Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire, called Vulcan by the Romans, metalworking, the forge, and sculpture. The only ugly god of Olympus. However, his talent for creating objects and art was unrivaled.
The Olympian gods
Hephaestus is one of the Twelve Olympians. The most important and powerful Greek goddesses and gods in Greco-Roman mythology.
Hephaestus, the deity of fire
Hephaestus, called Vulcan by the Romans, was the god of fire and metalwork, stone masonry, forges, and sculpture. He was the creator god of the Greeks and Romans, capable of building everything from beautiful sculptures to the most intricate mechanisms and devices.
Like many other Olympians, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. However, Hephaestus had one striking feature. He was an ugly god. In many versions, he presented deformities of a sullen character and was rarely seen as a rival or a threat by the other gods.
We must note that in less popular versions, Hephaestus does not have a father. He only has a mother, Hera, who gestured to Hephaestus by herself as revenge against Zeus after he gestated the goddess Athena by himself. Let us remember that Athena was born as an adult woman from the forehead of Zeus (a clear allegory of her role as goddess of wisdom).
Hephaestus was the only physically ugly deity on Olympus, which gave him a sullen and reserved character. Indeed, at birth, when his parents noticed his ugliness, one of them decided to banish the creator god from Olympus. Only time later, when his tremendous talent for creating all kinds of objects was revealed, Hephaestus was able to return to Olympus. In many versions, he also has difficulty walking and moving, which is why he is usually represented with a cane in art.
His tragic beginnings led to him being a peaceful and relatively human-friendly god. The latter was very similar to the history and personality of Dionysus , Bacchus for the Romans, god of wine and theater, another Olympian whose origins and life was also relatively tragic, and this led to him being friendly with human beings and feeling apart from the rest of Olympus.
A generous and skilled deity
Its main characteristic was its talent to create all kinds of weapons, constructions, and furniture for the other gods of Olympus. Objects that he produced with his metallic assistants, which were figures made of gold. The creator god’s workshop was located under a volcano (supposedly Mount Etna ), and his incessant work led to its frequent eruption.
However, Hephaestus did not only create weapons and mechanical devices for the Olympians. He was also an artist god, and together with Athena, he taught humanity the beauty of art and how to create art for themselves, especially sculpture, the branch of art over which it presided. Interestingly three of the most critical objects in the arsenal of the Gods: the helmet of invisibility of Hades, the trident of Poseidon, and lightning of Zeus, were not created by Hephaestus. Instead, these were created by the Cyclops and bestowed on the gods during the events of the Titanomachy. Among other objects and weapons of importance, Hephaestus made the golden bow of Artemis.
The god of fire not only endowed the other gods with fine weapons, but his creations protected and armed countless Heroes and mythological figures. For example, the armor that Hephaestus created Achilles used in the Trojan War.
The arranged marriage with Aphrodite
One of the most exciting details of this god was his arranged marriage with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and at the same time the most beautiful of all goddesses. Zeus , to avoid a conflict between the gods of Olympus, and in turn fearing that the captivating beauty of the goddess would end up causing a celestial war, forces the goddess of love to marry Hephaestus, an ugly and deformed god, thinking that in this way he would be able to calm the rivalries between the gods.
They saw the union between Aphrodite and Hephaestus as a balance. However, the beautiful goddess Aphrodite was not happy with the talented but aesthetically unattractive Hephaestus. For this reason, she had countless secret romances with mortals as well as heroes and other gods. Mainly with the warlike god Ares, Mars for the Romans, the god of war of imposing physique and character.
Aphrodite would have countless children with Ares, all behind the back of Hephaestus, who spent most of his time in his forge producing all kinds of wonders. We must remember that the times of the gods worked differently than the times of mortals. The time of life for human beings could mean only a few moments in the life of an Olympian deity.
However, Aphrodite had both mortal and divine lovers tormented Hephaestus, who was often not entirely sure of his wife’s affairs, as he spent most of his time in her forge. In any case, the romance between Aphrodite and Ares was so fiery and scandalous that even Hephaestus himself became suspicious, which is why, to catch the lovers in the act, he built a trap device and placed it in the bed of the goddess. The trapping device worked perfectly, and Hephaestus managed to capture the goddess of love and the god of war while they maintained relationships.
The sons of Hephaestus
We must note that although Hephaestus had several children, among which were mainly Thalia, Euclea, Eufemia, Filofrósine, the Cabiros, and Eutenea, he did not have any children with Aphrodite, a goddess. She saw Hephaestus as a repulsive being and therefore refused to get intimate with himself.
More about the god Hephaestus
Roman name: Vulcan He
Presided over: fire and metalwork, masonry, forges, and sculpture.
Father: Zeus (in less popular versions, he has no father)
Brothers: Artemis, Aphrodite, the Muses, the Graces, Helen of Troy, Ephesus, Minos, Perseus, Porps, Dionysus, Hebe, Apollo, Ares, Hermes, Heracles.
Children: Thalia, Euclea, Eufema, Filofrósine, the Cabiros, Eutenea, Erictono.
Symbols: the hammer, the anvil, the pliers.
Details: He was the creator god who manufactured the vast majority of the weapons used by the Olympians. He was the only ugly god among the Olympians. In fact, at birth, his parents threw him off Olympus. While he was subsequently accepted back to Olympus, this made him feel like a stranger in his own home.