Who is the Greek God Hephaestus? - Facts & Symbol

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  • 0:01 The Origin of Hephaestus
  • 1:15 The Master Blacksmith
  • 1:36 The Symbol
  • 1:55 The Revenge
  • 3:05 The Favors
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chris Almeria

Chris has a Master of Arts in International Relations.

In this lesson, you'll be learning about the Greek God Hephaestus, god of fire and father of blacksmithing. You'll learn about his abilities, his epic tale of revenge, and even about his symbol. Then you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

The Origin of Hephaestus

A deformed baby was thrown from Mount Olympus into the deep, dark sea by his mother. Seeking revenge for the betrayal, he fashioned a throne that trapped his mother and rose into the air, away from the reach of the other gods. He would become the god of fire, a hunchback who toiled away to produce objects of such quality they could even mesmerize gods and mortals alike. We're not talking about a Hollywood fantasy/revenge epic; no, we're talking about a master craftsman, master of fire, and master of forging (not to mention the father of all blacksmiths) - we're talking about the god known as Hephaestus.

It began when Hephaestus was cast out of Mount Olympus by his own mother, the goddess Hera. Fathered by Zeus, the king of the gods, Hephaestus was not a perfect child. He was deformed at birth, so Hera decided to grab him by his ankle, twist him around and fling him from the lofty perch of the gods. His fall from the heavens was broken by his landing into the sea, where he was rescued by the sea-goddess Thetis, who raised him in a cave on the shore. His ankle would forever be the cause of his limp, but he grew to become the best blacksmith ever known.

The Master Blacksmith

He was always covered in soot and dirt from his furnace, but he still produced the most exquisite objects - jewelry, adornments for the gods and even a full set of armor for Achilles. He toiled underground in forges constantly, the deformed god who slaved over furnaces and fashioned the finest objects prized by mortals and gods alike.

The Symbol

Hephaestus' work as the foremost blacksmith explains his symbol: the anvil, the hammer and the pincers. The pincers are used to insert and remove objects from the fire of his forges, while the anvil provides a surface to work on using the hammer to fashion all manner of objects this god could produce.

The Revenge

However, his work as a blacksmith producing beautiful objects couldn't quite quell his desire for revenge against his mother for casting him aside. He decided upon a course of revenge, fashioning a majestic golden throne as an offering of peace that proved irresistible to Hera. As a god himself, his powers allowed this golden throne to trap his mother: as soon as she sat on it, the throne grabbed her and rose high into the air. Unable to move out of the throne, Hera sent for help.

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