HEPHAESTUS AND APHRODITEAPHRODITEAphrodite is one of the most famous figures of Greek mythology.
BecauseAphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexual rapture,1 she was desired bynearly all of the Greek gods. Aphrodite was one of the twelve main gods on Mt.Olympus,2 and she was the most powerful goddess when it came to members of theopposite sex.
THE BIRTH OF APHRODITEThere are many origins to Aphrodite’s birth. Some of them are:1) She arose full-grown out of the foam of the sea,2) She is the daughter of Zeus and Dionne,3) She is the daughter of Uranus and Gaia, which would make her a Titaness, or4) She is the daughter of Titans Oceanus and Tethys, making her an Oceanid.3The most common origin of her birth is her being foam-born, which is what hername means. This origin says that Aphrodite arose nude and full-grown out of the foamof the sea and riding into the shore of Cythera on a scallop shell. She found Cythera to betoo small of an island, so she went to live in Paphos, in Cyprus, which is still the principalseat of her worship.4THE MYTH OF APHRODITE AND HEPHAESTUS AND ARESAlthough Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, she had a magic girdlethat she wore that made everyone fall in love with her. She could hardly ever bepersuaded to lend it to anyone.
Since Aphrodite had the magic girdle and was sobeautiful, all of the gods fell in love with her.All of the goddesses were jealous of Aphrodite because all of the gods loved herinstead of the other goddesses. Because of this, Zeus arranged a marriage for her withHephaestus, the lame smith-god.5 Aphrodite didn’t really mind this marriage arrangement,though, because she thought Hephaestus would never notice her having marital affairs.6 Hephaestus knew nothing of deception until, one night, he caught his wife andAres, the god of war, making love at Ares’ home.
Hephaestus went back to his home veryangry.7Hephaestus was so angry that he decided to get revenge on Aphrodite by literally catchingthe while they were making love. He got out a bronze hunting-net and attached to theposts and sides of the bed.
He told Aphrodite that he was to a short holiday trip toLemnos. Aphrodite did not offer to go with him. When Hephaestus left, she senthurriedly for Ares and the two immediately went to sleep together. When they went tobed, they got tangled in the net.8At dawn, Hephaestus returned from his trip. He summoned all of the godstogether so they could see what Aphrodite and Ares did.
Hephaestus thought that, byZeus seeing how Aphrodite deceived him, Zeus would return all of the marriage gifts. Instead, Zeus told Hephaestus that this should handled by him and Aphrodite instead ofbeing made a public affair, therefore Zeus did not return the marriage gifts.9MYTHS OF OTHER LOVERS OF APHRODITEHermesAfter Aphrodite had been publicly humiliated, she returned to Paphos and renewedher virginity to the sea. Soon afterwards, Hermes confessed his love for her, and she sleptwith him.
She eventually bore a double-sexed child name Hermaphroditus.Poseidon Poseidon, like Hermes, also confessed his love for her, and she bore him two sonsnamed Rhodus and Herophilus. Later Aphrodite also slept with Dionysus in which shebore a deformed son by him. The deformity was caused by Hera; she did this indisapproval of Aphrodite’s permiscuity.10AnchisesLater, Zeus wanted to humiliate Aphrodite by making her fall in love with a mortalnamed Anchises.
He was a handsome man, and he was the King of the Dardanians. Onenight Aphrodite visited him without him knowing who she was. When they Parted at dawn, she revealed her identity and told him not to tell anyone that they had slepttogether.Anchises was terrified when he learned that he had uncovered the nakedness of agoddess, and he begged her to kill him. She told him that he had nothing to worry aboutand that their son would become famous.11A few days later, Anchises was drinking with one of his friends.
His friend asked,”Would you rather sleep with the daughter of so-and-so than with Aphrodite herself?”12 Anchises’ reply was, “No, having slept with both of them, I find the question inept.”13Zeus overheard Anchises boasting, so he threw a thunderbolt at him that wouldhave killed him immediately, but Aphrodite put her magic girdle in front of him, so the boltdropped down at his feet. The shock of the bolt was so strong though, he could neverwalk upright again. Aphrodite, soon after bearing his son, lost all interest in Anchises.
AdonisOne day, the wife of King Cinyrus was foolishly boasting that her daughter Smyrnawas more beautiful than Aphrodite. She heard this insult and got revenge by Smyrna fallin love with her father and sleep with him. Smyrna got pregnant, and the baby she wascarrying was actually the King’s son and his grandson. When the King learned this, hechased his daughter out of the palace with a sword.
Aphrodite saw this and, before hecould do anything, changed her into a tree. When he swung the sword at her, the swordbroke in half, and the infant Adonis came tumbling out.14Aphrodite, already regretting the trouble she had caused, took Adonis, and put himin a chest. She gave the chest to Persephone, asking her to hide it in a dark place. Persephone couldn’t stand not knowing what was inside the chest, so she opened the chestand found Adonis.
15Persephone found Adonis to be a very cute baby, so she took hi into her ownpalace to raise him. Aphrodite did not find out about this until Adonis was a grown man. When she did find out about this though, she immediately went to Persephone’s palace toclaim Adonis.
Persephone would not give him back to Aphrodite though, because she hadmade him her lover. Persephone appealed to Zeus, but Zeus knew that Aphrodite wantedto have him as her own lover. He refused to settle this case and transferred it to a lowercourt.
16The court’s verdict was that Persephone and Aphrodite should get equal claims to Adonis,since Aphrodite arranged his birth and Persephone rescued him from the chest. They alsodecided that Adonis should get some time to without these goddesses in his life, so theydivided a year up into three equal parts:1) Four months with Persephone2) Four months with Aphrodite3) Four months to be with whomever he wanted to be with.17Although this is what the court ruled, Aphrodite wore her magic girdle andpersuaded Adonis to let her not only her time with him, and she persuaded him to let herhave his time to himself to be with him.18Persephone did not agree with this at all. She went to Ares and told him howangry she was.
Ares got jealous of Persephone’s true love for Adonis, so he disguised himself as a wild boar and killed Adonis right in front of Aphrodite.Aphrodite had two children. She had a son, Golgas, who was the founder of theCyprian Golgi. She also had a daughter, Beroe, who was the founder of Beroea inThrace. Some also say that, instead of Dionysus, Adonis was the father of her sonPriapus.THE JUDGEMENT OF PARISThere is a myth called the Judgement of Paris that has to do with Paris, the son ofPriam and Hecuba, having to judge who is the fairest goddess.
This myth starts off at a wedding. Eris threw out a golden apple into the midst ofthe female crowd that was inscripted “For the Fairest”. There was a quarrel betweenAthena, Hera, and Aphrodite. Each of the goddesses were claiming that they should getthe apple because they thought themselves to be the fairest. After arguing endlessly, theyeventually agreed to make Paris the settler of their dispute.
20All three of the goddesses offered Paris bribes. Aphrodite offered him lust. Heraand Athena offered him kingship and victory in war. Paris gave the apple to Aphroditeand rejected the other goddesses.HEPHAESTUSHephaestus was an unattractive Smith-god that was married to Aphrodite. Hephaestus was the only god who worked or suffered from a physical disability.
Although he was ugly and deformed, Hephaestus was a kind, peace-loving god and he waspopular on Mt. Olympus. Hephaestus was a muscular man with a thick neck with a hairy chest.
He had ashortened leg and a club foot, and both of his feet facing backwards. Because his legswere like this, he had to use a crutch to support himself. He had a beard, and he usuallydressed in a ragged sleeveless tunic and a wool hat.21 There is a myth that says Hephaestus was so weakly at birth that his mother, Hera,dropped him from the top of Mt. Olympus to rid herself of the embarrassment of an uglychild. He survived this, though, because he fell into the sea and Thetis and Eurynomesaved him.
These goddesses took them into their care and he thanked them by makingthem all kinds of ornamental and useful items.After about nine years, Hera met Thetis who was wearing a jewel that Hephaestusmade. Hera asked her where she found the jewel. Thetis hesitated, but Hera forced thetruth out of her. When Hera found out that she got the jewel from Hephaestus, she immediatelybrought him back to Olympus where he could put his talent to a better use. Hera madehim work day and night and she made something of him.
22 When Hephaestus moved back to Olympus, he was reconciled with Hera. WhenHera rebelled against Zeus, Hephaestus reproached Zeus for hanging her from the wristsfrom heaven. He should have kept silent though, because Zeus just became angry andthrew him from Mt. Olympus for a second time. It took a whole day to fall. He landed onthe island of Lemnos and broke both of his legs.
When he went back to Olympus, hecould only walk with help of golden-leg supports.23Hephaestus was an ill-tempered, ugly god, but he had immense power in his armsand shoulders. One time, he made a set of golden mechanical women to help him in hiswork.
The women could talk and complete very difficult tasks. He also made a set ofthree-legged tables with golden wheels that could run by themselves.24Hephaestus’ twenty-three three legged tables have much of the same origin as Gasterocheires who built the Tiryns. The origin of the three-legged tables is that theyrepresent the three-season years, and they denote the length of his reign was twenty yearslong. LOVE AND MARRIAGEAccording to most myths, the reason Hephaestus and Aphrodite were married isbecause Hephaestus asked Zeus for her as a reward for reconciling his parents.
Aphroditedidn’t refuse.Some people think this marraige is appropriate because it is a union of inner andouter beauty. But many people do not agree because they have nothing in common–hersensual beauty differs from his ugliness; her playful spirit contrasted with his steady,serious temperament; her unfaithfulness and irresponsibility, and his workmanship ethics.Although these two were so different, Hephaestus loved Aphrodite. She didn’texactly feel the same way about him though.
Instead, she had frequent affairs with manydifferent Gods.In one particular affair that Aphrodite had with Ares, Hephaestus set up a trap thatcaught them while they were making love. Hephaestus summoned all the gods together,in hope that he make Aphrodite the laughing stock of Olympus. His plan backfired on himthough, actually revealing himself as someone who was attempting to retain the love anddevotion from his wife.25Now that Hephaestus had embarrassed himself in front of all of the gods,Hephaestus became unhappy in his marriage to Aphrodite. He lost all interest in her andturned his attention to Athena who, like Aphrodite, was not in love with him.
Hephaestusfell in love with Athena when she came to him for a spear. When he tried to initiateintercourse, she rejected him.26HEPHAESTUS AND APHRODITEBoth Hephaestus and Aphrodite are powerful and popular figures of Greekmythology. They did many great, and maybe not so great, things during their lifetimesthat are still remembered today. They were both main gods on Mt. Olympus. They mayhave not had many great times with each other according to myth, but they were stillsignificant gods who had great lives.
Many people use both of these gods to relate tothings today, and they will be remembered for years and years to come. Their charactersin Greek mythology are very significant and they will not be forgotten anytime soon.