Kulawy, zapracowany bękart – Hefajstos. Kilka słów o boskiej i ludzkiej pogardzie w starożytnej Grecji
Lame, busy bastard – Hephaestus. A few words on divine and human contempt in ancient Greece
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Although the ancient Greeks did not use the concept of tolerance, they were not unfamiliar with the concept of sneer, malicious laugh or mockery. Tolerance, or the lack of it, can be examined on various levels, also on the most important one deriving from the original meaning of the word tolerantia, that is religion. Although the religious system of the ancient Greeks is commonly described as a "tolerant" one, mainly because their faith did not exclude the existence of gods worshipped by other peoples, the Greek gods – understood as a community – committed acts of injustice and discrimination towards each other. Hephaestus proves to be the best example being the closest to a man of all the Olypmic gods. He experienced pain in the world of gods but in a human manner, which would undoubtedly be considered intolerance today. No other god had so many characteristics of an imperfect human being. The ancient imagination made Hephaestus an impaired god – both on the physical and social plane. He was an illegitimate child, he limped and worked by the sweat of his brow doing the job which was not held in high regard by the Greeks. In short words, Hephaestus represented the type held in contempt in Hellenic society. What is interesting, the oldest description of a derisive laugh in European literature belongs to Hephaestus.
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