010 video game God of War III and is voiced by actor Rip Torn .In Diablo II, the player has to kill Hephasto the Armorer in order to complete a quest
Hephaestus appears in several episodes of the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess. He is portrayed by the actors Julian Garner and Jason Hoyte.
.Hephaestus appears in the Pastoral Symphony segment of the 1940 Disney film Fantasia. .Hephaestus appeared in the 1997 Disney movie, Hercules and the animated series based on it
.Hephaestus appears in Justice League Unlimited voiced by Ed Asner. .Hephaestus appears in the fourth book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Battle of the Labyrinth
.In the 2012 film “Wrath of the Titans” Hephaestus is played by Bill Nighy. .In Homestuck Hephaestus is the denizen, a sort of final boss, in Land of Heat and Clockwork
The Temple of Hephaestus There were numerous potters’ workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple’s honoree. Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no earlier building on the site except for a small sanctuary that was burned when the Persians occupied Athens in 480 BC.
The name Theseion or Temple of Theseus was attributed to the monument under the assumption it housed the remains of the Athenian hero Theseus, brought back to the city from the island of Skyros by Kimon in 475 BC, but refuted after inscriptions from within the temple associated it firmly with Hephaestus.
According to Pausanias, the temple housed the bronze statues of Athena and Hephaestus. An inscription records payments between 421 BC and 415 BC for two bronze statues.
In the 3rd century BC trees and shrubs (pomegranates, myrtle and laurel) were planted around the temple, creating a small garden. The last Divine Liturgy in the temple took place on February 21, 1833, during the celebrations for the arrival of Otto in Greece. In the presence of the Athenians and of many others the bishop Talantiu Neofitos gave a speech.
Hephaestus Greek God of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges, the art of sculpture and blacksmiths.