And Jupiter turned into Vulcan… At the start of his first five-year term, Emmanuel Macron was often compared to the most powerful of the Roman gods to illustrate his exercise of power, as opposed to the supposed “normal president” that his predecessor François Hollande had wanted to embody. . A comparison that he had subsequently dragged like a ball and chain. His opponents, and sometimes even his own lieutenants, such as Gérard Collomb, saw in it and denounced a form of disproportion or unfortunate hubris, while certain specialists in Roman religion, such as John Scheid, revealed that Jupiter had nothing to do with it. an autocrat, but was more of a horizontal and collaborative leader.
A five-year term later, with a few more wrinkles and an assembly that is no longer under his orders, the president has decided to change the model and, perhaps, to move from light to shade. Out Jupiter the blazing and thundering! Welcome to Vulcan the lame, the industrious and the laborious. “At the forge”, and no longer at the top of Olympus, this is the place that Emmanuel Macron has chosen to continue his Herculean task, if we want to spin the ancient metaphor.
Vulcan – or Hephaestus, in the Greek pantheon – is a complex figure. Born under an unlucky star, he would, according to Homer, have been thrown from Olympus by his own mother (Hera/Juno) because of his ugliness (or his infirmity). In the Odyssey, we learn that he was deceived by his splendid wife Venus, who slept behind his back with the statuesque god of war, Mars. But Vulcan, in both cases, had his revenge – he imprisoned his mother in a golden throne and ensnared the adulterous couple in chains from which they could not free themselves.
Behind his ungrateful physique, he is a deity full of resources and, above all, a worker and builder god. An image that is undoubtedly not to displease Emmanuel Macron in these times of reindustrialization of France and rehabilitation of crafts and the professional baccalaureate. From the island of Lemnos, where he established his workshop in a volcano, Vulcan built the mansions of the gods of Olympus, and he conceived the first woman Pandora, sent by Zeus-Jupiter to punish Prometheus and the men of theft of fire. He is the designer of formidable weapons that he distributes to the gods, goddesses and heroes of Antiquity – weapons of which he is even, according to certain traditions, the primitive inventor. A nod to the army chief, in these times of war in Ukraine and increased budget for the Ministry of Defense?
Vulcan is also a genius inventor, able to create animated tripods and golden automata to serve the gods. Doesn’t Emmanuel Macron still dream of making France a nation at the forefront of innovation? In another register, Homer specified that the god had a particularly… hairy chest, which can only evoke a certain photo of the last presidential campaign which had caused a lot of ink to flow. If Emmanuel Macron wanted to assault modesty and humility, this choice is certainly wise. But be careful, because Vulcan is a god who, as we have seen, likes to walk masked.