Hephaistos’ MDT – Day 17: How does Hephaistos relate to other pantheons?

Χαίρετε ἀναγνώστες!

Today, I will discuss how Hephaistos relates to other pantheons.

The first Deity I want to discuss in this regard is one I have mentioned before: Adranos. This is a God connected to the Etna volcano in Sicily, the father of the Palikoi, which are Deities of hot springs near Mt. Etna. He is a Sikelian Deity whose worship spread across Sicily. When the Hellenes started settling parts of Sicily, they identified him with Hephaistos and his traits were then transposed upon Hephaistos.

Another obvious one is the Hellenic God Vulcanus, a Roman fire Deity. While the identification between Hellenic and Roman Deities is often taken for granted as absolute in our modern society, they are not, in fact, always the same. We can also see clear distinctions between Hephaistos and Vulcanus. The latter is more of a Fire Deity per se, including volcanic fire, and one of the major concerns of his worship was to avert harmful fires, to protect Rome against burning down. I do not believe this is really a part of Hephaistos’ domain, unless through Roman influence in later Antiquity. Similarly, I don’t believe that metallurgy and crafts were truly part of Vulcanus’ domain until his identification with Hephaistos. Vulcanus does have a very early presence in Rome, however, and at his temple, the Vulcanal, a fragment of a Hellenic pot dated to the 6th century BCE which depicts Hephaistos may indicate that their association is also fairly old.

The next one if the Egyptian God Ptah. He is a demiurge and creator God in some of the various creation myths of the Egyptian. Herodotos describes Ptah as a deformed dwarf and as a God of Craftsmen. If this was the view the Hellenes had of Ptah, then it seems logical they would identify him with Hephaistos.

The Canaanite Deity Kothar-wa-Khasis is also associated with Hephaistos. His name can be translated as “Skillful-and-Wise”, “Adroit-and-Perceptive” or “Deft-and-Clever”; and on top of this he has an epithet that means “Deft-with-both-hands”. Kothar-wa-Khasis is also a divine smith, craftsman, engineer, architect, and inventor – obviously parallelling Hephaistos’ domain. Because of the association of metallurgy and magic in many ancient cultures, Kothar-wa-Khasis is also seen as a God of magic and a maker of spells. Furthermore, Kothar-wa-Khasis was identified by the Canaanites with Ptah, to the degree that one of his abodes was said to be Memphis in Egypt, the holy city of Ptah.

That’s all the ones I have found a direct link for. Doubtless, there were identifications with local Anatolian, Thracian, Illyrian, Gaulish, Libyan, Mesopotamian, etc., Deities as well, but I have not found any information about those. So I’ll end this post here.

Ἔρρωσο.

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One comment on “Hephaistos’ MDT – Day 17: How does Hephaistos relate to other pantheons?

  1. I’ve always identified Hephaistos with the Egyptian Khnum, as well.

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