Medicine Articles


WHY DID GOD HEPHAISTOS LIMP? Medical review with sources.
Ancient greece medical articles

The question of why god Hephaestus, the Olynmpian god of smiths, limped has been the subject of much debate, mainly on mythological grounds. This debate extended also into the field of medical diagnosis, with attempts at defining the nature of the deformity that made the crippled god Hephaestus. Hephaestus had two sons, Palaemonius and Periphetes, were also reported as having deformed feet.
Articlein American Journal of Medical Genetics 83(1):53-63 · April 1999).
Differential diagnosis:
1.Bilateral congenital talipes equinovarus. it has a strong multifactorial hereditary component but no upper limb features or short stature
Am J Med Genet. 1997 Oct 17;72(2):144-5What makes Hephaestus lame?Bazopoulou-Kyrkanidou E
2.Arthrogryposis, in which bilateral rigid congenital talipes equinovarus occurs, and which could explain the elbows fixed in flexion. and Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine J R Soc Med. 2006 November; 99(11): 584–585
3.Achondroplasia, would not explain the foot deformities; this diagnosis is based on earlier images of the god, evoking Egyptian depictions of deities such as Ptah, Bes and Harpocrates. Aterman K. Why did Hephaestus limp? Am J Dis Child 1965;109: 381-92 [PubMed]) and THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DISEASES OF CHILDREN.
4. Peripheral neuropathy secondary to arsenic poisoning,
an affection of smelters. Aterman K. From Horus the child to Hephaestus who limps: a romp through history. Am J Med Genet 1999;83: 53-63 [PubMed])
This is, in my opinion, Hephaestus disease. See below the clinical symptoms
The description of an historical arsenic exposure highlights its multiple organ system effects. such as
anorexia, brown pigmentation,peripheral neuritis (muscular weakness, pain and paresthesias in extremities) etc. and :The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATDSR) offers environmental health and medicine education products for health professionals, community members, and interested members of the public.Environmental Health and Medicine Education.
5.Diastrophic dysplasia, short-limbed dwarfism with bilateral rigid foot deformities.
Silverman FN. Re: ‘Why did Hephaestus limp?’ Am J Dis Child 1965;109: 392 and
6.Pseudodiastrophic dysplasia, in which elbow dislocations are prominent,5 but very few cases have been described.
Eteson DJ, Beluffi G, Burgio GR, Belloni C, Lachman RS, Rimoin DL. Pseudodiastrophic dysplasia: a distinct newborn skeletal dysplasia. J Pediatr 1986;109: 635-41 [PubMed]