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Fast Facts on: Hephaestus

God of the Forge, Crafts, and Fire

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Picture of Hephaestos or Hephaistos

Hephaestos

From the Dictionary of Classical Antiquity, 1889
Here is a quick look at Hephaestus, who is often outshone by his famous wife, Aphrodite.

Hephaestus' Appearance: A dark haired man who has difficulty walking due to misformed feet. Some accounts make him small in stature; this may be associated with the hunched-over appearance of mine workers.

Symbol or Attribute of Hephaestus: The forge and fire.

Strengths: Hephaestus is creative, cunning, and an able metal worker

Weaknesses: Can't handle his liquor; can be crafty, volatile, and vindictive.

Parents: Usually said to be Zeus and Hera; some say Hera bore him without the help of a father. Hera is also said to have thrown him into the sea, where he was rescued by the sea goddess Thetis and her sisters.

Spouse: Aphrodite. The blacksmith-god married well. Other tales give him as wife the youngest of the Graces, Aglaia.

Children: He created Pandora of the famous box; some tales give him as the father of Eros, though most ascribe this love-god to the union of Ares and Aphrodite. Some divine genealogies have him as the father or grandfather of Radamanthys who ruled at Phaestos on the island of Crete, though Radamanthys is usually considered to be the son of Europa and Zeus.

Some Major Temple Sites: The Hephaestaion near the Acropolis in Athens, which is the best-preserved Doric-style temple in Greece, built in 449 B.C.E. He was also associated with the islands of Naxos and Lemnos, another volcanic island. An area on one of the new volcanic islands in the caldera of Santorini is called Ifestos after him. The ancient Minoan city of Phaistos may also be related to him.

Basic Story: Feeling rejected by his mother Hera, Hephaestus made a lovely throne for her and sent it to Olympus. She sat in it and discovered she could not get up again. Then the chair levitated. The other Olympian gods tried to reason with Hephaestus, but even Ares was driven off with his flames. He finally was given wine by Dionysus and, drunk, was brought to Olympus. Drunk or not, he still refused to free Hera unless he could have either Aphrodite or Athene as wife. He ended up with Aphrodite, who in this instance was not a quick learner. When she lay with his brother Ares in the bed Hephaestus had made, chains emerged and they could not leave the bed, exposing them to the laughter of the rest of the Olympians when Hephaestus called them all together to witness his adulterous wife and brother.

The reason that Hephaestus limps or has badly-formed feet is that his mother Hera was so disgusted by him after she gave birth, she threw him down to earth and he was injured in the fall. With this backstory, his "gift" of the throne is a bit more understandable.

Interesting Fact: Hephaestus could sometimes be called Daidalos or Daedalus, connecting him to the famous Cretan craftsman who was the first to fly using artificial wings.

In Roman mythology, Hephaestus is similar to the god Vulcan, another master of the forge and of metalwork.

Alternate spelling Hephaistos, Ifestos, Iphestos, Ifestion, and other variants.

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - The Titans - Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Atalanta< /a> - Athena - Centaurs - Cyclopes - Demeter- Dionysos< /a> - Eros - Gaia - Hades - Helios - Hephaestus - Hera - Hercules - Hermes - Kronos - The Kraken - Medusa - Nike - Pan- Pandora - Pegasus - Persephone - Perseus - Poseidon - Rhea</ a> - Selene - Zeus.
Pictures of other Greek Gods and Goddesses: Greek Deities Clip Art Images
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