The Lame Smith

Working fire, Metalwork, Masonry, Sculpture

Forge, Hammer, Anvil, Quail

"Hephaestus went the way of these in the pride of his great strength limping, and yet his shrunken legs moved lightly beneath him."

Homer, epic poet and historian


Hephaestus was a child born out of spite. His mother Hera conceived him by herself in revenge for Zeus' many affairs and illegitimate children. The last straw was Zeus giving birth to Athena, and Hera formed Hephaestus from her rage and oaths, leaving the child with lame legs and an unpleasant face. Repulsed by what she had wrought, Hera threw the infant from Olympus, whereupon the sea nymph Thetis saved the baby and took him to a sea grotto.

The god grew to adulthood in the grotto ignorant of his heritage but loved and cared for by Thetis. He travelled to the isle of Lemnos to learn the art of metalwork from the ancient Sintain tribe before moving on when his skills surpassed his teachers'. Riding a donkey to compensate for his weak legs he searched for a place to make his own forge. Hephaestus settled in the heart of a volcanic island and built mechanical handmaidens to aid him.

The Binding of Hera

His skill in crafting wondrous items gained him fame and attracted the attention of the Olympian gods. They commissioned him to forge new thrones befitting their station in the world. Hephaestus gladly undertook such an honour until Helios told him the identity of his mother and the story of his birth. The truth filled Hephaestus with a cold hatred of Hera and he fashioned a trap. When she sat on the throne, thousands of tiny chains emerged from from the chair, entrapping the goddess. Hera cried out for help but the other gods could not set her free.

Zeus sent Ares to bring Hephaestus to Olympus but the smith rejected his threats and refused to come. Ares tried to force the issue but Hephaestus beat him with his hammer and threw Ares off the volcano. Hephaestus refused to treat with the Olympians and sealed himself in his forge.

As Hera’s distress became greater, Zeus asked Dionysus, the god of wine, to bring Hephaestus to Olympus. The smith had heard good things of Dionysus, and being locked in his mountain forge had given him a terrible thirst. He opened the door and soon both gods were inebriated. They laughed and traded stories until Hephaestus' strength failed him and he slumped over his forge in a stupor.

The hungover Hephaestus was placed before Zeus, who asked what Hephaestus wanted in return for freeing Hera. Hephaestus asked to be accepted as the son of Hera and be allowed to take his place in Olympus. Zeus granted the request and Hera begged forgiveness for the wrong she had done. Kind-hearted Hephaestus forgave his mother and soon became a firm friend of Dionys


James Foster, 2012/04/20 19:11

perhaps look at other words to describe lame, as it doesn't work so well to describe both legs without resort referring to modern terms

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open/settings/6d6hellenic/hephaestus.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/13 17:09 by tregenza
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