All-taming artist — The Orphic Hymn to Hephaestus

Strong, mighty Vulcan [Hephaistos], bearing splendid light,
 unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:

Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine,
 pure element, a portion of the world is thine:

All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r,
 ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:

Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear,
 for these thy lucid parts to men appear.

To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong,
 diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.

Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline,
 and all propitious on the incense shine:

Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame,
 and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.


Unlike his brother Ares, Hephaestus is a craftsman and the Orphic Hymn in his honor reflects this. It focuses on his creativity and indicates that he is a different kind of creative god than his sister Athena. The hymn indicates that he is in many ways a god of fire “with flaming torrents bright” but through his craft he is found in all cities and tribes, belonging to all people.

He (unlike the Gods we have already looked at) is NOT called a king, but is it stated that all-diffusive power is supremely his which is an attribute of a king. He is also asked to suppress the rage of fires unwearied frame which makes sense in a country with a lot of forest land (like Greece USED to be). It is interesting to me however that he is the ONLY one so far that has something like this as the closing of the hymn, indicating that it may have been added to the hymn at a later date than its creation.

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