Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Vulcan, the Roman god of fire & the blacksmith of the gods. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, the king and queen of the gods and the husband of Venus, the goddess of love. His name derives from the Latin word 'Vulcanus' meaning "fire, flames, volcano". His festival, the Vulcanalia, was celebrated on August 23 when the hot summer heat put the crops and granaries at risk of burning. The Greek counterpart of this ancient Roman deity was Hephaestus.
Who was Vulcan?
Vulcan was the Roman god of fire & the blacksmith of the gods. When his mother Juno first saw Vulcan she was so affronted by his ugly appearance that she threw him into the sea from Mount Olympus, which caused him to become lame. It is ironic that he married Venus, the most beautiful of all the goddesses, although he was the ugliest of the gods. Jupiter gave Venus to Vulcan, in gratitude for the service he had rendered in forging thunderbolts. The god was the blacksmith of the gods and worked with one-eyed Cyclopes to create weapons, armor and other amazing items for the gods.
Facts about Vulcan
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Vulcan:
Roman Name: Vulcan
Role & Function: The function of Vulcan is described as being the god of fire & the blacksmith of the gods
Status: Major God and one of the 'Dei Consentes', the Council of Gods.
Symbols: Fire, hammer, axe, tongs, donkey and quail
Alternative Names: Vulcan
Greek Counterpart: The Greek name for this god was Hephaestus
Name of Wife: Venus
Name of Father: Jupiter
Name of Mother: Juno
Names of Children: Vulcan and Venus had no children together, but both had children with other lovers
The Amazing Skills of Vulcan in Roman Mythology
The amazing metal working skills of the Roman god of fire enabled him to create fabulous bronze palaces for the gods on Mount Olympus and furnished them with magnificent golden thrones. Vulcan was considered as the manufacturer of art, arms, iron, jewellery and armor for various gods and heroes, the divine armor of Achilles. His supernatural and powerful skills as a metal worker led Vulcan to make many other astonishing items using precious metals such as gold, silver and bronze, including magnificent metal robots that served the gods and their favorite mortals. Many of the marvellous mechanical robots were made for King Aietes including:
- Robotic golden statues that looked like young men and could think and speak and acted as servants and torch bearers
- Gold and silver mechanical dogs that guarded the doors of the palace of Alcinous
Vulcan also made the bronze giant Talus, that he gave to King Minos to guard the island of Crete. The mechanical giant Talus features in the mythology surrounding Jason and the Argonauts.
Facts about Vulcan in Roman Mythology
Discover interesting information and facts about Vulcan, the Roman god of fire & the blacksmith of the gods.
He was the son of Jupiter and Juno and the husband of Venus
The sons of Vulcan were Philammon, Cecrops, Erichthonius, Corynetes, Cercyon, Philottus and Spinther
His principal temple was in a consecrated grove at the foot of Mount Aetna, in which was a fire continually burning.
Romulus built a temple in honor of Vulcan outside the walls of the city, because the augurs was of the opinion that the god of fire ought not to be admitted to the city of Rome.
He was highly honored by the Romans who debated the most important issues of the republic in his temple. The Romans believed that they could invoke nothing more sacred to confirm their treaties and decisions, than the avenging fire which was the symbol of the god.
He was usually represented in art as a powerful, brawny, and very muscular man of middle height and mature age
The Romans revered both the destructive and the fertilizing powers of fire
The word volcano is derived from the name of this god of fire
His chief festival, the Vulcanalia was marked by a rite of unknown significance in which the heads of Roman families threw small fish into the fire.
The god was sometimes referred to as Mulciber meaning the smelter
Vulcan (Greek Counterpart was Hephaestus)
The Romans habitually assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Greeks and other nations. When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC many of the Greek gods and goddesses were adopted by the Romans. The Romans simply changed the Greek gods names to Latin equivalents. The Greek counterpart of Vulcan was Hephaestus. The Roman religion significantly differed from the Greeks in that it was officially endorsed by the state and exerted influence over the government of Rome. Politicians took the offices of influential priests, called pontiffs, to gain control of the popular worship, Roman gods and goddesses like Vulcan were worshipped at every public event, including the gladiatorial games, where blood sacrifices were made to the gods. In ancient Rome, the pantheon of 12 major gods, including Vulcan, were called the 'Dei Consentes' meaning the Council of Gods.