Hephaestia

Who you’ll meet:

Hephaestia was originally established as the capital of the Pelasgians on the island of Lemnos in 1000 BCE[1]. Hephaestian pottery has been found all throughout ancient Greece and its neighboring countries so there was a large population of artists located in the city. The city was also the home of the cult of Hephaestus. The individuals in this cult were known as Hephaestians. They made their main cult site Hephaestia because “Lemnos, the pleasant-sited town, which he [Hephaistos] loved more than any place on earth.”[2], basically lemnos was the favorite island of Hephaestus.

The God Hephaestus
Photo Credit: http://bestmyth.com/tag/hephaestus

How you will get there:

Being on an island the only way to get to Hephaestia was by boat. It was much further away from the mainland compared to other Greek islands. The most functional port located on the island of Lemnos at the time was located where modern day Myrina is. The port was located on the eastern side of Lemnos. After reaching the port one would take an ox-cart or walk the rest of the way.

Why you would go:

Acting as the headquarters for the cult of Hephaestus there were a number of people that went to Hephaestia for their final initiation rites. Hephaestia was also the economic center of the island of Lemnos leading those that lived on the island to travel there for economic reasons. It was also a source of incredibly well-crafted goods that acted to pull in a large number of traveling merchants.  According to myth the forge of Hephaestus was located in or near the city of Hephaestia, gods and heroes that required the best equipment would travel here to ask Hephaestus for his assistance in acquiring this equipment. Most notably was Heracles, who received a shield from Hephaestus that was imbued with many powers, it was so incredible that an entire book was written about it[3].

What was Hephaestia like?

Depending on the time of year Hephaestia could be like any other town or alive with the festival to Hephaestus. During the festival “The whole city [of Lemnos] was alive with dance and banquet. The scent of burnt-offerings filled the air; and of all the immortals, it was Hera’s glorious son Hephaistos and Kypris [Aphrodite] herself whom their songs and sacrifices were designed to please.”[4] The city was also home to a number of various craftsmen from iron workers to pottery makers there was always a plethora of things that somebody could buy. Archeological evidence shows that the city had been rebuilt as many as 10 times. The city also has the remains of a large roman era theater[5] which leads me to believe that there was a large audience for the theatrical arts.

Sources Hephaestia:

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 857 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.)

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.)

Τρουβάς, Χάρης. “Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE.” Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE. Mylemnos.gr, 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

White, Evelyn. “The Shield of Heracles.” Hesiod’s Shield of Heracles, Translated by Evelyn-White. About.com, 2000. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.


[1] Τρουβάς, Χάρης. “Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE.” Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE. Mylemnos.gr, 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

[2] Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.)

[4] Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 857 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.)

[5] Τρουβάς, Χάρης. “Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE.” Hephaestia Lemnos – Aegean Sea – GREECE. Mylemnos.gr, 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.


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