Vulcan is a Roman God whose father was Jupiter, king of the Gods. His mother was Juno, queen of the Gods. It was believed that with such parents he would be quite handsome. As a baby, Vulcan was very small and ugly. He had a face that was red and distorted. Juno was so horrified at the sight of Vulcan; she threw him off the top of Mount Olympus when he was just a baby. It is said he fell for a day and a night and then plunged into the sea. When he hit the water, it broke one of his legs. It never healed properly, and it was noticeable when Vulcan walked. He went deep into the sea. Thetis was a sea nymph and found Vulcan. She took him to her underwater home and raised him as her son.
Vulcan Discovers Metalwork
It seems that Vulcan was happy growing up with Thetis. He was able to have dolphins as friends. Pearls were his toys. When he was close to being an adult, Vulcan found the remnants of a fire on a beach left by fishermen. He became very interested in the coals he saw that were glowing red-hot. He took them back to his home under the water and made a fire with them. Vulcan spent hours staring at the fire. The next day he made the fire hotter and realized there were stones that sweated gold, iron, and silver when subjected to fire. Vulcan tried this with several such stones.
The next day, the metal cooled enough for him to beat it into different shapes, He made swords, bracelets, chains, shields and more. Vulcan worked hard to make knives and spoons with pearl handles for his foster mother, Thetis. He also made a golden slave-girl to wait on him and do various tasks.
Juno Discovers Vulcan’s Talent
There came a time when Vulcan’s foster mother Thetis went to a dinner party on top of Mount Olympus. When she attended the party, she wore a stunning necklace made with sapphires and silver. It had been made for her by Vulcan. At the party, Juno was captivated by the necklace worn by Thetis. Juno asked where she could obtain such a necklace. Thetis tried to change the subject and avoid the question. Juno became suspicious. She eventually discovered it was Vulcan who had made the necklace she admired so much. The child Juno had so forcefully rejected had grown up to become a talented blacksmith.
Once Juno discovered that Vulcan was able to create such impressive work as a blacksmith, she demanded he return to Mount Olympus. Vulcan refused to leave his underwater home. He built a beautiful chair made of gold and silver with inlays of mother-of-pearl and sent it to Juno. The Queen of the Gods was very happy with the gift. When Juno sat in the chair, her weight engaged hidden springs and metal bands. They sprung from the chair and held Juno. The more she yelled and struggled, the more the chair held her. Vulcan had sent Juno a chair that was designed to be a trap.
She was stuck in the chair for days. Juno couldn’t eat, sleep or stretch. Her husband Jupiter contacted Vulcan. He told the blacksmith God if he released Juno, he could give him a wife. She would be the Goddess of love and beauty known as Venus. Vulcan agreed. He built a workshop on Sicily under Mount Etna. According to legend, should Venus be unfaithful, Vulcan would become angry and beat metal that is red-hot with extreme force. It would cause sparks and smoke to move to the top of the mountain. It is said this caused volcanic eruptions. Vulcan had a child known as Cacus who was a monster. Cacus was killed by Hercules because Cacus would steal cattle from farmers and more.
According to Roman legend, one day Vulcan’s father Jupiter had a headache. Nothing worked to make it go away. Vulcan wanted to help relieve his father’s pain, so he took a large ax. He used it to spit open Jupiter’s head. The Goddess of Wisdom, known as Minerva, came out of Jupiter’s head. Vulcan instantly fell in love with Minerva. When he tried to court her, she simply told him no.
Pandora And Prometheus
The reason for the creation of Pandora was to make mankind pay for having the secrets of fire. The God Prometheus was determined to have given mankind the secrets of fire. It was Vulcan who made a chain of gold that was unbreakable. This chain was used to bind Prometheus and keep him confined to a rock. Vulcan is known as the God who made Pandora from clay. She was given a gift from the Gods. It was a box that had all things wrong with mankind contained within it. This included such things as disease, evil, old age, war and more. Pandora opened the box, and all these things were released into the world.
According to Roman legend, Mars was the Roman God of war, and Vulcan was his brother. Mars was having a relationship with Vulcan’s wife, Venus. Helios was a Titan and told Vulcan about the affair between Mars and Venus. Vulcan became very angry. He made an unbreakable gold net designed as a trap for Mars and Venus. The couple got caught in Vulcan’s net. Vulcan summoned the other Gods and Goddesses. He wanted to embarrass Mars and Venus. Vulcan’s father Jupiter scolded him for catching the couple in the net. The other Gods and Goddesses thought this made Vulcan look pretty bad. The Gods agreed any humility was worth being with Venus.
Romans worshiped the God Vulcan during very ancient times. Flamen was Vulcan’s personal priest. During Roman times, the main festival designed to worship Vulcan was called Volcanalia. It was a celebration that took place on August 23 each year.
During this festival, a large bonfire was created. Once this was done, the heads of Roman households would throw fish into the fire. Since Vulcan was associated with destructive fires, the temples dedicated to worshiping him were located in the outer parts of Roman cities.
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