Literary Heroes


by Drennon from San Diego

Today, I'm going to tell you a story about a Greek god who has been over-looked throughout Greek Myths. He is the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. He is Hephaestus, son of Zeus and Hera or (in some stories) Hera herself. He was well known to be crippled and ugly according to the legends but I think it is time to tell one of his tales.

Hephaestus was said to be the son of Zeus (king of the gods, god of the sky, etc) and Hera (queen of gods, goddess of marriage, family, etc). It is said that when Zeus and Hera were arguing about something that Zeus became enraged at his wife, so he hung her in midair for a long time. Hephaestus wanted to help his mother, but in the process of doing so Zeus caught him and threw him off of Mt. Olympus. He supposedly had fallen for 9 days and 9 nights till he landed on an island where the sea nymph Thetis saved him and nursed him back to health and taught him the ways of the forge with her sisters.

Hephaestus was never the same after the fall from Olympus. He became lame and disfigured, and when he tried to return to Olympus he was sent away by his mother because of his ugliness. After that he became bitter and unfriendly and stayed within his forge within a volcano. He got back at his mother when he sent her a beautiful throne that when she sat in it she became trapped. The gods tried to get her out of the chair but to no avail. Only its creator knew its secrets but he would not tell the gods how to unbind Hera. Finally they asked Dionysus (god of wine) to help them. Dionysus managed to get Hephaestus drunk and then took him back to Olympus on the back of a donkey.

Soon after Hephaestus awoke he saw where he was. Even then he wouldn't free Hera. He said the only way that he would get her out of the chair was if he was accepted back among the gods on Olympus. They readily agreed to his deal. He never stayed on Olympus for long, he is always in his forge with his assistants the Cyclops creating new weapons, armor, and automatons (a kind of ancient, magical robot)

There are several things that we can learn from this story. One is that family will act in strange ways if they see things that they dislike. Another thing is that looks can be deceiving. Even though Hephaestus was crippled, he was an amazing smith. Creating things like Zeus's lightning bolt, Cupid's arrows, and among other things. So, even though he was ugly and mistreated, I believe Hephaestus is the better of all the Greek Gods.

Page created on 6/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

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