Mythman's Major Olympian Gods



Hephaestus by Alayana




Hephaestus was the God of Fire and the Forge, the patron god of smiths, craftsmen, sculptors and artisans. He was the weapon maker of the gods and god of metal, fire and volcanoes. His chosen attributes and symbols are a smith's hammer, an anvil and tongs.

He was the son of Zeus and Hera, although it is sometimes said that Hera conceived him by herself and without any help from Zeus. Hera wanted to get back at Zeus because she was angry at her husband for birthing Athena from his own head without first procreating with her.

Of all the gods, Hephaestus was the only one to be physically ugly, and he was also lame. But of all the gods, it was the deformed Hephaestus who created the greatest works of beauty.

There are two slightly different accounts of how he became lame. One version is that Hera was so upset at having an ugly child that she flung him off Mount Olympus and into the sea, breaking his legs in the process.

Later, Hephaestus took revenge on his mother by building her a golden throne which bound her with invisible fetters when she sat on it,  and would not release her until Hera had agreed to all his demands.

The other version of his birth is that Hephaestus tried to, and almost did, free his mother when Zeus punished her by hanging her on a golden chain between heaven and earth; and Zeus, in anger in at his son’s interference, hurled him off Olympus himself.

But most sources claim that Hephaestus landed in the sea near the island of Lemnos, and was washed up by the surf on the shore, where his body lay broken until rescued by the Nereids, the famous sea nymphs Thetis (mother of Achilles) and Eurynome (mother of the Three Graces).

These beautiful Nereids took great care to hide him from his mother who, still ashamed of her deformed son, would have continued to try to harm him.

Secretly Hephaestus lived with these goddesses in their underwater caves for nine years, and that was the awakening his creative energy.

There, the gifted god began to craft beautiful jewelry from the multi-colored underwater coral reefs, and from the variety of precious metals found underwater.

To compensate for his lameness, Hephaestus built two golden robots to help him move around, and also the twelve splendid thrones of Olympus, a unique one for each of the major Olympian gods and goddesses.

Helped by the Cyclops, who were master craftsmen in their own right, he continued to develop his skills with decorative iron and other metals, creating beautiful gifts for his surrogate mothers, the Nereids.

It wasn't long before Hera saw Thetis wearing some of the beautiful jewelry that Hephaestus had created and demanded to know the source of this divine craftwork. She could tell that no mere mortal could create anything resembling such exquisite work.

When she learned it was her own son Hephaestus, she realized that although physically deformed, her son was capable of unsurpassed creations. All of a sudden his deformity didn't matter.

Hera at once forgave him for not being all she had hoped for, and asked for her husband Zeus to return him to his rightful place up on exalted Mount Olympus.

But Hephaestus was quite happy living on Lemnos and was still understandably angry at his mother for her past treatment of him. He refused to comply with the order.

Finally, Zeus resorted to trickery. The King of the Olympians sent Dionysus, Hephaestus' brother and the god of wine, to intoxicate him and persuade him to return.

Hephaestus had never experienced wine, and was drunk in no time. Thus out of his mind, and agreeable to just about anything, Hephaestus then mounted a donkey and, accompanied by Dionysus, rode back to the palace at Mount Olympus.

Hera wisely declared him her son, even though Hephaestus himself claimed to have no mother, and that was how he returned to his rightful place and became one of the Olympians. Many ancient Greek vase painters were fond of depicting Hephaestus' triumphant return to Olympus.


Hephaestus continues on page two!
Lots more info and pix - Click here!
(see a list of his fabulous creations!)

[home] [page one] [page two]


Homework HelpGreek Mythology TodayOlympian GodsGreek HeroesLove StoriesBeasts and CreaturesMyth of the MonthZodiac, Stars and Constellations

Web, myth narration and graphics created and maintained by Nick Pontikis
Copyright © 1995 Nick Pontikis Thanasi's Olympus Greek Restaurant
Copyright 1999
The Myth Man persona copyright 1988 Nick Pontikis

Visit Thanasi's!