Ancient Greek Gods IV (Aphrodite and Hephaestus)
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, we have mentioned in our previous content that the twelve Olympians are generally considered Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hermes, Hestia or Dionysus, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus.
Now, it’s time to meet Aphrodite and Hephaistos in the fourth of our articles, which we designed as a kind of introductory series about Ancient Greek Gods. These two gods became husband and wife for a while, but since this marriage was a forced marriage, it did not last long and turned into a stormy relationship.
You can read the other contents in the Ancient Greek Gods article series from the following headings.
- Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses
- Ancient Greek Gods II (Apollo and Artemis)
- Ancient Greek Gods III (Poseidon, Hermes, and Ares)
Ancient Greek Gods IV (Aphrodite, and Hephaestus)
Aphrodite and Hephaestus
Among the dozens of gods in Great Greek Mythology, there are no two gods as opposed to each other as Aphrodite and Hephaestus. Despite this, the goddess of love, the beautiful Aphrodite, was married to the god Hephaestus, a lame blacksmith. It is not known whether the opposites are attractive, but this is how it is described in mythology.
Although this marriage was made in the heavens and blessed by the god of love, Eros, as you can imagine, it did not go well.
According to Hesiod, the ancestors of the goddess Aphrodite, who is the embodiment of beauty and erotic attraction, are ugly in a way that leaves people astonished.
Aphrodite was born from the foam around the genitals of her father, Uranus, whom Kronos castrated and threw into the sea. Born with dazzling beauty, Aphrodite traveled on a seashell on a seashell with the help of light winds, and by doing so, she later reached Paphos (Cyprus), the center of her cult.
Three goddesses known as Horai greeted her here. They equipped the naked goddess Aphrodite with beautiful clothes and jewels.
Homer, on the other hand, tells the birth of Aphrodite differently. According to him, the birth of Aphrodite took place in a more dignified way. Homer considers Aphrodite to be the daughter of Zeus and a relatively minor goddess, Dione.
Regardless of its origin, there is an unchanging fact that Aphrodite is the most desired goddess in Olympos.
Zeus soon sees this as a situation that would undermine his own authority. That’s why he marries Aphrodite to Hephaestus. With the advantage of being a blacksmith god, Hephaestus presents Aphrodite with wonderful jewelers, including a golden magic belt.
However, even these beautiful gifts are not enough to keep Aphrodite next to Hephaestus. Aphrodite, who is a pleasure-seeker, gets tired of being the wife of this hardworking blacksmith and falls in love with Ares first and then with many gods and mortals.
Aphrodite’s Love Life
According to Greek mythology, among the lovers of Aphrodite is Adonis, who was born from an incestuous relationship with Myrrha, the daughter of Kinyras, king of Paphos.
Aphrodite falls in love with this extremely handsome young man, but Adonis, a passionate hunter, is killed by a wild boar. Mountain tulips sprout in the land where blood flows.
Another legendary relationship of Aphrodite is with the Trojan prince Anchises. The child born as a result of this relationship is Aeneas of Troy.
Aeneas fled the burning city and eventually landed at Latium, establishing a settlement in the city of Rome that would become the foundation of the Roman empire.
Julius Cesar claims that he is a descendant of Aeneas and therefore of Aphoridete.
Aphrodite wins the deadly beauty contest called Paris’ choice. Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite line up in front of the attractive Trojan prince Paris. The first two goddesses promise the handsome prince glory and victory. Aphrodite’s promise is love. Paris chooses to love and escapes with Helene, Queen of Sparta. Thus begins the Trojan war.
Unlike Hera and Athena, who helped the Greeks with all their might, Aphrodite supported the Trojans.
Babylonian and Syrian Origins of Aphrodite
Aphrodite’s origin is associated with the fertility gods Ishtar in Babylon and Astarte in Syria, but her cult was Hellenized and spread throughout the Mediterranean.
The symbols of Aphrodite are the dove, the swan, and the pomegranate.
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Besides his holy place in Paphos, he was worshiped in Kythera, Eryx (Sicily), and Corinth. According to the accounts, people used to sell their bodies at the temple site in Corinth.
Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metallurgy, fire (compare, however, with Hestia), and volcanoes.
Hephaestus is known as the strangest god among the Olympians with his ugly and lameness. He was lame because he got involved in an argument between his mother Hera and his father Zeus and was thrown from Olympus by Hera.
Hephaestus, who fell into the sea, is rescued by the sea nymph Thetis. He builds a golden throne that traps Hera to take revenge. Eventually, he is persuaded by Dionysus to leave the depths of the seas and release his mother.
The Marriage of Hephaestus and Aphrodite
Despite all this, Hephaestus wants to marry Aphrodite, the most beautiful of the gods. When Aphrodite falls in love with Ares, the dark god of war, Hephaestus is enraged with jealousy.
He secretly weaves a web of iron as light as a spider’s web over the adulterous lovers. The two lovers are trapped in this web and become the object of ridicule by other Olympian gods gathered around.
Volcanoes Are His Workplace
However, Hephaestus generally minds his own business in his quarry at the foot of Mount Etna in Sicily or on the island of Stromboli. The common feature of these two places is that both have active volcanoes. Therefore, the Latin name of Hephaestus is Vulcanus.
Hephaestus, who built palaces for other gods, made a magnificent shield and armor for Achilles at the request of Achilles’ mother.
While Hephaestus is not the most beloved of the Olympian gods, the best-preserved temple in Greece is Hephaestion, located in the Agora of Athena.
- https://theshieldofachilles.net/2017/06/16/guest-post-hephaestus-by-aquileana/johann_georg_platzer_-_casamento_de_afrodite_e_hefesto/ (Featured Image)
- https://www.tumpik.com/tag/hephaestus%20and%20aphrodite (Image)