Mythman's Major Olympian Gods







(continued from Page One)

Once back among his fellow gods on Mount Olympus, Hephaestus chose to live underground, where he could work as an artisan undisturbed. He felt most at home there.

Hera grew to like her lame son, and felt very guilty for her previous vile conduct towards him. She gave Hephaestus a massive workshop with many bellows, anvils, and helpers; there he continue to create beautiful ornaments, weapons, furniture and jewelry to the endless amusement and delight of the Olympian gods and goddesses.

To help him in his workshop, Hephestus forged handmaidens out of gold, who were able to move around and help him in his work. You could say that he was the first to create "robots".

In Homer's epic tale called the Iliad his wife is said to be Aglaia (Splendor), one of the Graces; in the Odyssey she is Aphrodite. But the commonly held belief is that Zeus, greatly regretting his previous enmity towards this talented god, and knowing that he could make great use of Hephaestus' skills, gifted Aphrodite to Hephaestus as his wife.

Zeus felt that the beautiful goddess of love would arouse the passions of the other Olympians, leading to great hostility and bickering, and decided that the steady and easygoing god of the forge would make a solid partner for her.

Aphrodite was not happy to be joined with such an unattractive mate, but knew that it was a marriage only in name and did not refuse. Her numerous extramarital affairs scandalized Olympus and often made poor Hephaestus the butt of many jokes from his fellow Olympians.

Hephaestus was a kind and peace-loving god, gentle and introverted and popular both in heaven and on earth. Along with Athena his patronage was very important to life in the city, because they were the patrons of the handicrafts, which along with agriculture were the lifeline and support of civilization.

Hephaestus protected the smiths and Athena the weavers, and the people revered and paid homage to these important deities.

Physically, Hephaestus was generally represented as a sturdy and muscular man with a thick neck and hairy chest who, because of a shortened, lame leg and club foot, supported himself with the aid of a crutch.

Bearded, this blue collar god most often was shown dressed in a ragged sleeveless tunic and woolen hat. Most frequently, he was portrayed in art holding the heavy tools of his trade, especially the blacksmith's hammer and tongs.

Sometimes in artistic depictions, he was surrounded by the Kabeiroi, the dwarflike blacksmith servants of the Mother Goddess who helped in his subterranean forge, deep below Olympus.

He was worshipped by all blacksmiths and artisans, who recognized him as their special patron and venerated him accordingly. Two great festivals, the Vulcanalia (celebrated by the Romans on August 23, the first day of Virgo) and the Hephaestia were celebrated in his honor.

His beautiful and detailed creations
included the following wonders:

Aphrodite's golden girdle, which when worn made her completely irresistible to both mortals and gods

The silver  bows and arrows of Artemis and Apollo

His robotic helpers, the handmaidens of gold

The twenty three-legged stools that ran to service the banquets of the Olympians

The palaces and homes of the Olympians, with their unbreakable locks, as well as their twelve splendid thrones.

The famous Shield of Achilles

Heracles' (Hercules') golden breastplate

The exquisite Necklace of Harmonia

Athena's spear, Apollo's chariot and Demeter's sickle

The awesome scepter of Zeus

The golden bed of Helios, the sun god, which carries him as he sleeps

The armor of the gods in their war against the Titans

Various marvelous jewelry for Aphrodite and his Nereid surrogate mothers

The Aegis, emblazoned with the head of Medusa, carried by both Zeus and his daughter Athena

The invisible silver net that captured his cheating wife Aphrodite and Ares in bed

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