Hephaestus – Blacksmith of the Gods
Hephaestus is a more complex god than he initially appears. He is depicted as a burly, muscular god who spends his day wielding a heavy anvil, shaping metal into powerful weapons. In his professional life, he is the height of manliness. In his personal life, though, he is seen as a weak pushover who tolerates his wife’s unfaithful nature. How can one god be seen as both powerful and weak? This is part of the complexity that makes up Hephaestus’s portrayal in Geek Mythology. Here’s more information.
Exile Upon Birth
Hephaestus was never considered handsome, and that fact caused him ongoing problems. When he was born, Hera exiled him from Mount Olympus because she didn’t like the way he looked (he had a foot that was shriveled and deformed). When she exiled him, he fell from Mount Olympus and landed in the sea. He was rescued and raised by Thetis, the mother of Achilles.
He successfully petitioned Dionysius to help him return to Mount Olympus, where he developed a reputation as a well-respected and competent blacksmith. To do so, Dionysius got him drunk, placed him on a mule, and brought him back to Mount Olympus when he was passed out. Even though it wasn’t a triumphant return, he was allowed to stay after he awoke.
Husband to Aphrodite
To some, Hephaestus may seem like a surprising choice as Aphrodite’s husband. He lacks the fiery temperament that her other lovers, such as Ares, had. That is, perhaps, what made him such an ideal husband? Zeus, who thought that it would help subdue some of the gods who were attracted to Aphrodite, endorsed the marriage. Rather than subdue them, it caused to Aphrodite to have affairs with them. Hephaestus became a laughingstock because he couldn’t control her.
Not only that, but his relationship with Aphrodite caused strife between him and the gods who loved her most, especially Ares. In many ways, Ares and Hephaestus were complete opposites. Where Hephaestus was calm, Ares was impulsive and passionate. Perhaps this is why Aphrodite was attracted to Ares in the first place? Because of their affair, Hephaestus and Ares didn’t get along.
Blacksmith of the Gods
Even though his personal life was a mess, he was completely in control of his profession as a blacksmith. His particular talent was creating some of the more famous weapons that were associated with the gods and goddesses. With Cyclops as his aid, he was able to create some of the most memorable weapons in Greek mythology. Among his most famous creations were the weapon that created Zeus’s thunderbolts, the aegis that Athena carried, and Poseidon’s trident.
Because of his profession as a blacksmith, he was also known as the god of fire, particularly the blacksmith fire. This is an area of his life where he was in complete control and his followers honored his competence and remembered him for his talents. As a result, he was the god of choice.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by Greek Boston