Vulcan is the ancient Roman god of beneficial and hindering fire, including the fires of volcanoes. He is often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer as in the Statua di Vulcano of Fancelli. The festival in his honor, called Volcanalia, was held August 23. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the smith-god. Yet, Vulcan has a stronger connection than Hephaestus to the harmful, destructive capacity of fire and a major concern of his worshippers was to encourage the god to avert harmful flames. There is also a connection between Vulcan and male fertility -> sperm as spark of the flame of life. Legend has it that Vulcan impregnated a virgin goddess and generated Jupiter, the king of gods; while on a human level he impregnated a local virgin (usually through the spark from the fire pit in the house that falls on her womb) and created a king.

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