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Hephaestus(hĕfĕs`təs), in Greek religion and mythology, Olympian god. According to Homer he was the son of Hera and Zeus, but Hesiod states that he was conceived and borne by Hera alone. Originally an Asian fire god, in Greece he became the divine smith and god of craftsmen. He was worshiped primarily in cities such as Athens, where he had a temple. It was said that he was either born lame or was lamed by Zeus, who threw him down from Olympus when Hephaestus took Hera's side in a dispute. He was represented as bearded, with mighty shoulders, but crippled legs. At huge furnaces, worked by Cyclopes, he fashioned ornaments, weapons, and magical contrivances for the gods and heroes (e.g., Achilles' shield). But in mythology he was usually a comic figure. Most scholars agree that he was the husband of Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to him. The Romans identified Hephaestus with VulcanVulcan,
in Roman religion and mythology, fire god. Chiefly a god of destructive fire, Vulcan seems to have originated as a god of volcanoes. His festival, the Volcanalia, was held on Aug. 23. He was later identified with the Greek Hephaestus.
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(Rom. Vulcan) god of fire and metalworkers. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 121]
Prometheus’ kinsman and the god of fire. [Gk. Lit.: Prometheus Bound, Magill I, 786–788]
blacksmith god; said to have been lamed when ejected from Olympus by Zeus. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 121]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Greek myth the lame god of fire and metal-working
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005