Humans have had an obsession with fire for millennia for reasons of comfort and warmth but also in awe of its destructive power. Just about every culture on Earth has or did have Gods and Goddesses of fire who were worshipped and their tales have been passed down countless generations. Here we take a look at the Greek god of fire, Hephaestus.
Hephaestus was the god of fire, stone masonry, metal working, sculpture and forges. He was the son of the god Zeus and goddess Hera and he was married to Aphrodite to prevent a war of the gods fighting for her hand in marriage. It was an arranged marriage and not a marriage of love. He was a smith and made all of the weapons for Olympus acting as a blacksmith for the gods. He made inventions and automaton beings out of metal who would work for him. He had his own palace on Olympus but was not in a happy marriage with Aphrodite. Hephaestus was the only god to be considered as ugly and Aphrodite had many love affairs with both gods and men.
One story tells of Hephaestus building a clever invention which catches Aphrodite in a compromising position with the god of war, Ares. The invention trapped them both in the bed to be laughed at and ridiculed by the other gods. Be your own god or goddess of fire with Defra approved wood burning stoves. For more information, visit http://www.stoveworlduk.co.uk/DEFRA-Approved-Multi-Fuel-Woodburning-Stoves.
Hephaestus shared his skills and helped mortals, similar to the goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts. Hephaestus helped artists and was said to teach men the arts alongside Athena, although he was always considered inferior in his skills to those of Athena.
Hephaestus was known as the god of fire in Greek mythology but known as Vulcan for the Romans. He was the only deformed and ugly god amongst the beautiful immortals. He was born deformed and cast out of heaven by his parents when they noticed his imperfections. He was the workman of the gods and he made their homes, their furniture and their weapons. His automaton assistants were made from pure gold. His forge was located under a volcano which meant that the work he did within it caused frequent eruptions. Despite being deformed, cast out of heaven and having an unfaithful wife – he was a kind and peaceful god.
Hephaestus is normally depicted as bending over an anvil or walking with the assistance of a cane due to his deformity. People worshipped him mainly in Athens where he had his own temple dedicated to him. The shield that Athena is famously depicted as carrying was made by Hephaestus, as were the arrows of Eros (more commonly known as Cupid). He was also responsible for crafting the armour that Achilles wore in the Trojan War.
He was also popular with children and was the god of the ceremony when children were officially admitted to the city organization. He was said to have had one son called Erichthonius who was rather strangely, half-man and half-serpent.