The Children of Zeus: Hephaistos (page 75, with art)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Homer, Iliad 1.590-94

“On a time before this, when I was striving to save you, he [Zeus] caught me by the foot and hurled me from the heavenly threshold; the whole day long I was carried headlong, and at sunset I fell in Lemnos, and but little life was in me. There the Sintian folk quickly tended me for my fall.” Greek Text

ApB 1.3.5 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Hera gave birth to Hephaestus without intercourse with the other sex, but according to Homer he was one of her children by Zeus. Him Zeus cast out of heaven, because he came to the rescue of Hera in her bonds. For when Hercules had taken Troy and was at sea, Hera sent a storm after him; so Zeus hung her from Olympus. Hephaestus fell on Lemnos and was lamed of his legs, but Thetis saved him. Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 15.18-30

Dost thou not remember when thou wast hung from on high, and from thy feet I suspended two anvils, and about thy wrists cast a band of gold that might not be broken? And in the air amid the clouds thou didst hang, and the gods had indignation throughout high Olympus; howbeit they availed not to draw nigh and loose thee. Nay, whomsoever I caught, I would seize and hurl from the threshold until he reached the earth, his strength all spent. Yet not even so was my heart eased of its ceaseless pain for godlike Heracles, whom thou when thou hadst leagued thee with the North Wind and suborned his blasts, didst send over the unresting sea, by thine evil devising, and thereafter didst bear him away unto well-peopled Cos. Him did I save from thence, and brought again to horse-pasturing Argos, albeit after he had laboured sore. Greek Text

Alkaios 349 LP – Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, p. 271, ed. E. Lobel and D.L. Page. Oxford 1955

Alkaios sang the birth of Hephaistos. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Pindar Fr 283 SM – Pindarus 2, p. 146, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1975.

Hera is chained by Hephaestos on a throne that he had built. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Pausanias 1.20.3

One of the Greek legends is that Hephaestus, when he was born, was thrown down by Hera. In revenge he sent as a gift a golden chair with invisible fetters. When Hera sat down she was held fast, and Hephaestus refused to listen to any other of the gods save Dionysus—in him he reposed the fullest trust—and after making him drunk Dionysus brought him to heaven. Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 166

ERICHTHONIUS: When Vulcan had made [golden sandals] for Jove and for the other gods, he made one of adamant [for Juno? ], and as soon as she sat down she suddenly found herself hanging in the air. When Vulcan was summoned to free his mother whom he had bound, in anger because he had been thrown from Heaven, he denied that he had a mother. When Father Liber had brought him back drunk to the council of the gods, he could not refuse (this) filial duty. Then he obtained freedom of choice from Jove, to gain whatever he sought from them. Therefore Neptune, because he was hostile to Minerva, urged Vulcan to ask for Minerva in marriage. This was granted, but Minerva, when he entered her chamber, defended her virginity with arms. As they struggled, some of his seed fell to earth, and from it a boy was born, the lower part of whose body was snake-formed. They named him Erichthonius, because eris in Greek means strife, and khthon means earth. When Minerva was secretly caring for him, she gave him in a chest to Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, daughters of Cecrops, to guard. A crow gave the secrete away when the girls opened the chest, and they, driven made by Minerva, threw themselves into the sea. Latin Text

Libanius, Narrationes 30.1 – Mythographoi scriptores poeticae historiae Graeci, p. 372, ed. A. Westermann. Braunschweig 1843.

Greek Text

Pausanias 3.18.16

There are also represented the wrestling of Heracles with Achelous, the fabled binding of Hera by Hephaestus, the games Acastus held in honor of his father, and the story of Menelaus and the Egyptian Proteus from the Odyssey. Greek Text

Pausanias 3.17.3

On the bronze are wrought in relief many of the labours of Heracles and many of the voluntary exploits he successfully carried out, besides the rape of the daughters of Leucippus and other achievements of the sons of Tyndareus. There is also Hephaestus releasing his mother from the fetters. The legend about this I have already related in my history of AtticaGreek Text

Athens, National Archaeological Museum 664: Middle Corinthian amphoriskos with return of Hephaistos (?)

Pl. 8 from G. Loeschcke, “Korinthische Vase mit Rückführung des Hephaistos,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Athenische Abteilung, vol. 19 (1894)

Florence, Museo Archeologico 4209: Attic black-figure krater by Kleitias and Egotimos (François Krater), with return of Hephaistos, led by Dionysos, with awaiting deities (from right to left) Aphrodite, Zeus, Hera, Athena and Ares

Details of pls. 11-12 from A. Furtwaengler and K. Reinhold, Griechische Vasenmalerei: Auswahl hervorragender Vasenbilder (Serie I, 1904)

flickr photo by Egisto Sani

flickr photo by Egisto Sani

Wikimedia photo by Sailko

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

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Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Brown University, October 2017; and by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, December 2017

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2021

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