The ancient Romans viewed Vulcan as the equivalent to the Greek’s Hephaestus. Because of this, he was looked at as the manufacturer of art, iron, jewelry, and weapons for certain gods and heroes. It was he who also created the thunderbolts for Jupiter. In this article, you will learn more about Vulcan and the role he played in ancient Roman mythology.
Vulcan was the son of Jupiter and Juno, who is believed to have lived underneath Mount Etna in Sicily. Since he was born to the king and queen of the gods, one would believe that Vulcan would have turn into a handsome man. However, as a baby, Vulcan was small and ugly. His face was red and unattractive to gaze upon. When Juno took one look at the infant, she tossed his tiny body off of the top of Mount Olympus. It took Vulcan one day and one night to fall down from Olympus before he landed in the sea.
During his fall, Vulcan broke one of his legs when he hit the water. Because of this, his lower limb never properly developed. On the surface of the water, Vulcan sunk to the deep waters until a sea nymph named Thetis discovered him. She took him to her underwater grotto and raised the son of the gods as her own. Vulcan enjoyed a lovely childhood. He played with pearls as toys and romped about with the dolphins as his companions.
When he was an older child, Vulcan came across the remains of a fisherman’s fire on the beach and became fascinated with the coals that were still glowing red and hot. The coal fascinated him so much so that he captured one in a clamshell and took it back to his underwater grotto. With it, he started a fire. On the following day, Vulcan was transfixed on the fire , staring at it for hours. On the second day, he learned how to make the fire hotter and learned how it affected materials, such as iron, silver or gold. The next day, he beat cooled metal and transformed them into shapes. He made chains, swords, bracelets, and shields out of the materials.
For his foster mother, Vulcan fashioned pearl-handled knives and spoons. He made his own chariot out of silver with bridles so that seahorses could swiftly transport him. One myth says that he created slave-girls out of gold to wait on him and do as he pleased.
However, Vulcan’s peaceful existence underwater with his foster mother became threatened when Thetis left her underwater grotto to attend a dinner party on Mount Olympus. She was wearing an eye-catching necklace made out of silver and sapphires that Vulcan had made for her. Juno caught sight of the necklace and asked where she could have one like it. Thetis’ behavior made Juno suspicious and she felt that the nymph was hiding something.