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►Greek Mythology: “Hephaestus”  /

“Collaboration with Holly Rene Hunter”:

“The Fall Of Hephaestus” by C. Van Poelenburg. 17th century.

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Hephaestus (Roman equivalent: Vulcan)  was the Greek god of fire, metal work, blacksmiths and craftsmen.

According to Homer’s  “Iliad”, Hephaestus was born of the union of Zeus and Hera. In another tradition, attested by Hesiod, Hera bore Hephaestus alone.

Hephaestus. Attic Red Figure. 430 – 420 BC.

Hesiod tells us in “Theogony”, that in order to get even with Zeus for solely bringing about the birth of Athena, Hera produced the child Hephaestus all on her own.

Though Hesiod’s version seems to be the one that is most commonly accepted among readers, its content greatly alters our understanding of the birth of Athena. The ancient texts unequivocally state that it was Hephaestus who released the goddess from the head of Zeus by cracking the god’s skull open with an axe.

After Hephaestus was born, Hera was anything but pleased with his appearance, so she threw him off of Mount Olympus and down to earth.

Luckily, baby Hephaestus splashed down into the sea where he was rescued by two daughters of Oceanus; Thetis and Eurynome.

An interesting point is that he was lame. In vase paintings, Hephaestus is usually shown lame and bent over his anvil, hard at work on a metal creation, and sometimes with his feet back-to-front.

Hephaestus Thetis at Kylix, Attica vase figure

He walked with the aid of a stick. In some myths, Hephaestus built himself a “wheeled chair” or chariot with which to move around, thus helping him overcome his lameness while demonstrating his skill to the other gods. The “Iliad”, says that Hephaestus built some bronze human machines in order to move around.

There are two interpretations which describe how Hephaestus lost full use of his legs. The most basic of the two theories simply states that he was born that way and that was the reason why Hera rejected him and chose to toss him into the sea.

Another myth has it that he once tried to protect his mother from Zeus’ advances and as a result, the Ruler of the Gods flung him down from Olympus, which caused his physical disability; he fell on the island of Lemnos where he became a master craftsman.

Archetypal psychology uses mythical and poetic modes of discourse to deepen our understanding of lived experience and behavior. The stories associated with the Greek god Hephaestus are among the earliest representations of disability.

Vulcan. Roman archaic relief from Herculaneum.

Bitter Hephaestus does not intend to stay hidden away in an underground cave forever. Anger toward his mother inspires him to seek revenge.

These “negative” emotions engender the courage that is necessary for the disabled outcast to claim his rightful place in the world.

The archetypal psychologist Murray Stein suggests that loosening the bonds of his mother frees an introverted Hephaestus from his own psychic entrapment and moves him forward in the process of individuation and personal development. Hence, in Hephaestus we find a character who is motivated by his anger to confront a world that has discarded him.

In an archaic story, Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical golden throne, which, when she sat on it, did not allow her to stand up. In another story, Hephaestus sent sandals as gifts to all the gods, but those he sent to his mother were made of immovable and unyielding adamantine. When she tried to walk she fell flat on her face as though her shoes were riveted to the floor. 

Seeing how events were happening, the other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he refused, saying “I have no mother”. At last, Dionysus fetched him, intoxicated him with wine, and took the subdued smith back to Olympus on the back of a mule accompanied by revelers—a scene that sometimes appears on painted pottery of Attica and of Corinth.

Amphora depicting Hephaistos polishing the shield of Achilles. 480 B.C.

Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods. He designed Hermes´ winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite‘s famed girdle, Agamemnons staff of office, Achilles‘ armor, Heracles‘ bronze clappers, Helios‘ chariot and Eros bow and arrows.

There is a still a very relevant intervention of Hephaestus in a  well-known cosmogonic myth. It tell us that Zeus was angry at Prometheus, the Rebel Titan, for three things: being tricked by the sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus’s children would dethrone him. 

As punishment for these rebellious acts, Zeus ordered Hephaestus make a woman made of clay named Pandora. Zeus gave her a box and forbade her from opening it. Then he sent her down to earth, where her curiosity led her to open the lid. Out flew sorrow, mischief, and all other misfortunes that plagued humanity. In the famous story of Pandora’s box, we may learn how earthly hardship was born.

According to most versions, Hephaestus’s wife was Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to Hephaestus with a number of gods and mortals, including her brother Ares.

After he learned his wife had an affair with her brother, Ares, he devised a plan with which he humiliated both lovers.

Helios, the Sun God (later replaced by Apollo) was able to see most things during the day, as he drove his sun chariot across the sky. It was one of those days that Helios witnessed Aphrodite taking her lover in her bed, while Hephaestus was absent.

The Sun God easily recognised Ares. So, he told everything to Hephaestus.

Hephaestus decided to take revenge on the lovers. Thus using his wit and his crafting skills he fashioned an unbreakable net and trapped the two lovers while they were in bed. Hephaestus walked back to his bedchamber with a host of other gods to witness the disgraced pair. Only the male Olympians appeared, while the goddesses stayed in Olympus

Poseidon tried to persuade Hephaestus to release the adulterous pair. At first, Hephaestus refused the request, because he wanted to extract the most out of his revenge, but at the end he released his wife and her lover. Ares immediately fled to Thrace, while Aphrodite went to Paphos at the island of Cyprus.

In Renaissance literature, Hephaestus– as master of fire- is identified as the founder of the alchemical arts and its greatest practitioner. He is frequently portrayed as an evil and sinister figure because in turning base metals into gold he is imitating Nature and thus forging the Work of God. Alchemists believed that the story of the binding of Aphrodite and Ares in Hephaestus’ bed was an encoded recipe. Aphrodite represents copper, Ares represents iron and Hephaestus is the fire that is needed to facilitate an alchemical transformation. In the archetypal psychology literature, Aphrodite and Ares, Love and War, are always imagined as an inseparable “psychic conjunction”. As the alchemist-smith in our soul, it is Hephaestus who binds the two lovers together.

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►Links Post:
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“Vulcan” by Bertel Thorvaldsen,1861. Thorvaldsens Museum.

►Poem: “Hephaestus”, by Holly Rene Hunter:

Hera, you have cast me from the mount.

Shattering the sphere, salt lime stings my 

skin where I am abandoned to the sea as

less than weeds. 

My cries are the waves  that

flow from  seashell eyes into the

arms of Oceanus.

Aphrodite plucks me up,  a heron

biting my body  and harpooned legs

that break against the sea wall.

I have loosed the crown of  Athena,

split with my ax the fearsome bird of prey.

Impaled, his eyes are those of a  startled deer.

Seized by  fate  I have gathered my medium and

with my broken hands and feet I mold precious metals

into  creations for Gods.

Goblets for Dionysus,

for Aphrodite, the unfaithful,   a copper belt.

A chariot of human form for broken Hephaestus

that I might roam the world unfettered.

For Hera, a golden throne,

where she is bound to dwell forever.

©Holly Rene Hunter. 2017 .-

Holly Rene Hunter.

About Holly Rene Hunter. 

Holly Dixit: “I am Holly Rene Hunter writing at WordPress under the pseudonym Heartafire. I make my home in Florida.  I began writing as a child, an outlet for a wild imagination, my first poem  published was written at age eight and  included in  the Dade County Public Schools Book of Songs.  I am currently assisting with editing for authors whose first language is other than English.  On a personal note, I am a motorcycle enthusiast who loves to paint and write poetry.  If you are so inclined, you can find a sampling of my poetry at Bookrix.com free of charge or visit  my blog here.

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Book by Holly Rene Hunter. You can find a sampling of her poetry at Bookrix.com free of charge here: https://aheartafire.wordpress.com/.

Check out Holly´s Blog. https://aheartafire.wordpress.com/.

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Jupiter and Europe by Gustave Moreau (1868

“Jupiter and Europe” by Gustave Moreau (1868).

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Zeus was the supreme god in Ancient Greece, the father of the Olympian gods and the ruler of mankind. He was identified with the Roman god Jupiter and associated with other deities, such as the Egyptian god Ammon and the Etruscan god Tinia. 

He was regarded by the Greeks as the god of all natural phenomena on the sky; the personification of the laws of nature; the ruler of the state; and finally, the father of gods and men.

Zeus was the last child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Zeus had five older siblings. Two brothers (Poseidon and Hades), and three sisters (Hestia, Hera and Demeter).

Cronus had learnt that he was destined to be overthrown by his son as he had previously overthrown Uranus, his own father. His wife Rhea, knew that he would kill the baby so she sought Gaia to devise a plan to save him.

Finally, Rhea she gave birth to Zeus in Crete and hid him in a cave and he was raised by Gaia. 

As mentioned previously, Zeus’ father, Cronus, had sired several five children by Rhea, but he swallowed them all as soon as they were born.  After reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge his  siblings in reverse order of swallowing.

Then he released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, from their dungeon in Tartarus.

Zeus married his own sister, Herathe goddess of marriage and monogamy, but was giving her plenty of reasons to be jealous, since Zeus was renowned of his numerous lovers As a result, Zeus fathered plenty of children.

By Hera, Zeus sired Ares and Hephaestus (who would be both Aphrodite’s lovers) and Hebe, the goddess of youth. 

He had love affairs with Demeter (the Goddess of the Harvest and Perspehone’s mother), Leto (the Goddess of Motherhood), Dione (the personification of a more ancient Mother Goddess), Maia (a Nymph) and Thetis (A Sea Nymph and leader of the Fifty Nereids). Also Metis, (one of the Okeanides and the Titan goddess of good counsel and advise) was his lover and his first wife and Athena (the goddess of wisdom) was their daughter.

Among mortals she had several lovers such as Io, Leda, Europa, and even the handsome young man Ganymede, to whom Zeus granted him eternal youth and immortality. Seleme was also among them and with her Zeus sired Dionysus (The god of Wine).

Zeus was the god of regulated time as marked by the changing seasons and the regular succession of day and night, in contrast to what his father Cronus represented before him; absolute time, meaning eternity.

As the personification of the operations of nature, he represented the glaws of unchanging order, by which both the natural and the spiritual world were governed.

As the father of the gods, Zeus ascertained that each deity perform their individual duty, punished their misdeeds, settled their disputes, and acted towards them on all occasions.

The symbols of Zeus were the scepter, the throne and the thunderbolt, which was as a gift from the Cyclopes after he liberated them. Zeus’ tree was theoak tree and his sacred animal was the eagle. Using his shield, the Aegis, he could create all natural phenomena related to the air and the sky, such as storms and tempests.

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Jupiter and Semele by Gustave Moreau (1895).

“Jupiter and Semele” by Gustave Moreau (1895).

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Zeus and Ganymede. (theft of fire) by Christian Griepenkerl (1878) .

“Zeus and Ganymede. (Ttheft of fire)” by Christian Griepenkerl (1878) .

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Jupiter and Thetis, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. 1811.

“Jupiter and Thetis”, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. (1811).

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“O Zeus, much-honoured, Zeus supremely great, to thee our holy rites we consecrate, our prayers and expiations, king divine, for all things to produce with ease through mind is thine. Hence mother earth (Gaia) and mountains swelling high proceed from thee, the deep and all within the sky. Kronion king, descending from above, magnanimous, commanding, sceptred Zeus; all-parent, principle and end of all, whose power almighty shakes this earthly ball; even nature trembles at thy mighty nod, loud-sounding, armed with lightning, thundering god. Source of abundance, purifying king, O various-formed, from whom all natures spring; propitious hear my prayer, give blameless health, with peace divine, and necessary wealth”. [Orphic Hymn 15 to Zeus. (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.)]~

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Zeus at Olympia, One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”:

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“Zeus at Olympia”, sculture by Phidias. Drawings.

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On the Left: A fanciful reconstruction of Phidias’ statue of Zeus, in an engraving made by Philippe Galle in 1572. On the Right: Coin from Elis district, Greece illustrating the Olympian Zeus statue.

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The Statue of “Zeus at Olympia” was a giant seated figure, about 42 ft (13 m) tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus. It  It was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, until its eventual destruction for unknown causes during the 5th century AD.
In the 2nd century AD, the geographer Pausanias gave a detailed description. The statue was crowned with a sculpted wreath of olive sprays. It had gold sandals, and a golden robe carved with animals and lilies. In its right hand was a small chryselephantine statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory. Its left hand held a sceptre inlaid with many metals, supporting an eagle. The throne was decorated in gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory. 
The Roman “Seated Zeus” sculpture is considered a copy of the original Statue of Zeus, and it was created following the type established by Phidias.
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Zeus enthroned holding a royal sceptre and winged Nike (Victory), and with an eagle by his side. Roman copy inspired by Greek ivory and gold statue of Zeus at Olympia by Pheidias. Marble & Bronze . Imperial Roman. C1st AD Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

“Zeus at Olympia”. Zeus enthroned holding a royal sceptre and winged Nike (Victory), and with an eagle by his side. Roman copy inspired by Greek ivory and gold statue of Zeus at Olympia by Phidias. Marble & Bronze . Imperial Roman. C1st AD Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

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Zeus enthroned holding a royal sceptre and winged Nike (Victory), and with an eagle by his side.  Roman copy inspired by Greek ivory and gold statue of Zeus at Olympia by Pheidias. Marble & Bronze . Imperial Roman. C1st AD Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

“Zeus at Olympia”. Roman copy inspired by Greek ivory and gold statue of Zeus at Olympia by Phidias. Marble & Bronze . Imperial Roman. C1st AD Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

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Gallery: “Zeus, The Ruler of Gods”:

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Links Post: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus
http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/GreekGods/Zeus/
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi/hi_fidegze.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Zeus_at_Olympia
http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-gods/zeus/#zeus-family
http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/roman-gods/jupiter.htm
http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Zeus/zeus.html
http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/sevens-wonders-of-the-ancient-world

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I would like to thank Purple Anais from Arwenaragornstar for nominating me for a Lovely Blog Award.

I also want to thank The Chaos Realm for nominating me for a Versatile Blogger Award.

Finally I appreciate that Unbolt nominated me for a Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

Thanks to these three bloggers and please make sure to check out their blogs and to follow them, If you haven’t still done so!.~ 😎  

Note: In this ocassion and for the three awards, I will nominate blogs I have recently came across and like, recent followers and plussers. Also,  I will follow the nomination process without answering questions or mentioning facts about me…. 

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

♠ Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
♠ Add the logo to your post.
♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. 

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►I) Nominees~Lovely Blog Award (True Colors Version):

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1. Tina Frisco 2. The Golden Echo 3. The Peacock Feather 4. For the love of Nike  5. Speculations Impressed 6. Poet Charms 7. The Rose Hotel 8. Margaret Langstaff 9. June Kearns  10. An Honest Sinner

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►II) Nominees~Versatile Blogger Award (Flowers Version):

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1. Echoes and Reflections 2. Eudaimonia 3. The Haute Mommy Handbook 4. Into the forgotten 5. Words of No Wisdom 6. Welcome to my World 7. Chronicle Me 8. Fifty Shades of Reality 9. Hiddenaltar 10. Jakariabulbul

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►III) Nominees~Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award (Cool Version):

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1. Drifting through my Open Mind 2. Naponteaerea 3. Lenkalaskoradova 4. The return of the Modern Philosopher 5. 101 Half Connected Things 6. Everyday People 7. Catalina Trujillo 8. The Book Haven 9. Robin’s Real Life 10. Kultur Post

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