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.

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