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date: 24 February 2021


  • Fritz Graf


Hephaestus (Ἥφαιστος), Greek god of *fire, of blacksmiths, and of artisans (see artists). The name, of uncertain etymology, has no certain attestation in Linear B, though there is the possibility of reading a theophoric name in Minoan Cnossus. See minoan civilization; pre-alphabetic scripts (greece).In *Homer, Hephaestus is so closely connected with fire that earlier scholars felt tempted to derive the god from the element: he owns the fire (e.g. Il. 9. 468) and helps fight Scamander with it (Il. 21. 328–82); in a formula, his name is metonymically used for fire (Il. 2. 426 etc.). On the other hand, he is the divine master-artisan who fabricates *Achilles' shield and miraculous automata, self-moving tripods (Il. 18. 373–9), golden servant maidens (ibid. 417–21), or watchdogs for king *Alcinous(1) (Od. 7. 91–4, after oriental models). In the divine society of Homer, he is an outsider: he works, even sweats (Il.

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