Today we are going to talk about a goddess of the Greek pantheon. Her origins vary, but one of the most interesting story has to do with her possible parents: Ares the god of war and Aphrodite the goddess of love. The idyll of both deities led to the death of the protagonist of today’s story: the beautiful Harmonia.
Harmonia’s birth begins with the marriage of her mother, but not precisely with her father, but with another god: Hephaestus. The story of the latter is rather sad: he is the god of fire and forging, as well as of blacksmiths, craftsmen, sculptors, metals and metallurgy, who had a rather unfortunate fate from birth, and the only thing he wanted from the beginning was to be loved.
Hephaestus’ parents were Zeus and Hera, and it is said that both parents disowned him by appearance: the god was expelled from Olympus and thrown into the sea as a baby, the fall into the depths caused him serious injuries such as a limp that would constantly torment him.
Now grown up, he plotted revenge against his mother: he forged her a beautiful throne on which he made her sit, but from which she could not rise. After several promises and conditions Hephaestus won the hand of the most beautiful goddess of the pantheon: Aphrodite, who, very sad, had no choice but to accept the wedding. However, that did not prevent the goddess from having lovers to brighten her days, because although her husband filled her with luxuries, she did not love him.
The goddess knew that her liaison with Hephaestus was not perfect: apart from his looks, the god used to leave Aphrodite a lot of time. She wanted something more and she found that in the most impetuous and feared god by mortals: Ares, god of war, someone who enjoyed not only a great physique but also an attitude that attracted the goddess of love.
Ares had just returned from a battle and was in a deplorable state, covered in blood and dirt, Aphrodite was smitten with him and offered to help him clean himself: one thing led to another and the two gods were united in a torrid romance.
Betrayal and revenge
It is said that the gods turned a deaf ear to rumors of lovers or cheating between them, but what they did not see with good eyes was to have a unique affair and that was what Ares and Aphrodite were doing. Taking advantage of the many absences of Hephaestus, Ares went to visit his lover and to prevent the whole Olympus from finding out about their relationship, the god of war put Alectrion, one of his soldiers, at the door of the goddess to warn her of the arrival of Helios “the sun god” known for finding out about everything around him.
There are two versions of what happened next, but both have the same ending: Alectrion fell asleep and the lovers were discovered. Hephaestus trapped them in a net of fine golden threads and called in the other gods to humiliate the couple, something that didn’t go so well.
Of all the punishments the gods could devise, getting caught with the goddess of beauty is the most desirable punishment. Seeing that his plan had backfired, Hephaestus repudiated his wife and the divorce was done.
From the relationship of Ares and Aphrodite were born several gods: Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia, Adrestia, Eros, Anteros, Himeros, Pothos.
The sad marriage of Harmonia
Continuing with Harmonia and after knowing her origin, let’s talk about what happened to her and her offspring.
To make amends for her skirt mistakes, Zeus betrothed Harmonia to Cadmus, Europa’s brother. The wedding, as might be expected, was something full of luxury and beauty: mortals and deities were invited to the event. The gods were decked out in their finery and expensive gifts, the king of Olympus was involved in the event and everyone wanted to make a good impression.
Harmonia, goddess of Greece
Among those present was an endowment of a beautiful dress woven by the three Graces and bestowed by Athena, the well-known goddess of intuition and strategic warfare… and also a rival of Ares. We emphasize the latter because Zeus felt a preference for his daughter and not for Ares, and apparently on more than one occasion he made this clear.
Along with the dress there was also a beautiful necklace designed by Hephaestus, something also very suspicious due to the relationship of the god of ironwork with the goddess of beauty. The gods who gave such splendid gifts set a trap for Harmonia and ended up murdering her by means of their gifts: both the dress and the necklace were poisoned.
Greek mythology is surprising, especially when analyzed from a psychological point of view.
Phoneia.com (December 20, 2022). Harmonia, goddess of Greece. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/harmonia-goddess-of-greece/