(Vulcan in Roman mythology and Mulciber in Homeric accounts)

In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the God of Fire and the only immortal who was ugly. He was the son of Zeus and Hera, although some say that he is only Hera's son who bore him in revenge for Zeus bringing forth Athena. Two different accounts tell of why Hephaestus was lame. The first one says that Hera, digusted for bearing an ugly child, cast him out of Mount Olympus and it was this action that broke his legs. Another account states that Zeus threw him to Lemnos, the Aegean Island, in retaliation for defending Hera.

Later on, Hephaestus was no longer in danger of being thrown out of Mount Olympus. He became respected as the workman of the immortals, as he made their armor, homes, furnishings, and weapons. Within his workshop, Hephaestus had handmaidens forged from gold who aided him in his work. His forge was under a certain volcano that was known to erupt from time to time.

Hephaestus, kind and peaceful, was the husband of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Along with Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, they were the patrons of handicrafts in Athens. Hephaestus was protector of smiths and Athena was that of weavers.

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Greek and Roman Mythology