History Today subscription

On A Limb

The classical world created a variety of means of mobility for the disabled – both mythical and real.

Modern reproduction of the Capua Limb  (c.300 BC), a now-destroyed Roman artificial leg, 1905-15.Hephaestos, the ancient Greek god of fire, smiths, craftsmen, metalworking, stonemasonry and sculpture, is the only Olympian with a physical impairment. His legs and feet are variously described in ancient literature as ‘lame’, ‘crooked’ or even ‘clubfooted’ and are often depicted in ancient art as backwards. The explanations given for this impairment vary from myth to myth: in some, he is described as having been impaired from birth; in others, he is described as having been injured when Zeus threw him from Mount Olympus and crash-landed on the island of Lemnos.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week